“I had forgotten just how much fun it was to drive a really good, quick sports car. Even after having owned a couple of Ferraris… I would say that the Lamborghini is the most desirable sports/GT car I have driven” – Veteran American journalist Henry N Manney III writing in Car magazine, July 1965, on his first impressions of the 350 GT
Italian industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini stood the world on its head when he showed the Carrozzeria Touring-bodied 350 GT at the March 1964 Geneva Motor Show. Compared with the equivalent grand touring Ferrari, it had five gears not four, was quieter, easier to drive and generally faster.
The new car was the first to be built at Sant’Agata, a well-thought-out design by the quartet later responsible for the remarkable Miura: ex-Ferrari designer Giotto Bizzarrini, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani and
Bizzarrini’s engine pushed out 320bhp and was mated to a German ZF gearbox. It was a fast, powerful car for the emerging class of wealthy and discerning Italian businessmen wanting something less showy than a Ferrari but more vibrant than a Maserati.
In total, only 131 350 GTs were built before the larger, slightly softer 400 GT 2+2 was announced in March 1966. Production of the 400 GT 2+2 ran to 247 cars. The newer 2+2 had steel bodywork – all bar 24 four-litre 350 GTs were in alloy, making them the most dynamic of all.
This Motor Car
According to factory records, chassis ‘0331’ was built in 1965 and first delivered in January 1966 via US agent Jake Kaplan of New York. It was finished in Bleu with tobacco leather, a classic combination that suited the handsome GT so favoured by industrialists and European aristocracy.
Research would suggest the first owner lived in California, though this cannot be confirmed.
From then until more recent times it has remained tantalisingly ‘beneath the radar’ of the collectors’ circuit, although there is an invoice lodged on file for €28,832 dated 20 December 2005 from RS Garage in Fontenay aux Roses (south-west of the French capital) in the name of Paris resident Pascal Perrier. The comprehensive invoice includes a charge for repainting and much mechanical work. The mileage recorded then was 15,778km.
Later, it was part of the well-known Rosso Bianco Museum of arch-collector and discerning enthusiast for all things Italian, Peter Kaus.
Our client bought ‘0331’ from Mr Kaus in 2014 and since then it has been kept well-maintained and undriven. Recent service work includes an invoice for €3,298 dated 4 August 2016 from leading Lamborghini restorers Top Motors in Italy, principally attending to the brakes.
With ‘matching numbers’ and generally unseen for many years, in original condition and presented in arguably the best colour combination, this Lamborghini 350 GT represents an opportunity for a collector to dip their toes into the ‘Ferruccio era’ of Lamborghinis. It is an interesting car for concours or touring: one of just 131 of the very first cars ever built at Sant’Agata.