The First Production Lamborghini
The first production Lamborghini was the Lamborghini 350 GT and it was an instant hit. The Lamborghini 350 GTV prototype was the first car Lamborghini ever made and it set the company on a wild ride from concept to production in a really short amount of time. The first Lamborghini 350 GT rolled off the assembly line in Italy in May 1964. Lamborghini built 120 units between 1964 and 1966 when it was replaced by the 400 GT.
Lamborghini 350 GT Story
In two short years, Lamborghini tooled up and sold their first production car which debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. It closely followed the 350 GTV prototype of 1963 and was produced by Carrozeria Touring Superleggra.
After assembling a strong team to built the GTV prototype, Ferruccio Lamborghini launched the production version just five months later. These changes came from a wealth of talent including Giotto Bizzarrini, Gian Paolo Dallara and Franco Scaglione who worked styling both the production and prototype versions of the 350.
Like the concept 350 GTV, the production version had four-wheel independent suspension, a quad-cam V12 with a Scaglione-designed, aluminum body. Refinements were made to the chassis at Neri & Bonacini with test driver Bob Wallace. Neri & Bonacini went on to manufacture frames for the earlier cars until the work was contracted out Marchesi.
For production, the body underwent a number of revisions. Fixed Cibie headlights replaced the pop-up counterparts and manufacture of the bodies was entrusted to Touring of Milan. They used their patented Supperleggra method of construction which fixed aluminum-alloy panels directly to a tubular structure.
The engine in the 350 was the intended Bizzarrini-designed V12. It was a very capable power plant that could reach 350 in top from. Unlike the GTV prototype, which experienced clearance problems, the 350 featured side-mounted carburetors to reduce the height of the engine.
Overall, the Lamborghini 350 was a success. Solid orders for the car ensured the companies’ survival and paved the way for future models. From Ferrari’s perspective, a new competitor had risen. One that used a wealth of talent within two years to produce a product that mirrored Ferrari performance.
Lamborghini replaced the 350 GT with larger-engined 400 GT in 1966.