Head of Sale
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The Gstaad Sale / 1967 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 Chassis no. 01207 Engine no. 1304
Sold for CHF350,000 inc. premium
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Head of Sale
European Sales Manager
International Chairman for Motoring
It is the stuff of legend that Ferrari-owning industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini only turned to automobile manufacture as a result of receiving off-hand treatment at Maranello, vowing to build a better car. A successful manufacturer of tractors and related machinery, Lamborghini possessed the resources to realise his dream without having to compromise.
Lamborghini's first production car, the Touring-styled 350GT, debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. The work of two of Italy's most illustrious automobile designers, the 350GT featured a glorious 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, housed in a chassis penned by Gianpaolo Dallara. The 350GT's four camshafts and all-independent suspension meant that it upstaged the best that Ferrari offered at the time, but to compete with his Maranello rival's larger models, Lamborghini needed a four-seater, and the 400GT 2+2 duly appeared in 1966. A development of the 350GT, the newcomer used an enlarged - to 3,929cc - V12. This 4.0-litre unit had first appeared in 1965, finding its way into a handful of late 350GTs, this interim model being known as the 400GT. The latter's claimed maximum power was 320bhp - up from the 350GT's 270 - an output sufficient to make the former a 150mph-plus (240km/h-plus) car.
The 400GT 2+2 retained the overall, and highly acclaimed, looks of the 350GT while contriving to be slightly taller in the interests of increased rear-passenger headroom. Bodies were now steel (the 350GT's had been aluminium) and the 400GT 2+2 had the twin headlights that had already been adopted in place of the oval originals, largely to meet the USA's requirements.
Despite its novice status as an automobile manufacturer, Lamborghini soon dispelled any lingering doubts about its ability to compete with the world's best Grand Tourers. Reviewing the 400GT in its 2+2 form in 1967, Autocar magazine voted it "better than all the equivalent exotic and home-bred machinery in this glamorous corner of the fast-car market". The relaxed manner of its long-legged performance was reckoned the finest quality of the Lamborghini, its V12 engine being judged to have the broadest range of smooth torque the testers had experienced. Autocar concluded: "To achieve this level of performance without noise, fuss, temperament or drama is an achievement; in the time taken for development, it is nothing short of sensational."
One of only 247 units built between 1966 and 1968, this matching-numbers, 'time-warp' Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 was invoiced on 20th September 1967 by the factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese to the Swiss Lamborghini importer, Garage Foitek AG of Zurich. The total cost as noted on the invoice (copy on file) was 5,000,000 Italian Lire (to be paid in cash!) while the original colour combination is recorded as Azzuro Fiat (light metallic blue) with tobacco leather interior. The original-equipment tyres were Pirelli, while the windscreen had a blue band across the top. Other fitted options were air conditioning and a radio.
Garage Foitek in turn invoiced the car to its first owner, a certain Oscar Meier of Zurich, on 22nd September 1967, for the price of CHF 53,000 less a discount of CHF 9,000 (copy invoice on file). Mr Meier did not keep the car for long as he had ordered a brand new Espada; indeed, Foitek had already sold the 400GT (on 26th June 1968) to the second owner, with the provision that he would let the first owner use the car in the month of August '68. The price recorded for the now used Lamborghini was CHF 37,000 (invoice on file).
The second (and last) owner, a well-known Swiss industrialist, obviously enjoyed the car tremendously, as he kept it for the rest of his life, clocking up just under 87,000 kilometres on the believed-correct odometer. As the Lamborghini has always been meticulously looked after, it has never needed a restoration and is presented today in what can only be described as remarkably original 'time-warp' condition.
The Lamborghini's late owner was no stranger to sports and racing cars, as he won the Swiss Amateur Championship in a BMW 328 in 1937 in the sports car class, racing at Maloya, Montreux Caux, Klausen and Rheineck Walzenhausen, among others. He held the track record for the mountain race at Rheineck Waldhausen, which remained unbroken for many years after the war.
A serial owner of high end sports cars, he met the Swiss Lamborghini importer Karl Foitek at the Geneva Motor Show; deciding between an Aston Martin DB6 and this Lamborghini 400GT 2+2, he opted for the latter and the car would remain for more than 50 years in the family. An engineer and entrepreneur himself, he felt more attracted by the Lamborghini and admired Ferruccio Lamborghini's ability to produce such high-end sports cars within a short time frame, and which, in his opinion, were more advanced, more powerful and at the same time more reliable than the longer established competition of Ferrari and Maserati. The car's V12 engine was very flexible, and in combination with the all-synchro five-speed gearbox and easy to operate re-circulating ball steering, made light work of the Swiss roads and mountain passes. The car was first serviced by Garage Foitek AG and then by Garage Speich AG in Zurich, and has passed the stringent technical test for the Veteranenstatus of the Zurich canton. Importantly, the car has always been registered and in use throughout.
These stunning Gran Tursimo Lamborghinis rarely come to the market, and there can be few, if any, more desirable than this beautiful, un-restored example, which exudes the most charming patina. As we often say, they are only original once...
This 400GT 2+2 is ready to be enjoyed by next owner, only its third in over 50 years, and comes with copies of the aforementioned original invoices, original owner's manual (in Italian), original warranty card and original Declaration of Conformity (signed by Lamborghini) as well as current Swiss Fahrzeugausweis.