• Year of manufacture 
  • Mileage 
    46 089 mi / 74 174 km
  • Car type 
  • Reference number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Location
    United Kingdom
  • Exterior colour 


Chassis number 1141 was one of the four cars imported into the UK by the concessionaires of the time - Mitchell & Britten. Registered as SLF 406F in period - it displays the same plate today. Old log books when researched by a previous owner, showed its first registered owner address as Abbey Road Studios in February 1968. The car was photographed outside an office in London where Paul McCartney was known to be and you can see it for a microsecond in A Hard Days Night, has led to the car being previously with his ownership. In fact Paul McCartney's ownership of this car is referred to in 'Lamborghini Supreme Amongst Exotics', by Andrew Moreland, Osprey 1985, 'Lamborghini' by Chris Harvey, Multimedia Books 1994 and 'Lamborghini The Legend' by David Hodges, Parragon, 1997. Although both Bonhams and RM Sotheby's referred to this car at previous auctions with McCartney ownership and the previous owner acquired the car at the Bonhams sale as the ex-Sir Paul McCartney car, we have not been able to definitively state this to be factual. 

Whilst we are researching it's earlier life we do know that John Menhinick acquired the car in 1972 and it was used as a daily driver for some time, also by his wife for shopping duties. John's son recently visited the car with another ex owner Michael Hipperson and there is more history to come. The car features in legendary car collector Michael Hipperson's book - "Let them stare" where he recounts he acquired the car in 1979 from a vast ivy clad house near Dunmow in Essex. The asking price was £6000 and Michael sealed the deal for £5000. He found the log book referring to Abbey Road Studios and a few weeks later sold it to another car collector - Nic Portway. Nic kept the car for 10 years, selling it for £70,000 at the height of the then classic car boom. Suffering sellers remorse and appreciating the opportunity afforded by the turbulent economic climate at the time, in 1996 he bought the car back for a mere £35,000. Nic is still going strong today at 82 and remembers the car fondly during his lengthy ownership periods. Apart from an early change of colour to a wine red livery, the car remained in exceptionally original condition. During this ownership it was always taxed and MoT'd and properly maintained. The gearbox was completely rebuilt in 1988 and in 1994 the rear suspension was rebuilt. From 1996 he covered just 800 miles in 1141 and sold it at the Bonhams Goodwood auction to the previous owner in 2011 for £122,000.

The next owner shipped the 400 GT 2+2 to Hong Kong where it resided in a climate-controlled showroom within Lamborghini Hong Kong. Cherished and impeccably maintained the largely original car returned to the UK where it has undergone some light restoration including a superb colour change to ensure it drives as well it looks. Today it is accompanied today by an assortment of bills, period sales brochures, a reproduction parts manual and a logbook.

Whilst this supremely elegant GT would present a superb ownership proposition today, to simply enjoy the exhileration of experiencing the turbine smooth V12, there is also the tantalising prospect of further researching the car's fascinating early ownership provenance and see if Sir Paul McCartney did indeed own or drive this stylish GT...

Thanks to Michael Hipperson for information - buy his fantastic book which features #1141 "Let them stare - www.letthemstare.co.uk - proceeds to a great charity

Thanks to Phil at Auto Italia who kindly allowed us to reproduce an article by Peter Collins which is also shown in the document section.

Lamborghini 400GT by Peter Collins - www.auto-italia.co.uk

It's a long stretch, unacceptable by the ergonomic and safety standards of today, but it doesn't take much to imagine one of the most valuable left hands in the world moving across this car from the delightfully slim woodrim steering wheel to the Blaupunkt radio and switching on to listen to Radio Caroline broadcasting what the competition were up to in 1968. The hand belonged to Paul McCartney. 

This car was Paul's first Lamborghini. It has been on film before, visible parked in the street below the Apple building in a scene from the Beatles' retrospective film seen recently on television. It was red then but as can be seen is now metallic claret, complemented by a beige interior.

Along with Giugiaro, Ing. Dallara's name probably crops up more times than most in contemporary Italian automotive design history and it was he who oversaw the project which resulted in the Lamborghini 400GT which we feature here. 

After the initial excess of the Scaglione designed prototype Lamborghini 350GTV, which first appeared at the Turin Show in 1963, Touring was approached to produce a more practical body, with less of the 'Dan Dare' style, and this went into production as the first series Lamborghini. These first cars were all fitted with a Bizzarrini designed 3.5-litre V12, with a few of the last ones being fitted with a 4-litre version. But somehow Ferruccio wasn't really satisfied as he had always wanted a 2+2.

This led to him commissioning Touring to come up with the goods, with the result being what we see here. At first glance it would be easy to dismiss it as a 350GT with rear seats but, in fact, Carlo Anderloni's team left not a single panel unchanged.

That this is a practical '2+2' GT car is evident upon opening the door to gain access to the rear seats; a touch on a chromed lever sends the front seat forward and lowers the backrest in one effortless spring-loaded movement.

Time to move off. The V12 started easily and settled down to a happy idle for some time in the heat of a summer's morning, so I was expecting some stumbling or hesitancy and the need for extra revs to get the car on the move. Not a bit of it, a touch on the throttle and away we went, smoothly and with no hassle - difficult to believe that just ahead of you are twelve cylinders, six double-choke Webers and four overhead camshafts, enough to produce 320bhp at 6,500 rpm. Taking stock, a glance at the instruments reveals oil and water temperature, ammeter and fuel gauge in four small round central dials, with speedometer and rev counter flanking the oil-pressure gauge in front of the driver. The less said about the switchgear the better, most of the toggles seem to have been located at random, probably after a lunch involving local grape products!

Clutch and gearbox weights are a surprise with none of the muscle-man physique required to operate them, even in London traffic. Surprisingly, Lamborghini even fitted synchromesh to reverse gear on their boxes which featured five forward speeds. After a prolonged period of maneuvering for photography in very hot conditions, second gear felt a little notchy to engage; Henry Manney writing in Road & Track found the same thing in his first 350GT test, but this was nothing a blast out of town to bring the temperatures down couldn't cure.
It takes a remarkably short time to settle in and soon you feel at home, confidently moving the car through traffic, helped by responsive steering and that friendly gearbox and powerful brakes. Luckily this is one of just five 400GTs to have been fitted with right-hand drive, two of which are now in the USA. It is almost as if it is saying to you. "Don't worry, I may be a supercar, but I'm on your side". Much of this feeling of confidence comes from the practicalities of the car, the windscreen and the rest of the glass area allow a panoramic view of what's going on all around you. The pillars are slim and the high cockpit roof designed by Touring to accommodate the rear seat passengers allows for superb all round visibility.
By now it is clear that this is a sophisticated, docile car with easy road manners, yet one which, when you fully depress the throttle, takes off with a relentless push in the back reined in only by the desire not to have your photograph taken and studied by the country's finest. The noise that accompanies this urge is a tingling howl which inexorably rises until it is time to shift up a gear for a repeat performance. Of course, it is necessary to repeat this exercise as often as possible.

This car has recently had its wishbone and coil suspension rebuilt and the ride is of 90's quality, with little bump thump. Henry Manney described it as being, "steady as a rock at 135mph when most cars would be gamboling like a spring lamb", but the previously mentioned elegantly slim steering wheel must not be gripped, rather just rested between the fingers - the car does the rest.

Returning the car, I switched off and, taking a moment to reflect, remembered once again that I was looking down the same, long, bonnet of the car that had endeared itself to Paul McCartney nearly thirty years ago, enough to make him purchase subsequent products from Sant'Agata. Did it have the same impact on me . . . yeah! yeah! yeah! yeah!