Off radar

The fallen stars
Lamborghini Marzal

An authentic spaceship

Photo credit: Lamborghini, Wheelsage

The visionary Ferruccio Lamborghini, the brave Nuccio Bertone, the imaginative Marcello Gandini: in just in a few months in 1967, these three men created one of the most extraordinary cars in existence, the Lamborghini Marzal. Designed as an almost completely transparent spaceship, with the four passengers perfectly visible inside, it was built on the production Miura chassis, extended by 120 millimetres, and it was powered by a transversely mounted 2.0 litre inline-six engine. 

The incredible lightness that the hand of Marcello Gandini gives to the great four-seater sports car from Sant’Agata Bolognese. Note the contribution to the style given by the 30 slits of the rear louvres

No less revolutionary was the interior, with the four seats upholstered in a luminescent white leather and a hexagonal honeycomb theme on the dashboard that continues the same style present on the honeycombed rear louvres. Lamborghini wanted to amaze the world in his long-distance fight with Enzo Ferrari, and had none other than Prince Rainier of Monaco drive the Marzal with his beautiful wife Grace Kelly at his side on the opening lap of the 1967 Grand Prix. Bertone wanted to consolidate his already solid relationships with Lamborghini and invested his own money to build it. Gandini, a thoroughbred genius, did not set any limits to his imagination whatsoever, finding a truly outstanding harmony in such highly innovative lines. 

The generously elongated Miura monocoque chassis and the displacement of the engine behind the rear axle made this revolutionary sports car particularly roomy inside

The origin of the engine is a curious story in itself: a 12-cylinder Miura engine cut in half longitudinally that maintains the peculiar detail of the engine block being effectively merged with the transmission and differential. Its displacement was 1,965cc and it produced 175hp. The complexity of the construction, including the large gullwing doors that had to be raised and lowered like powerful wings and the difficulty of finding an industrial partner to supply the large, curved windows of the doors condemned this brilliant project to the role of a dream. However, it went on to inspire the Espada, which was simpler but conceptually similar in aesthetics. A work of art.

The hexagonal motif introduced by the Marzal dashboard became a recurring theme for Lamborghini and is still widely used to this day
The story behind the unique upholstering is a curious one: a silver-coloured leather found at a manufacturer of women’s clothing accessories was used. Magnificent but not very resistant. It was subsequently changed to another white-coloured type
The beautiful transversely mounted 6-cylinder in-line engine with 3 horizontal Weber carburettors is nothing more than half of the V12 engine from the Miura cut longitudinally
After its presentation at the 1967 Geneva Motor Show, the Marzal completed the opening lap of the Monaco Circuit, before the start of the Grand Prix, driven by Prince Rainier accompanied by his wife, Grace Kelly
The sense of lightness of the Marzal is confirmed by this image where the open hoods and doors show the simplicity of the interior