The Petersen Automotive Museum Auction | Lot 234
1965 Lamborghini 350 GT by Touring
$555,000 USD | Sold
| Los Angeles, California
8 December 2018
- The original model that birthed the Lamborghini legend; one of only 120
- An exceptionally well-preserved and largely original example
- Fewer than 37,300 original miles
- Featured in a Gucci commercial, directed by and starring James Franco
Enzo Ferrari unwittingly helped Ferruccio Lamborghini with his quest to make a sports car better than Ferrari. There had been a defection (known as the palace revolt) among the top ranks of Ferrari’s employees in 1961, and some first-rate designers were now working freelance. Lamborghini assembled a veritable dream team, which included designers Giotto Bizzarrini and Gian Paolo Dallara, development driver Bob Wallace, the racing shop of Neri & Bonanci in Modena, and Franco Scaglione, who created the renowned Alfa Romeo Bertone BAT cars. Between them, they developed the Lamborghini 350 GTV concept, which was the sensation of the Geneva Auto Show in May 1963.
Lamborghini was convinced that the 350 GTV was too radical to be a usable road car, and he directed Wallace and Dallara to modify the design. The engine was detuned, the dry-sump setup was replaced with a wet sump, and the side-draft carburetors were fitted for a lower hood line. Compression was reduced from 11:1 to 9.4:1, and less radical cams were fitted. The result delivered 270 hp through a five-speed ZF gearbox, and it featured independent suspension and four-wheel power disc brakes to accomplish suitable high-speed cruising. Touring of Milan built the bodies with their signature Superleggera construction method.
When the production 350 GT debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1964, it was to great acclaim and the first example was delivered to its buyer on 31 July. In all, only 143 examples (including 23 interim cars) were built before the body was revised by Touring into the 400 GT 2+2, in 1966.
This 350 GT is an unrestored example in exceptionally well-preserved condition, with fewer than 60,000 km (37,300 miles) from new. The original cognac leather interior remains in remarkable condition and has an attractive light patina consistent with its careful use and low mileage. Importantly, this 350 GT is noted to retain its original engine. It was refinished some two decades ago, but the surface of the black paint was recently lightly wet sanded and professionally detailed, bringing out its deep shine.
In 2014, the current owner supplied the car to James Franco for a Gucci commercial, shot at the famed Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. In the commercial, which he directed and starred in, Franco is seen at the wheel of the 350 GT, heading down Mulholland Drive with a stunning model at his side. The car is in exemplary running and driving condition, having been scrupulously serviced by the renowned Franco’s European Sports Cars (unrelated to James Franco), known for maintaining the Lamborghinis of such noted connoisseurs as Jay Leno and for their decades of experience with these cars.
Although never restored, this 350 GT has always been well maintained and carefully used, making it one of the most attractive preserved examples remaining today.