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A Highly Original Example | Presented in Its Original Colors
Over the past half-century, the Lamborghini name and its provincial Sant’Agata factory have become truly legendary. In the early 1960s, industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini, following a now-infamous encounter with Enzo Ferrari, began an automobile company of his own. The world owes a debt of gratitude to him for the magnificent cars that have borne his name in the decades since.
Sig. Lamborghini set out to build his own supercar, and thanks to the 1961 Ferrari “palace revolt,” designers Giotto Bizzarrini, Gian Paolo Dallara, and Franco Scaglione joined the effort. Sig. Lamborghini added test driver Bob Wallace and enlisted the services of the Neri & Bonacini workshop, and work began in earnest in late 1962.
Between them, they developed and built the first Lamborghini prototype, the 350 GTV, which was the sensation of the 1963 Torino Motor Show. It provided an ideal starting point from which to design the production car.
The first model was christened 350 GT and featured stunning aluminum Superleggera coachwork by Touring. Elegant one-piece ovoid headlamps replaced the retractable units of the GTV, and Lamborghini’s V-12 engine was tuned to a stout but reliable 270 bhp. The 350 GT was greeted with great acclaim at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1964, and the first customer car was delivered in July of that year. The 350 GT found success as a suave grand tourer, capable of 0–60 mph in 5.8 seconds, with a top speed of 158 mph. Each engine was dyno-tested for 20 hours before installation, and the finished cars were each extensively tested prior to delivery.
Between 1964 and 1966, just 120 of the magnificent, alloy-bodied 350 GTs were made, and the car on offer, chassis 0343, is one of the more original survivors. This car, the 62nd in the series, was ordered by a customer in Madrid. According to factory records, 0343 was delivered in Grigio St. Vincent (a light gray metallic), with a Tobacco pigskin interior. The car was registered on Madrid plates, M589925, and would remain in Spain for over 40 years. It reportedly was kept by just two owners and remained continuously registered on these same plates that were issued in 1966.
In 2009, the GT 350 was sold via a French broker to noted Lamborghini collector Isao Noritake of Aichi, Japan. Mr. Noritake is the well-known chairman of the Japan Lamborghini Owner’s Club, which he co-founded in 1988. Prior to joining his collection, his new treasure, like many of his purchases, was sent to Lamborghini for servicing. The car was repainted in Pino Verde (Pine Green) and then joined his private museum, where for a time it was a stablemate of the GTV prototype.
During Mr. Noritake’s ownership, the Lamborghini remained unregistered in Japan, retaining its Madrid license plates. The interior, which is believed to be original, was beautifully preserved beneath custom-fitted clear-plastic seat covers. No miles were added to 0343 during Mr. Noritake’s ownership, according to the consignor.
When the current owner acquired this Lamborghini and brought it to the US in 2015, it was inspected and serviced as necessary. The work included cleaning the carburetors and replacing the spark plugs, wires, and all filters. The engine’s compression was found to be within factory specifications, and the gearbox shifted smoothly. Engine, gearbox, and differential oil were replaced, the brakes were overhauled with new pads fitted, the suspension bushings and tie rod ends were renewed, and the aforementioned seat covers were removed. More recently, the 350 GT has received new tires and refinished brightwork, and the paint has been expertly refinished in the correct original Grigio St. Vincent, returning this 350 GT to its as-delivered appearance.
Displaying 97,237 km (60,420 miles) at the time of cataloguing, this 350 GT has been sympathetically preserved by just three documented private owners. It is accompanied by its factory tool roll with extremely rare factory jack, and both original sales brochures. This 350 GT stands as one of the finest, largely unrestored examples remaining, and would be a thrill to experience on the open road, where its lively performance capabilities and impeccable balance will surely reward its next fortunate caretaker.