Lamborghini today inspires images of beautiful cars with sports car feel, that rival the best that Ferrari can make. When Ferruccio Lamborghini bought a Ferrari he expected a vehicle with superior performance and few problems. What he got was a car that did have superior performance but was plagued with mechanical difficulties. Upon returning the vehicle to the Ferrari shop and complaining about the lack of build quality, Enzo Ferrari replied ‘You should stick with building tractors and let me concern about the cars. Ferruccio was so enraged, that he began a new quest – to build proper supercars that had performance and quality.
Hiring a brilliant ex-Ferrari engineer, Bizzarini, he was tasked with designing the V12 engine that would power the up and coming 1963 350GT. Franco Scaglione, an employee of Sargiotto located in Turin, was tasked with designing a new vehicle for the newly formed Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. Scaglione’s resume included work such as the Alfa Romeo BATs and the ATS 2500 GT. Sargiotto Bodyworks were responsible for the metal work while Neri & Bonacini were given the task of building the square tube steel chassis.
In 1963 Lamborghini made its debut in Turin as the 350GT V. The prototype wasn’t fully finished and didn’t have the engine installed due to it was too tall with the 6 Weber carburetors being mounted vertical. After the Turin Show, Carlo Anderloni of Touring was brought in to redesign the 350 and prepare it for production. The design was smoothed out and the pop-up headlights were replaced with units that were gracefully incorporated into the hood of the vehicle.
The power plant was then refined, as Ferruccio wanted the car to be a refined touring sports car rather than a highly tuned performance engined car. 1964 saw the 350GTV renamed to just the 350GT. Its power was a 3.5L (3464 cc) dual overhead cam (4 cams), 24 valve, V12 engine producing 270HP, and 241 ft-lbs of torque. The Weber 6 pack of cars were now mounted horizontally between the heads to sort out the height issue.
The engine was mated to a ZF 5 speed manual transmission, and the final drive ratio was 4.09:1. Four wheel disc brakes stopped the car, and independent front and rear coil spring suspension kept the car agile on the road. Ferrari’s of the day were still solid rear axle design.
The chassis was built on a tubular frame that sat on a 100.4 inch wheel base. Overall width was 68.1 inches, and the track front and rear was 54.3 inches. The 350GT sat 48.3 inches high, nice and low and mean. She weighted in at a curb weight of 2,859 lbs.
Performance was impressive. 0 to 60 mph was in just 6.4 seconds, and 0-100 mph in 16.3. The 350GT had a top speed of 156 mph. Plenty of fun for spirited driving.
The interior of the largely all hand built car was leather interior all around. The dash contained all the gauges for monitoring the vital statistics of the engine and were placed in a clear view for the driver.
In 1964 13 examples of the 350GT were built, with 120 total being built between 1964 an 1967.The 350GT Series represent Lamborghini’s intention to construct the finest Grand Touring automobiles ever assembled. Many automotive journalists at the time hailed the cars as being better than equivalent exotic machinery.