Together since 1958 and playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg since 1960, the trio including Paul McCartney, never knew just how popular they would become; that was until the unique combination of 1950s rock and roll, skiffle and experimental musical styles from cultural influences created a signature Beatles sound which snowballed into an avalanche popularity of “Beatlemania” in 1963. Eventually, it was time to enjoy the fruits of labour with Paul McCartney’s own 1967 Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 Coupe.
Originally the property of Sir Paul McCartney, the 1967 Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 Coupe auctioned by Bonhams today was delivered during the peak of Beatlemania. Registered ‘SLF 406F’ on 16th February 1968, Paul McCartney’s ownership of the 1967 Lamborghini 400GT coupe was often mentioned in key Lamborghini tomes like Andrew Moreland’s Lamborghini Supreme Amongst Exotics and ‘Lamborghini The Legend’ by David Hodges.
The 4.0L V12, Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 was consequently recognised among the ranks of the world’s best Grand Tourers, whether it was because of popular knowledge that such a sporty vehicle seated every member of the Fab Four (arguable) or the specs of the vintage supercar, the car remained in McCartney’s possession until 1979.
Provenance of the 1967 Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 coupe according to Bonhams
Lamborghini’s first production car, the Touring-styled 350GT, debuted at the 1963 Turin Motor Show. The work of two of Italy’s most illustrious automobile designers, the Lamborghini 350GT featured a glorious 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, housed in a chassis penned by engineer Gianpaolo Dallara, formerly with Ferrari and Maserati. This state-of-the-art engine produced 270 horsepower with a top speed in excess of 150mph.
The 350GT’s four camshafts and all-independent suspension meant that it upstaged the best that Ferrari offered at the time, but to compete with his Maranello rival, Lamborghini needed a larger model, a four-seater. To that end, Lamborghini conceived the 400GT 2+2 coupe and it was launched in 1966. Technically based on the 350GT, the 1967 Lamborghini coupe used an enlarged – to 3,929cc – V12. This 4.0-litre unit had first appeared in 1965, finding its way into a handful of late 350GTs, this interim model being known as the 400GT.
The 400GT 2+2 retained the overall, and highly acclaimed, looks of the 350GT while contriving to be slightly taller in the interests of increased rear-passenger headroom. Bodies were now steel (the 350GT’s had been aluminium) and the 400GT 2+2 had the twin headlights that had already been adopted in place of the oval originals, largely to meet the legal requirements in the United States. This 1967 Lamborghini 400GT with 4 seats featured 320 horsepower, a gain of 50 horses over its 2 seat predecessor, an impressive technical feat at the time.
Compared to Ferrari, Lamborghini’s relative youth in the automobile industry was soon a non issue when Autocar magazine voted the 400GT 2+2 coupe as ‘better than all the equivalent exotic and home-bred machinery in this glamorous corner of the fast-car market’, inducting this 1967 Lamborghini coupe into the annals of the world’s best Grand Tourers.
The relaxed manner of its long-legged performance was reckoned the finest quality of the Lamborghini, its V12 engine being judged to have the broadest range of smooth torque the testers had experienced.
Heritage of McCartney’s 1967 Lamborghini 400GT coupe
Following Paul McCartney, a well known motoring connoisseur and collector took ownership and quite unfortunately, changed the 400GT coupe’s livery to its present wine red which has remained unchanged since. During this period of ownership it was always taxed and registered, thus, one can surmise based on the usage, the Lamborghini 400GT 2+2 once owned by Paul McCartney always remained properly maintained. According to the documentation, the gearbox was completely rebuilt in 1988 and the rear suspension in 1994, while Four new Borrani wheels were fitted in the 1980s. Such was the affection of the owner that when he sold the 400GT in 1989, he soon reacquired in 1996 after much bargaining. It eventually passed into present ownership in 2011 where the vintage Lamborghini 2+2 coupe has been stored in a climate-controlled environment within the Lamborghini dealership in Hong Kong since.
Interiors are dressed in beige pigskin upholstery which remains exceptional condition as its exterior. Accompanying documentation consists of sundry bills, period sales brochures, copy parts catalogue, an old-style logbook, and a copy of the old UK V5 registration document will accompany this Bonhams auction. It should be noted that should you wish to retain Paul McCartney’s old UK registration number, ‘SLF 406F’ will need to be re-applied if the buyer keeps the vintage Lamborghini coupe in the United Kingdom.
For more information: visit Bonhams auction