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Lamborghini – 350 GT Coupé

After the testing of his prototype Lamborghini engine in May 1963, then-lead engineer Giotto Bizzarrini left the company. The following month Ferruccio Lamborghini tasked engineer Gian Paolo Dallara with developing a production version of Bizzarrini’s 350GTV grand tourer. Dallara was assisted in this project by engineer Paolo Stanzani and test driver Bob Wallace.

Vehicle Overview

Dallara and Stanzani quickly realized that the 350 GTV was not properly designed for mass production. They began working in parallel on two projects that would result in the production 350 GT. First, they began de-tuning the original Bizzarrini engine and redesigning the original Bizzarrini chassis for street use. Second, they started readying the 350 GTV for its late-October 1963 Turin Auto Show debut, where Lamborghini hoped it would raise interest in the eventual production 350 GT.

The 350 GT shared a number of features with the 350 GTV prototype, including a four-wheel independent suspension, the quad-cam 3.5 liter Lamborghini V12, and an aluminium body. A number of mechanical revisions and refinements were made due to the suggestions of the Neri and Bonacini racing development shop and test driver Bob Wallace. The body was redesigned by Carrozzeria Touring, retaining the original profile while cleaning up details of the design to result in a more cohesive appearance. Most noticeable was the replacement of the prototype’s rotating hidden headlights with fixed headlights.

As equipped to the 350 GTV, the Bizzarrini-designed 3.5 liter V12 was essentially a race motor, potentially developing 400 horsepower (300 kW) at 11,000rpm. In order to fit his grand touring car with a smoother, more pleasant, longer-lasting engine that would be “good for 40,000 hard miles between services,” Ferruccio had Dallara and Wallace de-tune a version of this prototype GTV motor for street use.

This first “detuned” L350 engine was tested on October 3, 1963. The result—later fit in the 350 GT—was a very capable 270 bhp power plant that could reach 254 kilometres per hour (158 mph) in top form.

While this 350 GT design work continued, the 350 GTV prototype was rushed to completion for the upcoming October 26 press meeting and the subsequent inauguration of the Turin Auto Show on the 30th. The 350GTV was shown at the Turin Auto Show with the original Bizzarrini “racing” V-12 engine—with its downdraft webers, rear distributors, etc.—displayed alongside as it was not “adapted to the chassis.” The car was a static display with the suspension arms simply tack-welded in place and the engine not installed. Lukewarm reaction to the car caused Ferruccio Lamborghini to postpone plans for immediate production and move on to introducing Dallara’s new 350 GT design.

In March 1964, only 5 months after the debut of the GTV in Turin, the “redesigned GTV”—now called the 350 GT—was debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. It was greeted with sufficient enthusiasm that Ferruccio decided to proceed with production in May 1964.

Technical Specifications

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  • Model
    350 GT Coupé
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