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I’ve wanted to sculpt this gorgeous one-off Lamborghini for years. A fantastic stone for such a creation finally presented itself. The 350 GTV shape is so thoroughly modern for 1963, almost Dick Tracy-ish, or science fiction-like, in character. Some pundits even label it “mid-century modern”. Enthusiast found the styling so desirable that an engine-less mock-up at the 1963 Turin Auto Show managed to launch Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.
The prolific Franco Scaglione is primarily credited in the design of the GTV prototype, with construction of the 2-seater in both aluminum and steel panels at Carrozzeria Sargiotto in Turin. Ferruccio Lamborghini’s design brief was for a styling exercise, not a running car. Thus, the 350 GTV prototype had no engine or driveline, nor brakes, nor functional auxiliary systems.
Once the show car lit enthusiasts’ dreams, Lamborghini largely forgot about the sole 350 GTV. Instead, Lamborghini directed his talented team to take the design brief and evolve it into a production-ready, larger gentleman’s express called the 350 GT. That team included Gianpaolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace. Carrozzeria Touring was called upon to evolve the body design to a 2+1, and to manufacture the (predominantly) aluminum bodies.
The 350GT, and later similar, steel-bodied Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 were successful in the marketplace, and highly sought after today. Like most production cars though, they lost some of the visual magic of the show car from which they were derived, (in this case, the 350 GTV). Put them side-by-side, and the show car is roughly 13” shorter, 7” lower, and 1” wider than the eventual production cars. Note the much larger rear quarter windows in the GTs, and the Plainer-Jane nose and tail detail. The high-zoot retractable headlights also escape the transition.
The role of the 350 GTV in Lamborghini’s storied path might well have been lost to the sands of time, were the neglected prototype not resurrected in the 1980s. Enthusiasts Romano Bernardoni and Stefano Pasini convinced the Lamborghini senior management to sell them the sole 350 GTV design mule. The pair turned the now-derelict prototype into a fully functional automobile. It passed through a few collectors hands, before being repatriated to the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’ Agata, outside Bologna.
Where it smote me.
The 350 GTV design is a pleasing mix of round and angular. I particularly like the angular components, including the rear wheel-well shapes, the rear bumperettes, and the integrated character trim at the belt-line. Excellent rounded-design features include the roofline, hidden headlamps, and the prominent curvature of the windscreen.
So, while automobiles of the 1960s needed round tires, and front tire steering clearance, my sculptures do not. Thus, my front and rear wheel-well treatments. I feel these changes add to the Dick Tracy / science fiction vibe.
Persian Green Onyx is a pale creamy mint shade, almost pastel-like. Light and mid-brown regions, and course veining is typical. Like most varietals of onyx, Persian Green can be transilluminated by back or under lights. The finish achieved gives a tremendous amount of lustre and reflectivity.