The worm and roller steering is heavy at parking speeds but becomes beautifully weighted and responsive on the move, even if it is a touch vague about the straightahead. The 4.0-liter engine has lots of low-down grunt despite the fact the peak torque of 276 lb-ft does not arrive until 4500 rpm. Bore and stroke are 82.0 x 62.0mm, which means this engine is an oversquare revver. Although the redline on the tach starts 1000 rpm higher, the 320 horses all stand up to be counted at 6000 rpm.
The engine and gearbox oils are warmed through now, and the car can be given its head. Whether in front of you or behind your head, a Lamborghini V12 makes a very special noise. It sounds different from a Ferrari V12 and most certainly different from a BMW, Jaguar or Mercedes unit. It is a combination of induction, timing chain and exhaust noises, and it is one of the most intoxicating man-made sounds ever. Like any good music, it is orchestrated and rises and falls, reaching a crescendo just before each gear change. Except that the conductor holds a steering wheel rather than a baton, and the beat is dictated by the rise and fall of the ground, the radius of curves on the road and the length of the straights.
On the move the controls become lighter, more fluid, more logical. If things are too light, they lack feel and feedback; if a car is too easy to drive, the driver's reward is less. Or less deserved? The Flying Star II provides both reward and entertainment.
It also rides well. Using unequal length double wishbone coil suspension at each corner of its tubular chassis, the well-considered spring and damper rates produce a ride that is taut but comfortable. The 215/70VR15 Michelin XWX tires were state of the art in the 1960s and were fitted to anything that could do more than 130 mph. By today's standards, their grip is feeble, but their tall sidewalls give a ride today's low-profile tires struggle to approach. Thus, it is best to drive the car by the book. Slow in, fast out. You use the flexible nature of the big engine to sling the car down the straights once past the apex of a bend. Driven this way, this venerable Lamborghini and others of its ilk give of their best.
At the 1966 Turin Motor Show, Touring had two cars on its stand-a Fiat 124 Cabriolet and the Flying Star II. Within months, it was apparent the effort had been too great for the firm's finances, and the once buoyant styling house went down with all hands.
Flying Star II's first owner was Jacque Quoivez, brother of famous French author Franoise Sagan. Then it was sold to VPM Voitures, the French Lamborghini importer which had been looking after the car. In 1970, Chancerelle, the French food store entrepreneur, bought it. He used the car extensively, and when he sold it in the late 1970s, the car had covered 170,000km.
During his ownership, servicing of the car had been taken over by Ciclet Automobile in Bagneux, a Parisian suburb. This firm, owned by the ex-foreman of VPM Voitures, rebuilt the motor and the car was sent back to the factory in Italy in 1979 for total restoration.
When Chancerelle eventually felt he was too old for such an extrovert automobile, Flying Star II found itself back at Ciclet, this time for sale. By now, it was the late 1980s and the investment potential of rare automobiles was rising. After three or four short tenures with different owners, Flying Star II ended up as the cherished possession of London-based property magnate and car enthusiast Ash Tandon. It was sold on again in the early 1990s and has had a couple more owners since.
As classic cars go, Flying Star II is significant not just as a coach-built Lamborghini show car, but also because it marked the end of two eras. For Lamborghini, it was the last of the early front-engined cars before the mid-engined Miura took center stage; the end of the beginning. For the famous Italian styling house of Touring, though, it was the last car it ever built; the Flying Star II was its swan song.