Component beautiful, element brutal, completely captivating, these bulls variety the bookends of a single of the very best legacies in the automotive globe: the Lamborghini V12. What you are in search of at is the really 1st manufacturing Lamborghini with a dozen cylinders, the 350 GT, driving by way of Modena’s historic city center alongside the really last of the breed, the Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae.
The contrast is striking. The mix of sight and sound is otherworldly, reflecting and echoing in this quintessential Motor Valley city—this is sports activities pursuits automobile stimuli at its frenetic very best. And even however neither of these automobiles are the 1st to come to ideas at the mention of the producer, they are the very best pair to signify Lamborghini’s journey as a end result far.
A single is a svelte front-engined GT, the other an angular mid-engined supercar with twice the drive wheels and pretty much triple the horsepower of its distant forebear. They are separated by nearly six decades of technological and aesthetic evolution, but they are every single distinctly Lamborghini.
The Sant’Agata Bolognese-mostly primarily based carmaker says that this final edition of the Aventador is the last of its automobiles to be powered by a V12 engine, but just ahead of we get to the finish let’s commence off at the commencing with the 350 GT. Born from the 350 GTV prototype that Ferruccio Lamborghini utilised to introduce the globe to his sports activities pursuits automobiles in 1963, the 350 GT was the finish end result of making the prototype into a manufacturing-ready model.
Giotto Bizzarrini had been the brains behind the GTV’s tube-frame chassis and increased-strung V12, but he departed the organization to focus on his quite very own just ahead of the manufacturing edition was produced, which left that exercise to Lamborghini’s new Technical Director, Gian Paolo Dallara, and his assistant (and later on on technical director of Lamborghini), Paolo Stanzani.
Their perform on the job was acknowledged as the 350 GT, a 3.5-liter, 280-horsepower V12-propelled two-door grand tourer with light-bodyweight coach-developed aluminum bodywork by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, which was really equivalent in appear to the GTV prototype produced by Giorgio Prevedi and Franco Scaglione.
The chassis was a tube frame layout that was a good deal a lot more driver-and-street-pleasant than the genuine motorsport-inspired Bizzarrini layout that even now retained the four-wheel independent suspension layout, even however Stanzani’s revision of the carbureted quad-cam V12 resulted in a drastically significantly less powerful but a good deal a lot more reliable and agreeable power plant. The 350 GT was altogether tamer than its prototype GTV edition, but in absolute terms it was even now a really extraordinary demonstrate of engineering. To use an aeronautical analogy, an SR-71 Blackbird is a good deal a lot more severe than an F-35 Lightning, but the latter is even now quite far eradicated from the realm of Cessnas.
With only 120 examples produced, the 350 GT is a uncommon machine, but this distinct instance photographed proper right here is even a good deal a lot more distinctive, seeing as this is the oldest Lamborghini in existence. Chassis #0100 was the basis of the GTV prototype, and chassis #0101 was crashed and subsequently destroyed in the program of testing, which leaves this automobile, chassis #0102, to carry the mantle.
And speaking of early Lamborghini history—thanks to the company’s remembrance of and respect for its past—I was joined on this beautiful day by a range of early engineers and other workers from the time when the 350 GT was even now a new car–these have been amongst Ferruccio’s really 1st hires, and in their presence I come to really feel an even increased sense of gravitas standing subsequent to this seminal machine. With wistful smiles of nostalgia they circled the automobile, opened it up, leaned in and a lot more than it, speaking excitedly and quickly amongst themselves but also taking the time to stand back, alone for a minute, to reflect on the company’s historical previous and their contributions.
In addition to possessing impeccable recollections of the 350 GT, these guys are even now really energetic engineers, and even now really open-minded. I half-anticipated that they would not show that significantly curiosity in the newer model, but they have been rapidly gathered shut to the open engine compartment of the Aventador Ultimae, scrutinizing the V12 and its ancillaries in great detail, discussing the positioning and carry out of every single component in a degree of technical detail and insight that only increased-total overall performance engineers can.
Lamborghini had some of its current check out drivers in attendance as nicely, and employed them on this day to get the genuine crew out for some rides in the 780-horsepower Ultimae (it is only fitting that the most powerful Aventador is also the final edition). I request them on their return, “So, how was it?” Of plan, they loved it, as any actual enthusiast would, but a single reply has provided that caught with me: “Despite so several numerous many years possessing passed, the V12 has stored its character.” This is the final realization of nearly 60 numerous many years of twelve-cylinder optimization, and even however it is quite a bit a lot more rapidly than in which it began in the 350 GT (the Ultimae will do the quarter-mile on a drag strip in beneath 10 seconds), it is heartening to hear that the people who experienced the commencing can even now see the connective threads present in the cutting edge.
Irrespective of regardless of whether or not you decide on the early numerous many years or the current Lamborghini lineup, the reality that the cutting edge can even now be defined by a naturally aspirated twelve-cylinder engine is undeniably truly really worth celebrating. Turbocharging, hybrids, and electrical drivetrains (all of which Lamborghini has embraced in addition to retaining the V12 tradition alive for so extended) appear to be the inevitable likely, for a lot greater, for worse, for progress.
Whichever side you fall on, Lamborghini’s magical six-decade time time period of V12s will only develop to be a good deal a lot more romantic. I’m unhappy to say goodbye to the naturally aspirated excellence of this exotic engine architecture—and possessing a check out drive of my quite very own behind the wheel of the Ultimae only sharpened these pangs of desire—but I am grateful to have grown up in the program of the 2nd half of this mythic time time period of time. “Don’t cry given that it is a lot more than, smile given that it took location.”
I would like to deeply thank Lamborghini for making this distinctive information attainable. To be even a tiny piece of its ongoing story is a great honor, and a memory I will completely cherish.