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Lamborghini Monza 400

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Monza 400 gt img01.jpg
Lamborghini Monza 400
Lamborghini
aka 400GT Interim
Production 1966
Class
Body Style
Length
Width
Height
Wheelbase
Weight
Transmission
Engine
Power 320 @ 6500 rpm
Similar Aston Martin DB4GT Jet
Maserati Boomerang
Lamborghini Flying Star II
Designer Neri & Bonacini

The Lamborghini Monza 400 is a one-off berlinetta sports car designed and built by a tiny local autofficina, Neri & Bonacini. There are various speculation as to the genesis of the vehicle. One account purports that it was commissioned by an American client (with full blessing from Ferruccio Lamborghini) intending to run it at Le Mans. Another suggests that it was a stillborn design to replace the 350/400GT. And yet another contends that it was intended to be an alternative Lamborghini model. What ever the truth, this tantalizing one-off disappeared from view for almost four decades.

The car uses the chassis of a 400GT 2+2 and a 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO's actual windscreen.

History

Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini ran a well-established workshop in Modena looking after Ferrari and Maserati racing cars, and had taken over responsibility for the maintenance of customer cars after the latter's competition department shut its doors in the late 1950s. They had been retained by Ferruccio Lamborghini to build the first prototype Lamborghini chassis and engine, and the very first complete car to bear his name, the 350GTV, in 1963. They continued as Lamborghini's chassis supplier until handing over responsibility to their former employee Marchesi once 350GT production was well underway.

Already responsible for the famous 'Nembo' series of Ferraris, Neri & Bonacini now turned their hand to creating their own interpretation of a high speed Lamborghini granturismo. As a contemporary Italian historian put it: "This Monza 400 does not lack character: the cockpit, set low onto a flowing and powerful infrastructure, creates a silhouette which cannot fail to impress. The wide mouth opening, almost at ground level, the shape of the side windows, the rear sail panels all make it a handsome car. This prototype has been born with the blessing of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who is said to have followed it closely after disappointments with coachbuilders."

Believed to have been finished in May or June 1966, the Monza may have been intended to put forward an alternative Lamborghini model but, after attracting the attention of the motoring press for a few brief months, it remained a tantalising one-off and disappeared from view for almost four decades.

Quite how remains a mystery but this rakish one-off was shipped to Spain for the 1967 Barcelona Motor Show where it caught the eye of a wealthy Spanish gentleman who, having already achieved success in other high-risk sporting pursuits such as motocross and big game hunting, had recently decided that motor racing might be fun. Moving rapidly from a tuned Mini Cooper to a new Porsche 904 (and soon a 908), his taste in road cars was equally exotic. The Lamborghini Miura on the Spanish importer's stand was drawing the crowds, but there was a lengthy waiting list which, even with his connections (in a country where most of Generalissimo Franco's citizens had to make do with home-grown family cars), was rather less appealing. Sitting next to the silver Miura, however, was an equally low-slung berlinetta resplendent in metallic Amaranto set off by chrome Borrani wire wheels. After a brief negotiation with Amato, Lamborghini's Spanish agent, and a call to a fellow golf-playing government minister, the Lamborghini Monza was his, except that by now the 'Monza' script adorning the car's rear had been hastily replaced by a 'Jarama' badge in deference to the car's new home country (long before Lamborghini had christened its own Jarama model).

Over the next three years the Lamborghini Monza conveyed its owner to race meetings across the country and on high speed private journeys, rarely leaving Spain. In 1970, with just 7,136 km covered, this unique V12 granturismo was laid up in one of the owner's garages on a busy shopping street, alongside numerous motorcycles and a powerboat, before the entrance was blocked off. Here the car sat for the next few decades whilst thousands of miles away, motoring historians speculated as to the fate of the Lamborghini Monza. Rumours abounded that the car had been sold to an American collector, books on the marque were published which invariably listed the Monza as 'missing', but nobody knew for sure until late 1996 when the owner's family contacted Bonham's after the owner had died earlier in the decade. The car is now in the hands of a U.K. collector.

Gallery

See Also

External Links

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