Lamborghini’s first car, the 350 GT, turns 60

Lamborghini as a car company was established in 1963 but didn’t start building any cars until the following year, meaning its first car is now 60 years old.

That first car was the 350 GT, which made its formal debut in the month of March at the 1964 Geneva auto show, at which point Lamborghini started accepting the first orders. A one-off prototype known as the 350 GTV was shown a year earlier at an auto show in Turin, though.

As the story goes, it was a dispute between Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari that was ultimately responsible for the creation of the 350 GT. Lamborghini, who already had a successful company building tractors, had a problem with the clutch in a Ferrari he owned and complained to Enzo himself that better parts should have been used. After being rebuffed by Ferrari, Lamborghini decided to go out and build his own cars.

The 350 GT’s aluminum body was designed by coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, and initially previewed on the 350 GTV which featured a slightly different design to the 350 GT. The chassis was developed by a young Giampaolo Dallara, who would go on to start race car constructor Dallara a decade later.

As for the engine, a 3.5-liter V-12 that formed the basis of Lamborghini V-12 engines right up until the launch of the Aventador, was developed Giotto Bizzarrini, who helped develop the Ferrari 250 GTO and also attempted the launch of his own Bizzarrini sports car marque, a marque that’s currently undergoing a revival.

Bizzarrini had developed the engine for use in motorsports, and fellow engineer Paolo Stanzani was tasked with taming it for road use. The engine, which featured a four-cam design, was rated at 350 hp and blessed with a stratospheric (for the period, at least) 7,000-rpm redline.

The first 350 GT off the line, the car bearing chassis number 101, was finished in green and had a white interior. It was the car on display at the Geneva debut. It was retained by Lamborghini and later used as a test model for endurance testing, though it was ultimately destroyed after being rear-ended at a stop light.

The second 350 GT built, finished in silver with a red interior, was delivered to a customer in Geneva in August of 1964. The car, shown here, is now the oldest production Lamborghini. The original 350 GTV prototype is still considered the oldest Lamborghini.

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