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1968 Lamborghini 400 GT

D.K. Engineering Ltd

1968 Lamborghini 400 GT
D.K. Engineering Ltd
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SH ID

24-0325016

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FEATURED BY SPEEDHOLICS

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In Stock

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United Kingdom

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Dealer

Odometer Enquire

 

Transmission Manual

 

Drive Side RHD

Description

Following a bitter dispute with Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s tractor empire had left him with enough capital to challenge the established Italian marque. His first foray into sportscars would see him hiring Giotti Bizzarrini, formerly of Alfa Romeo and latterly as a test driver and then chief engineer at Ferrari. His work at Ferrari included the development of the 250 TR and 250 GT Berlinetta SWB before his grand-finale, the 250 GTO. His direction saw a reduction in front lift and the movement of the engine further back into chassis for better handling; with a formidable result. After his departure from Ferrari, Bizzarrini would work on various sports racers before founding Società Autostar (SA), an engineering firm that would bid for freelance contracts. Ferruccio Lamborghini commissioned SA to build him a bespoke V12 powerplant to go up against Ferrari. It first appeared in the 350 GT as a 3,464cc in 1962 and its fundamental design would continue to see use until the Murcielago as a 6,496cc in 2010. The Lamborghini 350 GT was debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show, with production starting in May of that year. Utilising independent suspension all round, Bizzarrini’s 3.5 litre V12 and a body by Carrozzeria Touring, the 350 was an instant hit. Lamborghini had asked that his Gran Turismo’s powerplant was ‘good for 40,000 hard miles between services’, which saw the engine detuned from its 400hp racing prototype, to a still generous 270hp in production specification. Lamborghini produced 120 examples of the 350 GT before the upgraded 400 GT 2+2 was introduced in 1966. There were a handful of interim cars with the larger engine but the original form. Benefitting from an enlarged 4.0 litre V12, the 400 GT saw power increase to 320hp and a revised, Lamborghini-designed gearbox with a synchromesh on all gears. Then importers Mitchell & Britten brought just 4 examples of the 400 GT in to the UK. These four cars were sent to renowned coachbuilders Hooper & Co for conversion to right hand drive. This example was first registered on 16th February 1968 where it would gain the registration ‘SLF 406F’ that it retains to this day. It has been quoted several times during the history of this 400 GT that it found first ownership with Sir Paul McCartney of The Beatles. References to his ownership are mentioned in several published books; Lamborghini Supreme Amongst Exotics by Andrew Moreland; Lamborghini by Chris Harvey; and Lamborghini: The Legend by David Hodges. One of the sister RHD cars, ‘SLF 403F, also maroon over beige at the time, shares this claim to fame. What is known about this 400 GT starts from shortly after; accompanied by a thorough history folio, including its continued ‘Buff’ logbook from 1972 onwards. Earliest confirmed ownership is penned with that of H.E Fuller & Son of Buckhorn Weston, Dorset. The 400 GT would remain with them for 3 years, moving into the name of another Dorset based company and then into the name of John Menhinick of Beauchamp Roding in 1975. John’s son Alex as well as the succeeding custodian Michael Hipperson, joined us at DK recently to see the car for the first time in 45 years. Registered in John’s name, he had used the car sparingly, whilst wife Nancy used the car as her daily driver. Son Alex recalled taking the wheel aged just 18, and stretching the legs of the 4.0 litre V12! The Menhinicks kept the car until 1979 and it was fondly remembered during that time. In 1979, the car was owned by avid collector and enthusiast Michael Hipperson. He recalled purchasing the car from the Menhinicks large, ivy-clad house. Michael didn’t keep the car long, but it is still fondly chronicled in his book ‘Let Them Stare’. Michael sold the car to Nicholas Portway, an avid fan of both Lamborghini and The Beatles. Nic would keep the car the longest and fall so much for the car he would even own it twice. The 400 GT would see occasional use in Nic’s care for over 10 years, before his first sale at the peak of classic car values in the early 1990s for £70,000. Buyers remorse saw him purchase the car back two years later, with just 800 miles added to the car but the value halved! Nicholas kept good care of the car, rebuilding the gearbox in 1988 and the rear suspension 6 years later. MOTs were diligently carried out documenting the mileage along the way. In 2011, the car was placed into a Bonhams auction and whilst it would fail to sell on the day, it would find its next custodian shortly after. The next custodian would relocate the car to Hong Kong, where it would be stored for the most part with Lamborghini Hong Kong. The car would take centre stage on alongside an LP400 Periscopio and Reventon Roadster in a Lamborghini pop-up museum in 2014.The 400 GT was used sparingly and later returned to the UK. Most recently the car has been treated to a full restoration. The 400 GT was taken back to bare metal with specialists Bodylines of Northampton, later refinished in the period correct shade of Grigio St Vincent by Matt Fells. The engine was rebuilt by Chesman Motorsport with final setup completed by Tom Ransom of Colin Clarke Engineering. Other works including the gearbox, axle and wiring loom were carried out by Scott Smith. The interior has been tastefully reappointed in Connolly Vaumol VM3104 Ochre. The restoration has been extensively documented with close to 400 photographs, presented in the accompanying history folio. A rare opportunity to acquire one of just four UK supplied 400 GTs, this example is ready to be used and enjoyed by its next custodian and is available to view at our showrooms outside London immediately.