In 1964, Ferruccio Lamborghini unveiled his V12 competitor to Ferrari, the 350 GT, at the Geneva Auto Show. The car, which featured a four-cam, 3.5-liter V12 engine designed by Giotto Bizzarini, a tubular steel chassis, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and a ZF gearbox, was Lamborghini's first serial-production GT. The automotive world loved it.

In 1966 the engine was increased to 3.9 liters and the ZF transmission was replaced with a gearbox built by Lamborghini itself. The differential was also replaced with one of Lamborghini's own. These modifications were slipped under a Touring-designed steel body that had been slightly raised to allow three passengers to accompany the lucky driver. Similar in appearance to the 350 GT, this new car also had lowered floor pans, four round Hella headlamps and a single fuel tank instead of twin tanks. Thus was born the 400 GT 2+2.

Debuting at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show, Lamborghini's showpiece was once again warmly received. The new model's horsepower increased from 280 horsepower to 320, and top speed to 155 miles per hour. Zero to 60 times were in the low seven-second range. The engine, in fact, was worthy enough to be used in the Miura and Countach until 1982-a testament to its design and output.

The car is often pointed to as the one automobile closest to Ferruccio Lamborghini's original aim: elegance, durability, practicality and performance. As such, it should come as no surprise that the 400 GT 2+2 outsold the 350 GT nearly two to one.

A superb car in every sense of the word, the 400 GT 2+2 allows for confident high-speed touring, and is a perfect example of a state-of-the-art Italian supercar of the '60s.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1966 Lamborghini 400 GT
Years Produced:1966-68
Number Produced:247
Original List Price:$14,250
SCM Valuation:$37,500-$60,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,650-$2,200
Distributor Caps:$225
Chassis Number Location:Plate welded on right frame rail
Engine Number Location:Middle of V on block
Club Info:Lamborghini Club of America, One Northwood Drive, Suite 7, Orinda, CA 94563
Alternatives:Ferrari 250 GTE, Aston Martin DB6, Jaguar XKE 2+2, Iso Grifo
Investment Grade:B

The car pictured here sold for $75,600, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction, held January 20th, 2002. The car was in solid #2- condition, only showing minor wear on a recent restoration.

All of a sudden, back seats are big news. After years of the market shunning exotic cars that had more seats than doors, I have noticed a small but growing desire to have a car that is both interesting and modestly useful. “Betty and Barney want to join us for dinner. Um, okay, let’s take their car because our Moretti only has two seats, and you’ll probably like their new Saturn wagon anyway.” Blech.

By no stretch do I mean that 2+2s are becoming more desirable than pure two-seaters. But it’s certainly easier to justify parting with a pile of benjamins if you can at least picture putting the kids, the dog, the luggage, some golf clubs or whatever, into the back seat. Porsche owners have been getting away with this for years. And now even our editor pretends that having a back seat was part of the reason for buying his Moondoggy Ferrari.

Forward march to the car at hand, the Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2. This Lambo has always trailed the Miura, Countach and 350 GT for collectibility. In many instances it has enjoyed the same motor, perhaps a better gearbox and transaxle, and it is slightly less expensive to restore because of its steel body (versus aluminum) and larger production volume. But, and this is the “but” in question, it has always suffered disparaging comments like, “It has a backseat, so why consider it?”

I hear the same babbling about the Ferrari 250 GTE and 330 GT, the Aston Martin DB6, the Jaguar XKE 2+2 and countless other cousins of proper two-seaters. But anyone who has driven a standard-cab pickup truck knows exactly how constricted the cabin is in a 246 GTS, and how once you’ve got a body in each seat, the thermos bottle is going to have to go into the trunk.

Two years ago, $75k would have been an earth-shaking price for a Lambo 400 GT. But not today. And this is a car that is surely worth $75k. Few 2+2s are as exciting to drive, and possess as wonderful a V12 pedigree as this car.

I’ve known two collectors who have put strong daily mileage on their 400 GTs. Both folks have owned cars that were considerably more exotic, but both found the 400 GT to have a near-perfect balance of exotic appeal and usability.

The usual caveats apply to this transaction. If the engine and transmission are strong, if the notoriously edgy electricals are sorted, and if the metal below that red (yawn) paint is solid, then, although this car was bought at the top of today’s market, it should still be considered a fair enough deal.

There are many families involved in this hobby and the desire to be together when that rare disposable time becomes available makes for a pretty solid argument for ye olde back seat. Of course, traveling in two cars with just two seats each, say a pair of Countachs or Miuras, will always remain a good Plan B.-Steve Serio

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