Reviewing the 400GT in its 2+2 form in 1967, Autocar magazine voted it 'better than all the equivalent exotic and home-bred machinery in this glamorous corner of the fast-car market.'
Estimate (€): 520,000 - 580,000.
•Formerly the property of the Dutch Lamborghini Club president
•One of 247 made
•Matching chassis and engine numbers
•Delivered new to the USA
•Recorded in the Lamborghini Registry
•Near concours condition
It is the stuff of legend that Ferrari-owning industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini only turned to automobile manufacture as a result of receiving off-hand treatment at Maranello, vowing to build a better car. A successful manufacturer of tractors and related machinery, Lamborghini possessed the resources to realise his dream without having to compromise.
Lamborghini's first production car, the Touring-styled 350GT, debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. The work of two of Italy's most illustrious automobile designers, the 350GT featured a glorious 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, housed in a chassis penned by Gianpaolo Dallara. The 350GT's four camshafts and all-independent suspension meant that it upstaged the best that Ferrari offered at the time, but to compete with his Maranello rival's larger models, Lamborghini needed a four-seater, and the 400GT 2+2 duly appeared in 1966. A development of the 350GT, the newcomer used an enlarged - to 3,929cc - V12. This 4.0-litre unit had first appeared in 1965, finding its way into a handful of late 350GTs, this interim model being known as the 400GT. The latter's claimed maximum power was 320bhp - up from the 350GT's 270 - an output sufficient to make the former a 150mph-plus car.
The 400GT 2+2 retained the overall, and highly acclaimed, looks of the 350GT while contriving to be slightly taller in the interests of increased rear-passenger headroom. Bodies were now steel (the 350GT's had been aluminium) and the 400GT 2+2 had the twin headlights that had already been adopted in place of the oval originals, largely to meet the USA's requirements.
Despite its novice status as an automobile manufacturer, Lamborghini soon dispelled any lingering doubts about its ability to compete with the world's best Grand Tourers. Reviewing the 400GT in its 2+2 form in 1967, Autocar magazine voted it 'better than all the equivalent exotic and home-bred machinery in this glamorous corner of the fast-car market.' The relaxed manner of its long-legged performance was reckoned the finest quality of the Lamborghini, its V12 engine being judged to have the broadest range of smooth torque the testers had experienced. Autocar concluded: 'To achieve this level of performance without noise, fuss, temperament or drama is an achievement; in the time taken for development, it is nothing short of sensational.'
One of only 247 units built between 1966 and 1968, this matching numbers 400GT 2+2 was manufactured in November '66 for the USA market, and was delivered finished in Verde (Green) with Tabacco (Brown) interior. Originally from California, the car went via Italy to Holland where it belonged to the former president of the Lamborghini Club Nederland. In 2004 the car was officially admitted into the Lamborghini Registry.
Repainted in black, the completely refurbished bodywork forms a wonderful combination with the original Tabacco interior. This beautiful and rare early Lamborghini displays a total of 89,173 kilometres on the odometer and is said to be in good order and driving very well.
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