When Ferruccio Lamborghini introduced the angular looking 350 GTV on October 29th 1963 on the grounds of his brand new factory in Sant’Agata and subsequently at the Turin Motor Show, the car received a lot of attention, but it was also evident this was still a prototype, the car wasn’t ready to be sold to customers yet, the steering wheel was too close to the seats, there were no pedals installed yet and no exhaust system either … it would require several more weeks of development get the 350 GTV ready for production.
The original design of the Lamborghini 350 GTV was attributed to Franco Scaglione, the concept drawings submitted to Ferruccio were even more dramatic mind you, but in the end the latter decided the current looks of the 350 GTV weren’t what he was looking for so he wanted to change the overall styling completely and submitted some ideas to Bianchi Anderloni at the famous Carrozzeria Touring, who would ‘convert’ the 350 GTV prototype into a viable production model, which we all know as the 350 GT.
Everything on the exterior was changed, the very special rotating headlights were replaced with oval shaped fixed units from Cibie (some sources mention Bosch or Hella however), the angular styling at the front and rear of the GTV became rounder on the GT version (hence less expensive to manufacture) while the rather large rear window was retained. By using very thin window surrounds on the windshield and rear window the outward visibility was very good on the Lamborghini 350 GT, keep in mind those curved windows on the 350 GTV would be very expensive to manufacture and not very easy to install, things that were taken into consideration to create a car that would be easier to build.
Do note that the very first 350 GT unit (chassis 0101) still had the distinctive, triple exhaust pipes as seen on the 350 GTV while the thin taillights of the latter didn’t make it into production, neither did that very nice looking Ferruccio Lamborghini signature, probably because it would be too expensive for mass production … if we can call the 120 units of the 350 GT that were built between 1964 and 1966 ‘mass’ production.
The chassis of the 350 GTV was modified for the production version by Neri & Bonacini, the wheelbase was increased by 100mm to 2550mm while overall length grew by 140mm to 4640mm to increase interior space for the two occupants … note that some early 350 GT came in a 2+1 configuration, a small seat was mounted in the rear instead of the usual shelve that could hold additional luggage, in the 2 seat configuration that rear shelve even offered a pair of straps to keep the luggage from moving around while driving, once production of the 350 GT was started the chassis would be made by Marchesi instead.
While the 350 GTV received a steel and aluminum body, the 350 GT would be built by Touring using their patented Superleggera method which involved mounting thin aluminum panels over a tubular frame to keep weight down … in the end the Lamborghini 350 GT put only 1050 kg on the scale, the wheels remained the well-known 72-spoke Borrani units in the same 15 inch size, but not all 350 GT would be aluminum bodied, towards the end of the production, when preparations were taken to build the 400 GT 2+2 the final 350 GT units were delivered with a steel bodywork already.
With the exterior sorted it was time to make sure the new V12 engine would allow trouble-free usage for at least 70,000 km (40,000 Miles) between maintenance intervals, the unit Bizzarrini created could deliver 360 hp at 8,000 rpm (some sources even state 400 hp at 11,000) thanks to using very expensive, race inspired, vertical 36mm Weber carburetors, a dry sump oil system and a high compression ratio of 11:1.
Chief Engineering Gian Paolo Dallara was taking care of modifying the V12 into a production unit, together with Bob Wallace they created an engine capable of delivering 280 hp at ‘only’ 6,500 rpm with a wet sump lubrication system and a 9.5:1 compression ratio, two electric Bendix fuel pumps supplied six dual 40DCOE 2 Weber carburetors of the necessary 100 Octane fuel, in this configuration the Lamborghini 350 GT could reach a top speed of 250 Km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds … some very impressive figures back in the early Sixties.
All these changes created the 350 GT (the 'V' for Veloce was dropped), the complete body design was smoothed but the overall looks were still different from any other car on the market at that time, and the 350 GT looked really ice. Between the unveil of the 350 GTV at the 1963 Turin Motor Show and the introduction of the 350 GT at the 1964 Geneva Auto Show only five months passed … and it quickly became evident the changes made going from prototype to production went down well … orders were being signed and production could begin on actual customer cars.
The Lamborghini 350 GTV was built on chassis number 0100, the 350 GT that was shown at the March 1964 Geneva Auto show was number #101 with Touring body (#17001), the first customer car would become chassis #104 with body #17004, delivered on the 31st of July 1964 … Automobili Lamborghini SpA was now officially a car building factory, note that the Geneva Show car #0101 was the only one with the triple exhaust pipes like seen on the GTV and came with a one a kind rear badge : 350 GT 2+1 for having the third seat at the rear … after that no other 350 GT would be delivered with this badge.
29 октября 1963 года был показан прототип Lamborghini 350 GTV, который не получил положительных отзывов, но Ферруччо решает продолжать. После выставки началось создание серийного кузова 350, место Franco Scaglione занял Bianchi Anderloni, он тоже работал в Carrozzeria Touring.
Кузов был полностью переделан, убраны убирающиеся фары и поставлены овальные от компании Cibie, задние фары тоже претерпели изменения, из сделали овальными и более простыми, и более дешёвыми в производстве. Капот выровняли. Как и в прототипе, были применены большие окна, но было сделано так что бы их производство и установка были дешевле и проще, в дверях сделали одно стекло, место двух. В целом же кузов полностью избавился от углов.
Carrozzeria Touring - компания в которой производились кузова, использовала запатентованную технологию Superleggera, Алюминиевые панели приваривали на трубчатый каркас, собирая так кузов, такой способ позволяло добиться большей легкости.
Шасси делал Gian Paolo Dallara, он использовал раму, разработанную Bizzarrini, для GTV, но сделал её из труб квадратного сечения, а также увеличил колесную базу на 100 мм, колея передних и задних колес не изменилась.
Шасси и кузов соединялись в Carrozzeria Touring, после чего красили и доставлялись на завод Lamborghini. Первые шасси (№0101) и кузов (№17001), были доставлены 9 марта 1964 года.
Салон переработали не столь значительно, стилистически все осталось узнаваемое и осталось на своих места. Использовали кожу, сделали деревянный руль,поставили приборы от компании Jaeger, сделали электрические стекло-подъёмники.
В марте 1964 года автомобиль показали на Женевском Автосалоне. Пресса и энтузиасты высоко оценили автомобиль, и Ферруччо решил начать производство в новом заводе в San’t Agata, производство началось в мае 1964 года.