Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Touring
The 400 GT Interim
Over the past 50 years, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s eponymous marque evolved from a fledgling upstart into one of the most recognizable and admired sports car manufacturers in the world. While much has been written about the iconic Miura and Countach supercars, the history and development of many other significant Lamborghini has been overlooked – none more so than the original 350 GT, which debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show.
Despite Lamborghini’s lack of experience as an automobile manufacturer, the 350 GT possessed serious credentials and a thoroughbred pedigree. Boasting elegant coachwork by Touring of Milan, a chassis developed by Gianpaolo Dallara, and a complex four-cam V-12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s original creation was a remarkable tour de force and a worthy rival to its competitors from Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Maserati.
As production developed through the mid-1960s, Lamborghini began to introduce various mechanical and aesthetic refinements to the GT series. Not to be confused with the more commonplace 400 GT 2+2, the 400 GT Interim was an unofficial development model produced in very limited numbers. Maintaining an accurate record of Sant’Agata production has always proved challenging yet historians generally agree that Lamborghini built 23 of these distinctive Interim models.
In the most basic terms, the 400 GT Interim combined the two-seat, large-window Touring coachwork of the original 350 GT with the more powerful four-liter V-12 engine of the 400 GT 2+2 to create an ideal balance of style and performance. Even among this select group, there were numerous variations and several late-production 400 GT Interims were further distinguished by the use of Lamborghinibuilt gearboxes and rear ends in place of the earlier ZF and Salisbury components.
The history of this rare Lamborghini 400 GT Interim, chassis 0565, can be traced back to 1967, when it was sold to Roswell and Elizabeth Sanford of Margaretville, New York.
Roswell Sanford was the scion of a well-heeled family that owned and published the Catskill Mountain News since 1904. His father, Clarke A. Sanford, an influential figure in the Catskill region, owned the Sanford Chevrolet Company, opened a local theater, and served as a principal of the People’s National Bank of Margaretville.
On October 21, 1967, the Sanfords struck a deal with Ed Jurist of the Vintage Car Store, Inc., in Nyack, New York, and traded in their 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS toward the barely used Lamborghini. A remarkable testament to the Lamborghini’s exclusivity, the open 12-cylinder Ferrari – which had served as Chinetti’s New York Show Car just two years earlier – was valued at $6,000, while the Lamborghini commanded a staggering $11,500. Of course, for this impressive sum, the Sanfords also received an accessory radio and seatbelts at no additional cost.
Evidently, the Sanfords greatly preferred the 400 GT Interim to the Ferrari and it remained in their care for 18 years, during which time it accrued approximately 40,000 miles. In 1985, Mr. Sanford passed away and, after some time, his prized Lamborghini was offered for sale.
In fall 1986, Michael Kerr of Woodsburgh, New York, purchased the largely original 400 GT Interim and commissioned Doug Pirrone’s Berlinetta Motorsports Ltd. in Huntington Station, New York, to perform an exacting, ground-up restoration.
Between 1987 and 1989, approximately $150,000 was spent returning the Lamborghini to its former splendor. During this process, the bodywork was refinished in the elegant dark metallic blue seen today and the mechanical systems were meticulously refurbished, including a complete engine rebuild by Dick De Biasse of A.E.R. in Madison, New Jersey.
Even though the initial restoration was completed in 1991, Mr. Kerr continued to perfect the Lamborghini and, in 1992, he reupholstered the interior in carefully selected fawn hides sourced from Connolly Leather in the UK.
In August 1993, the 400 GT Interim made its concours debut during the famed Classic Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula. In a remarkable back-to-back showing, the Lamborghini earned the People’s Choice award at Concorso Italiano and a Third in Class at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The current caretaker, who has owned 0565 for more than a decade, has retained the Lamborghini for occasional weekend outings and entrusted local marque specialists to perform regular service and detailing. As a result, this 400 GT Interim remains in very presentable condition throughout and with minimal preparation it would be an ideal candidate for both show and tour.
Having benefitted from the care of three New York owners since 1967, 0565 is an unusually correct and well-documented example of this rare Lamborghini model. Unlike many Interim models, which haphazardly combined various 350 GT and 400 GT features, this late-production car is consistently specified and badged with the 400 GT data plate, 400 GT chassis stamping, and 400 GT rear insignia. Significantly, 0565 retains its factory-delivered engine (no. 0749) and the Touring body number (18947) is in the appropriate range for the chassis number. Even the Becker Europa TR installed in the dashboard is believed to be the original accessory radio installed by the Vintage Car Store in 1967.
Included with the sale of this Lamborghini is a rich file of documentation that includes the 1967 invoice from the Vintage Car Store, Inc., complete restoration records, recent service invoices, a 400 GT owner’s manual, and an electrical wiring diagram.
As the most rare and exclusive early Lamborghini model, the 400 GT Interim has developed a revered stature and an established community of admirers. Because of their inherent rarity and ideal specification, these limited-production exotics have developed a passionate following and, for many collectors, the elusive Interim model is the highly sought-after missing piece in an otherwise comprehensive collection of Lamborghini automobiles.
With 2012 representing the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini marque, there could be no better way to celebrate this momentous occasion than to acquire a superb example of what is widely regarded as Ferruccio’s first masterpiece.