This is a big year for Italian automaker Lamborghini, which is celebrating a half century of creating some of the world's most sought-after exotic cars. The newest vehicle to wear the Raging Bull logo was the outrageous Veneno, which made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show last month. However, Lambo elected to turn back the clock for its participation at the annual Techno Classica World Collector Automobile Show being held this week in Essen, Germany, and display a pair of classics from its museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy -- including its very first production model.

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Introduced in 1964 at the London Auto Show, the Lamborghini 350 GT began the automaker's legacy. This elegant coupe featured an aluminum body crafted by Carrozzeria Touring as well as an aluminum-intensive fully independent suspension. Motivation came from an all-alloy 3.5-liter V12 that made 280 horsepower and drove the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission, allowing the 350 GT to hit a top speed of 155 mph. Later variants - known as 400 GTs -- were fitted with a 3.9-liter version of the engine that had the same horsepower but greater torque. By the time production of the 350/400 GT ended in 1966, a total of 120 of these cars had been built - including two 350 GTS Spyder models.

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Joining the 350 GT at Essen was the ultimate example of the automaker's first true supercar, the mid-engine Miura. It was manufactured from 1966 to 1972 in Miura P400, P400 S and P400 SV form, with the most-potent "Super Veloce" variant pictured here first rolling onto the scene in 1971. The P400 SV was fitted with a transversely-mounted 385-horsepower/3.9-liter V12 that drove the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission and could reach a top speed in excess of 180 mph. Only 150 Miura P400 SV models were built.

Lamborghini's "100 Years of Innovation in Half the Time" festivities culminate next month with the Lamborghini 50th Anniversary Grande Giro. Expected to draw over 300 Lambos from around the globe, this 745-mile excursion through the Italian peninsula will take place May 7-11. During that time, owners will drive their vehicles from Milan to Rome and then on to Bologna for a gala celebration at the factory facility in Sant'Agata.


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