Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Touring
*Please note that the estimate has been revised to $675,000-$775,000.
Over the past half-century the Lamborghini name and its provincial Sant’Agata factory have become truly legendary. In the early 1960s, successful industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini, following a hostile encounter with Enzo Ferrari, began an automobile company of his own, and the world owes him a debt of gratitude for the magnificent cars that have borne his name in the decades since.
Lamborghini set out to build his own supercar and, thanks to the 1961 Ferrari “palace revolt,” journeyman designers Giotto Bizzarrini, Gian Paolo Dallara, and Franco Scaglione joined the effort. Ferruccio 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 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 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 350 GTs were made, and the car on offer, the 62nd built, chassis 0343, is one of the most original survivors of that group. This car was ordered by a customer in Madrid, who took delivery at the factory and drove it home. According to the car’s build sheets, 0343 was delivered in Argento Metallizzato (Silver Metallic) with a Tobacco pigskin interior. The car was registered on Spanish license plates M589925, and would remain in Spain for over 40 years. It reportedly was kept by just two owners during that time, having acquired its coat of dark green metallic paint toward the end of its Spanish residency.
In 2009, 0343 was sold via a French broker to noted collector Isao Noritake of Aichi, Japan, for his private museum, which was also a onetime home to the GTV prototype. Mr. Noritake was the well-known chairman of the Japan Lamborghini Owners’ Club, which he co-founded in 1988. He chose to acquire 0343, as it was an uncommonly original example, with matching numbers and no reports of damage.
During Mr. Noritake’s ownership, the Lamborghini remained unregistered in Japan, retaining its Madrid license plates. The interior, which is widely believed to be original, has been beautifully preserved beneath custom-fitted clear-plastic seat covers. Mileage added to 0343 during Mr. Noritake’s ownership is said to have been minimal.
When the current owner acquired this Lamborghini and brought it to the US in 2015, it was inspected and serviced. 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, while suspension bushings and tie rod ends were renewed.
Displaying 97,195 kilometers (60,746 miles) at the time of cataloguing, this 350 GT has been sympathetically preserved by its handful of private owners. It is accompanied by its factory tool roll and jack, and sales brochures; it stands as one of the finest, largely unrestored examples remaining. This 350 GT is ready for select concours d’elegance, and would be a thrill to experience on the open road, where its lively performance capabilities and impeccable balance will surely reward its next caretaker.