After almost ten years’ investigation and pursuit, Bonhams has been successfully consigned this Lamborghini prototype that had been hidden from public view since soon after its sale to the present owner’s family in 1966.
This uniquely exotic front-engined Lamborghini – christened the ‘400GT Monza’ – has been the object of speculation by Italian car collectors and Lamborghini enthusiasts. Many have doubted its survival and its whereabouts has been a much-discussed question.
In fact, this Lamborghini Monza first saw the light of day in May 1966, combining the marque’s acclaimed 400GT chassis with gloriously voluptuous, Ferrari-esque coachwork hand-crafted by tiny local autofficina Neri & Bonacini. They are best remembered for their masterly coachwork creations on rival Ferrari chassis but also builders of the original prototype Lamborghini chassis and engine.
The Lamborghini 400 Monza’s coachwork is, in fact, reminiscent of a Ferrari 250GTO, right from its low, wide mouth through to its steeply raked windscreen (which was taken from a ’64 GTO). But the Monza is distinguished by a Maranello sports-prototype-inspired vestigial ‘basket handle’ roof design, the body styling then terminating in an almost horizontal fastback which was truncated by a classically cut-short, ‘Kamm’ or ‘transom’ tail treatment. Trademark blade-like bumpers complete its signature Neri & Bonacini styling.
According to at least one contemporary source, company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini followed this 400GT Monza project closely, hoping that it might bear greater fruit than an earlier design by Neri & Bonacini for a lightweight 350GT.
Exhibited to the public for the first and only time at the 1966 Barcelona Motor Show, the Monza was instead sold to a wealthy Spanish sportsman After being used mainly to transport its owner to race meetings in which he was driving his Porsche 906 and 908 competition cars, the unique Lamborghini Monza was laid-up in 1970 with just over 7,000km recorded on its odometer.
Retained by the owner’s family after his death, this unique Lamborghini Monza is preserved in a very original state. It was sold at Bonhams’ annual London Olympia sale on 5 December 2005 at a price of $315 000 USD including buyer’s premium.