Lamborghini Marzal

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Lamborghini Marzal
1967 Lamborghini Marzal

The Lamborghini Marzal was a prototype concept car presented by Lamborghini at the 1967 Turin Motor Show.

Designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone, it was created to supply Ferruccio Lamborghini with a true four-seater car for his lineup which already included the 400GT 2+2 and the Miura. It was distinguished by amply glazed gullwing-doors and an equally amply louvered rear window. Propulsion was by a 2L Template:Auto bhp in-line six engine, actually a split-in-half version of Lamborghini's 4L V12, mated to a five speed transmission.

File:Lamborghini Marzal.jpg
Lamborghini Marzal

The Marzal remained a one-off, though the general shape and many of the ideas would go on to be used in the Espada. The Marzal design probably found wider recognition as a die-cast model by Matchbox, albeit in orange livery, although the original show car was painted in silver. This car was driven only once by Princess Grace and her husband as the Monaco Grand-Prix pace car the same year it was designed.

Exactly a year after stunning the world with the Miura, Bertone and Lamborghini returned to Geneva in 1967 with the equally stunning Marzal show car. Again styled by Marcello Gandini, the striking machine was to some extent a four-seater version of the mid-engined Miura but with dramatic new lines and a bespoke engine.

What the Marzal shared with the Miura was the box-section steel chassis that had been first shown to the public at the Turin show in 1965. The only real change was a slight increase of the wheelbase. Suspension was by double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers. British sourced Girling disc brakes were used on all four corners. The transverse five speed gearbox was also directly lifted from the Lamborghini supercar.

In order to make room for a second row of seats, the Marzal could not use the same V12 engine. Instead, Lamborghini's engineers fitted the prototype with a unique straight six. Displacing just under 2 litres, it was effectively the V12 cut in half. Breathing through three twin-choke Weber carburettors, the compact unit produced a very impressive 175 bhp. The engine was mounted behind the rear axle, angled forward 30 degrees for a better weight balance.

Named after a strain of fighting bull, the Marzal offered Bertone's new chief designer Marcello Gandini the first opportunity to fully step out of the shadow of Giorgietto Giugiaro, who still had had a hand in Gandini's earlier designs including the Miura. This was clearly reflected by the end result; the Marzal was a far more angular and futuristic design compared to the classically elegant Miura.

Thanks to the location and configuration of the engine, the overall design had nice proportions despite the addition of an extra row of seats. The car's most striking feature is the very airy cockpit with unusually large glass surfaces and huge gullwing doors. Feruccio Lamborghini reportedly was no fan of all this glass as it would 'offer no privacy: a lady's legs would there for all to see'. Bertone understandably developed an air-conditioning system specifically for the car.

The car's sharp lines are complemented by angular forms throughout the design. The nose, for example, sported six square headlights and the rear deck consisted of square aluminium slabs riveted together. The luxuriously appointed interior featured a sizeable dashboard and centre console dominated by hexagonal sections. The same theme is used throughout the cabin from the steering wheel centre and the seat cushions.

After its Geneva debut, the Marzal was famously demonstrated by Prince Rainier during the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix. The show car received universal acclaim and in 1968 the exterior design was used for the V12-powered Espada 2+2 GT. This did use a more conventional front-engined layout and as a result the six cylinder engine was not used again. The Marzal was also the popular subject of several die-cast and model kits.

Bertone retained the spectacular show car and only brought it out for special occasions. Unfortunately the company's recent financial difficulties have forced the Italian coach-builder to sell some of its most iconic machines. The Marzal will be offered in RM's Villa d'Este auction on May 21st. It has a pre-sale estimate of EUR 1 - 1.8 million ex 20% VAT.

Article by Wouter Melissen, last updated on May 18, 2011

Lamborghini Models
Current models: Reventón | Murciélago LP640 | Murciélago LP640 Roadster | Murcielago Spider | Gallardo | Gallardo Spyder

Historic models: Miura | Countach | Diablo | Espada | Silhouette | Jalpa | 350GT | 400GT | Islero | Jarama | LM002 | Urraco

Concept models: Athon | Bravo | Cala | Cheetah | Concept S | Flying Star II | 3500GTZ | Genesis | LM001 | LM003 | LM004 | LMA002 | Marco Polo | Marzal | Miura Concept | Portofino | Raptor

Owned Group:Volkswagen | Audi | SEAT | Škoda | Bentley | Bugatti | Lamborghini

Lamborghini road car timeline
Type 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Owner Ferruccio Lamborghini Rossetti/Leimer receivership Mimram Chrysler M'tec/V'Power Audi
2+2 400GT Islero Jarama
Coupé Espada
RMR V8/V10 Silhouette Jalpa Gallardo
2+2 Urraco
V12 Miura Countach Diablo Murciélago
Supercar Reventón

Bertone Designs
Abarth: 1952 Abarth 1500 Coupé | 1958 Abarth 1000 GT Coupé | 1965 Abarth OT 1000 Spider

Alfa Romeo: 1953 Alfa Romeo BAT-5 | 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport Spider | 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva | 1954 Alfa Romeo BAT-7 | 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint | 1955 Alfa Romeo BAT-9 | 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale | 1962 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo GTA | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale | 1964 Alfa Romeo Canguro | 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior | 1967 Alfa Romeo Montreal | 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo | 1976 Alfa Romeo Navajo | 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta | 1980 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000 | 1983 Alfa Romeo Delfino | 2003 Alfa Romeo GT
ASA: 1962 ASA Coupé
Bertone: 1970 Bertone Berlinetta | 1992 Bertone Blitz | 2003 Bertone Birusa
Ferrari: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso | 1974 Ferrari 208/308 GT4 | 1976 Ferrari Rainbow
Fiat: 1967 Fiat Dino Coupé | 1968 Fiat 850Sport Spider | 1978 Fiat Ritmo/Strada | Fiat X1/9
ISO: 1962 Iso Rivolta | 1965 Iso Grifo | 1969 Iso Lele
Lamborghini: 1967 Lamborghini Marzal | 1967 Lamborghini Miura | 1968 Lamborghini Espada | 1970 Lamborghini Urraco | 1971 Lamborghini Countach | 1974 Lamborghini Bravo | 1980 Lamborghini Athon | 1988 Lamborghini Genesis | 1990 Lamborghini Diablo
Lambretta: 1968 Lambretta Luna line: Lui, Vega & Cometa | 1969 Lambretta GP/DL Scooter
Lancia: 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero | 1972 Lancia Stratos | 1978 Lancia Sibilo
Maserati: 1972 Maserati Khamsin | 1974 Maserati Quattroporte II