I completely forgot about the prototype 350 GTV (like Lamborghini themselves did back in the day), but fortunately enough my memory got refreshed at Villa d’Este. And it was love at first sight.
It’s a strange feeling. You look at it, and the overall shape and dimensions suggest that what you see is a 350 GT, Lamborghini’s first production car. But it clearly isn’t. That’s because while 135 GTs were made, the GTV remained a one-off prototype. Ferruccio Lamborghini didn’t like it at all. The fool.
The 350 GTV was presented to the public during the 1963 Turin Auto Show with the engine bay ballasted with bricks to keep the bonnet shut. Apparently, Franco Scaglione’s body didn’t fit perfectly around Giotto Bizzarrini’s 3.5 litre dry sump racing V12. Ferruccio wasn’t impressed.
The show car was also lacking brake calipers, foot pedals and windshield wipers, but that didn’t matter much as the whole design got thrown out of the window soon after the party anyway.
Lamborghini was a tractor maker, so he wanted a much more practical car. For the production version, he commissioned Carrozzeria Touring to redesign the body, while the engine got detuned from 347 horsepower to a more sensible 274.
The GTV was then moved to storage, only to end up in private hands in the eighties, when it was also fixed up to running condition and repainted from blue to its current deep green.
But enough of the history, let’s see how the GTV looks today! Strangely awesome is one way of putting it.
From the front, there is no doubt it looks better than the 350 GT. The hidden lamps make it much sleeker and dynamic, and it even reminds me a bit of the Corvette Sting Ray which just debuted the year before. Both are very sexy fishes.
I know the rear is a bit more controversial, but I’m with Mr. Scaglione, even if he only used a ruler to achieve this. The details are just fantastic. I’m a fan of the sharp edges, not to mention the two triple exhaust with their perforated tips and the lovely badges all over. The production 350 has nothing on the GTV.
Overall, I can’t put my finger on what was Ferruccio’s problem with this car in ‘63. If it has a big enough trunk for cleaning equipment jammed into a Louis Vuitton bag next to a full-size spare, chassis #1 must be practical enough...
Photo credit: Máté Petrány