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It is often said that every man ought to experience owning a V12 at some point in his life. Not that there are that many marques with V12 engines in their line-up, but a friend of mine has further narrowed it down by saying that this V12 should of course be a Lamborghini. And then there’s another close friend of mine who claims that real men obviously drive four-door classics. But if you were to adhere to both of this good advice, you would invariably leave yourself in a bit of a tight spot, as Lamborghini have only ever produced a single four door GT.

The only four-door Lamborghini Grand Tourer was built in 1978, and was furthermore only intended to be a prototype. Of course, Lamborghini already got their four-seater way back in 1968 with the Espada, and for a long time that was regarded as plenty of practicality for the Raging Bull. But then for the Torino exhibition in 1978 they decided that they wanted to show a car with not just four seats, but also four doors. Pietro Frua was given the project – and not least an Espada from 1970 to base it on.

Faena was introduced in 1978 at the Torino exhibition…

Eight months later Frua had the Faena (again something from the world of bull fighting, as tradition would have it) ready, and it was humungous. The Espada upon which it was based already seated four adults, so quite why the Faena ended up measuring 5.5 meters in length and an equally massive 1.9 meters in width is frankly beyond me. But it only stood 1.25 meters tall, all of which resulted in some rather impressive dimensions – not to mention precense.

…and while it was merely a prototype, it was also fully functioning. Later it was in fact even road registered.

Even so, I personally can’t quite come to terms with the whole design. Especially the rear is unnecessarily messy. The very flat front is debatable as well, but at least this was generally deemed modern during the late seventies. But yes, it did at least have those four doors. It’s just not particularly well-balanced nor very coherent. All of which is really a little odd considering that the Espada was really very well suited for a four-door conversion. Bertone had in fact created a few sketches where he remained true to the Espadas original lines, but added rear doors to the concept. At least on paper, it all worked remarkably well.

Bertone’s suggestion for a proper four-door car based on the Espada, looks very much like a – surprise! – an Espada! And that’s not a bad thing either.

As already mentioned, they never produced more than this one example, and the Faena is still the only proper 4-door Grand Tourer from Lamborghini. Yes, there was of course the insane desert monster: LM002. Probably the most bizarre Lamborghini ever, but you can hardly call it a GT. It’s also such a thoroughly mind-boggling automobile, that four doors or not, I choose to discard it for now, as it surely deserves a full story for itself.

The Faena still lives to this day, and occasionally appears at various high-profile events and exhibitions. I would love to see it in the flesh – if nothing else just to evaluate 5.5 meters of Lamborghini. Yet I have no doubt that I would ultimately prefer the Espada. What is your verdict?

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5 Responses

  1. Morten Kragh-Mortensen
    Hmm. Maybe I was a bit Harsh on that white leather interior the other day Claus??
    Is this a bit more cream than white??
    I prefer the Ferrari 400 with the 2 doors.
    Monti.
    Reply
  2. Anders Bilidt
    It’s intriguing – no doubt. And also somewhat brash. Oh, and HUGE!
    I can’t help but like it just because if its obscurity.
    Yet it’s hardly a pretty or stylish car, and Bertone’s efforts sticking largely with the Espada styling seems much more coherent.

    To be honest, if I could have my pick of large luxurious 4-door GT saloons, I would no doubt choose either a Lagonda Rapide, a Maserati Quattroporte series 1 or maybe the aeronautical and rather funky Bristol 405, either of which is really much more appealing…

    Reply
  3. Tony Wawryk
    I’m not sure about 4 door coupes – it seems a contradiction in terms. If I want a coupe, I want a 2-door. However, they have seen something of a revival in recent years – the Panamera, BMW’s 4 and 6 series Gran Coupes, and the car that revived the concept, the MB CLS. Oh, and not forgetting the Mazda RX8. Some work visually – the new (but definitely not the original!) Panamera, and both BMWs, but among the classics, only the 60s Maserati Quattroporte – which is far more stylish than it’s modern counterpart – really works for me. Incidentally, in which other language would “Four Door” sound exotic?? Jaguar Four Door? Nope. Porsche Vier Türig? Nope again. Even Citroen Quatre Portes – not quite. But Maserati Quattroporte – oh yes…
    Reply
  4. The Real Stig
    What a beautiful car.
    If you remove the rear glass part, you have the profile of an AM Lagonda.
    It also has some resemblance with Giugiaro’s Maserati Medici.

    Reply
  5. costas
    Classic seventies wedge design with plenty of glass; I love it. Lambo should have produced it exactly as it was designed, in small numbers and to exceptionally high spec. It would have been a mistake to produce a 4 door Espada and I think there was room for both in the lineup.
    Reply

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