Let's play a game. The best rear-engined Lamborghini? Miura P400 S. The best Lamborghini with longitudinal rear engine? The Countach. The one furthest out of the box? Definitely the LM002 from the 1980s, a sort of tank with the engine of a Countach Quattrovalvole. The “movie star” Lambo? Of all of them, the orange Miura that appeared in the 1969 film The Italian Job.
Finally, the classiest front-engined Lambo? Without a doubt the 350 GTV, the first Lamborghini in history, designed—it is said—according to the wishes of the founder Ferruccio as a lesson in style and mechanics for Enzo Ferrari. The ranking is a game, as well as being widely debatable. But for the 1964 350 GT, and even more so for the GTV prototype from which it was produced, no doubts are permitted.
Although many think that the 350 GT had a more balanced line than its prototype, without the GTV designed by Franco Scaglione (albeit with extensive revisions and stylistic additions by Lamborghini), the GT would never have existed. The 3.5-liter 12-cylinder engine (then increased to 4 liters in the final years of production of the standard version), the 280 horsepower, the top speed of 155 mph, the ultra-modern bodywork with aluminum components, independent wheel suspension. As well as the five-speed ZF gearbox, the Salisbury differential and the independent four-wheel suspension. What about the brakes? Girling, sculpted in an aluminum body.
For the 1964 350 GT no doubts are permitted
In short, there was a reason that Enzo Ferrari lost a few nights of sleep when he saw it for the first time: he was standing before the most fascinating—perhaps the most beautiful—front-engined Lamborghini in history. Taking a look at the brand's historic archives, it turns out that Carrozzeria Touring produced 120 GTs between 1964 (debut at the Geneva Motor Show) and 1966, to which must be added the two Spiders made produced by the same body-maker (identified by the abbreviation GTS).
The presentation of the 350 GTV prototype arrived in 1963 at the Turin Motor Show. Although Carrozzeria Touring redesigned the style, the lines and character of Scaglione's GTV, both elegant and aggressive, were still clearly visible in the GT. Ferruccio Lamborghini wanted a road car, possibly better than the Ferrari 250. And for many, he succeeded. Sculpted in the shape of a coupé, a clever combination of curves and edges, angled front windshield and a large rear window, tinted in deep metallic blue. Retractable headlights and Ferruccio Lamborghini's signature on the long bonnet: this was the first GTV. Presented to the press on October 29, 1963 in Sant’Agata, and at the Turin Motor Show the next day, it stunned everyone.
For the beauty of its lines, sure, but above all for the innovative solutions adopted. Under the long bonnet, the longitudinal V12 with overhead camshaft designed by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. Six carburetors (Weber), 24 valves. Dry lubrication of the crankcase. In short, not only without the GTV the first Lamborghini in history would never have been created.
But without her, perhaps Ferruccio would have continued to make tractors, air conditioners and boilers. And the automotive industry would have lost one of its greatest stars.
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