By Alf H. Hansen
Some work has been done to remove corrosion, mainly on the doors and rear boot. The amount of refabrication has been modest. However, a very thorough stripping job and preparation of the body before painting has been done. This will be quite evident when you study the body/paint firsthand.
Yes the factory researched the original specification of the car and, furthermore, the proper paint composition as used on the original car. Also, let their painters "rehearse" on the techniques required before doing the actual job given the difference to the paints of today. The result of this is extremely convincing - although perhaps not quite up to today's environmental thinking. Personally I think the result justifies the means.... For your information when I bought the car it was painted in "ferrari" red but this colour - Grigio S Vincent- is so much better. It manages to bring out the curvature of the design very differently from the red colour and also other colours I have seen on the 400GT. In this respect the combination of the exterior colour and interior surpassed my expectations. I believe it looks even better in real life than the impressions you get from the pictures.
PARTS & ACCESSORIES
In my mind, the factory has done an admirable job to achieve a result as close to the original as possible, or occasionally better (for example corrosion protection).... Other signs of this (as I recall from my conversations): The Weber carburetors have been back to Weber for a completed overhaul/restoration; the electricals have been cut all new as per original specifications; the steering wheel has gone back to the manufacturer for restoration (Nardi - I think it was) etc.
The engine block was replaced with a new one; I think this will be clear if you study the picture with the engine mounted on a pedestal (this involved the bottom part of the engine). Otherwise the engine is original and therefore the same engine number: 01115. However, the original scope already included major replacement of vital parts that the factory, based on experience, recommended replacing. The work involved a total disassembly of the engine. I was myself present at the factory to witness the status of the engine internals when disassembled, and the factory demonstrated to me why they recommended this investment in the engine. They measured out all vital dimension/parts, and demonstrated to me higher than ideal (although not unacceptably so) tolerances for the original liners - as an example. The materials for the engine revision amounted to a substantial part of the total cost. I can mention the replacement of liners; replacement of pistons; new seats and the engine is now prepared to run on unleaded fuel.
Yes the factory researched the original specification of the car and this is what you see today with the mixture of the tobacco and black for the dashboard/mid console. The interior represented a special challenge with a special treatment, and special leather different from today's type. The special treatment involved manual work to achieve the "pig" like appearance of the skin. For this purpose I was told they managed to get hold of the skilled craftsman doing this particular job at the time of manufacture in 1967. Another example of their impressive dedication to details.
New windows were an option but it was decided that use of the existing would be satisfactory. The windows have been polished with very good results. The window regulators work very smoothly.
The factory carried out road testing during the final stages of the work. Personally, I went down to the factory in June to take the car on the road for "acceptance" testing. I drove the car over some days in the area and basically found everything to be in excellent condition. I returned the car being extremely impressed with the quality of the car, the overall finish and, not least, the functionality of the car.
I did make two observations for the factory to look into: i) some noise from the drive shaft/axle when pushing (accelerating) the engine. I recall having the same phenomenon before the restoration and I suspect these noises belong to the technology of the 1960s (tolerances different from today's engineering/fabrication). ii) when driven the car for some hours and quing in city traffic the engine would occasionally not idle when stopping in a que. This could be avoided by gently pressing the accelerator when slowing down to stop. My test driving occurred during a heat wave bringing temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius so this obviously aggravated this condition - which could be observed on the water temp gauge. The factory is looking into this but when talking to their most experienced test driver, Valentino Balbino, he told me this was to be expected in conditions like that. However, I know the factory has installed higher capacity fans (the number 2 fan that is controlled manually) on other cars, but not sure if this was already done to my car.
Other than this I had no negative findings. Anyway, Valentino had been away for the period when road testing took place, but would test the car the week following my return of the car. The 400 GT2+2 happened to be the very first car Valentino started working with when joining Lamborghini so I think the car could not be in better hands for this purpose.
I have made several visits to the factory during the restoration period so I feel I have had a close monitoring of the entire process of which the factory has been completely open about, at all times. I am most impressed with their services and dedication to this work - something I am sure will benefit future owners of this special car.
Restoration Costs – A Rough Guide