European Car: So, is the story about your father starting to build cars because Ferrari made him mad the real story?
Tonino Lamborghini: Absolutely true, yes. More specifically, other than the loud drivetrains in general on Ferraris of that time, his 250 GT coupe kept eating clutches. He asked to see Enzo Ferrari in Maranello, but Ferrari refused, supposedly saying, 'Lamborghini is fit only to build tractors.'
EC: Are there still some family and/or professional tensions between the two brands?
TL: Well, a little. But just recently Piero Ferrari himself asked to see our lineup of microcars to possibly buy one for his grandchild. He ended up buying two, a coupe and a cabriolet.
EC: Many say that the 1963 350 GTV was abandoned because it was too ugly. We disagree that it was ugly, but is this why?
TL: That design by [Franco] Scaglione was ahead of its time and therefore deemed too odd for sale. Something not many know is that the prototype presented in Turin that year was originally a metallic blue like on later Lancia Deltas instead of the metallic green it's famous for. Scaglione must have changed the paint just before it was shown to the public. A bad rumor I want to put to rest is that the 350 GT "fix" shown soon after in Geneva was a model without an engine. That was a complete car, V12 and all.
EC: Why exactly did your father sell off all of his companies in the early 1970s?
TL: The late '60s and early '70s were the times of the labor strikes and mass unionization of industry throughout Italy. My father was a simple man who preferred the old ways of doing business, and the union struggles at the company in those years really saddened him. That and the fact that one of his best engineers left the company to work at Barilla. He said, 'An engineer from Lamborghini going to engineer pasta?! That's the end of it.' So he sold it all.