Monday, November 24, 2008

Mystery Car #52: Revealed


Before posting the original picture, I asked my co-workers at Leikin Motor Company what they thought the car was. Some said Porsche; others Ferrari. But as you will soon find out, both were wrong. Mystery Car #52 is a 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GTZ Zagato.

The what!?

To understand this car, you first have to understand the birth of the Lamborghini. Here's what happened. Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder, was not originally a car manufacturer. He made his millions by converting left over WWII army equipment into farm tractors. After the initial success, he purchased a Ferrari for his own personal use. However, he became angry when Enzo Ferrari wouldn't listen to his complaints when he experienced clutch problems. In a fit of rage, he fixed his Ferrari with a clutch from one of his tractors and decided to design and build his own car company.

His first super car, the 350 GTV, debuted at the Turin Show in November of 1963. After a few design changes, the car was produced in larger numbers as the 350 GT. These first cars were instantaneously successful and became an immediate threat to Ferrari's status as the premier Italian supercar.

Road & Track's Henry Manney aptly titled his March '65 review, "This one will give Ferrari a migraine," concluding that the 350 GT "is the most desirable sports/GT I have driven."1
So what does all that have to do with Mystery Car #52? In all honesty, Mystery Car #52 looks nothing like the 350 GTV or 350 GT.3 There are definite differences in the exterior styling. Notice the single headlights and Ferrari like grille. It's no wonder people were guessing Porsche and Ferrari. The reason this one looks so much different is that it is one of only two such cars built by Zagato on the 350 chassis.

This white 3500GTZ by Zagato was built on a mounted 10 cm shortened 350 GT chassis. The design was executed by Ercole Spada and showed some similarity to the earlier Ferrari 25O GTOs. This car was originally a white LHD car when it appeared at the London Motor Show in 1965. The car was originally sold to ex-racing driver Marchese Gerino Gerini, Lamborghini's agent in Milan. The car was repainted in an Italian red, then later a Jaguar Red when it was first restored and converted to RHD in Australia where it has been for many, many years. The car was purchased [in] 1999 and shipped to the Netherlands where it is undergoing restoration and conversion back to LHD.4


According to supercars.net5, the restoration has finally been completed. Sadly, the gorgeous red paint has been replaced with the original white color. However you may feel about that, the car looks to be in perfect condition as evidenced by this picture at Pebble Beach. Very nice.


Information:

  1. Lamborghini 350 & 400 GT: the beginning of a legendary marque by Genevieve Obert

  2. Lamborghini Sports Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide

  3. The Early Lamborghini's

  4. Lamborghini 3500 GTZ by Lamborghini Registry

  5. 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GTZ Zagato by supercars.net

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