October 30, 1963 – The first Lamborghini

When Enzo Ferrari refused to see a wealthy customer who had some concerns about his recently purchased Ferrari, that customer pledged to build his own sports car out of spite. The dissed customer, Ferruccio Lamborghini, stood by his word, sparking one of the greatest rivalries in automotive history.

Ferruccio’s revenge became tangible when he debuted the Lamborghini 350 GTV on this day in 1963 at the Turin Motor Show, the same day Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. was officially founded. Under the bonnet of the Lamborghini at the show resided only bricks, as Ferruccio was displeased with the engine the ex-Ferrari engineers he hired had created, stating it was too similar to those in Ferraris. 

Lamborghini 350 GTV by Craig Howell.

The 350 GTV body was not well received for its looks and a redesign was initiated following the Turin debut. The new body style was shown at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show and featured an actual engine, a 280 hp V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini. Positive press led to production being greenlit shortly thereafter, with the cars badged as the 350GT. By the end of 1964 only 13 had been built, each sold at a loss in order to keep prices competitive with Ferrari. In total, over three model years, 120 Lamborghini 350GTs were built.

Production 1964 Lamborghini 350 GT. By Simon Davison – CC BY 2.0

Cover: The 1963 GTV 350 prototype at the Concorso Italiano in 2001. By Craig Howell from San Carlos, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0.

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