This year marks 50 years that Lamborghini has been building some of the most obscene, gorgeous and imaginative cars that exist. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see some of the projects that Lamborghini has boggled our minds with. We cannot explore every car they made because we don’t have time and, let’s face it they were not all “winners”. We will focus on the ones that made an impact. Not the type of impact a really good slice of pie makes after dinner. The type of impact that forces someone to finish school and be really successful just so they can afford one. The type of impact that makes other automotive designers hate their own designs.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was the son of Italian farmers who started his own tractor company. As a wealthy Italian he saw it fitting that he has a collection of these new Italian sports cars everyone was talking about. The problem was Ferruccio Lamborghini was not impressed with the performance, build quality or road handling of his Ferrari’s He made this known to Enzo Ferrari who essentially challenged him to build a better car, but not in a polite way.
Ferruccio was apparently not a person to be trifled with because he took Enzo up on his challenge and with the help of some outside engineers (some of whom developed the legendary Ferrari 250) went to work to build a 3 liter v12. The first car was the Lamborghini 350 GT. This car made its debut at the Turin auto show in 1963 and shocked the world. It was like nothing else on the road. This is the car that launched Lamborghini onto the world stage as an Italian exotic car manufacture. Built from 1964-1966.
The Miura was essentially sex on wheels. If you can pick your jaw up off the ground and tuck your tongue back in your mouth I will tell you more. This car had the first transverse mounted V12 engine (part of why it is so wide). Don’t think this is a big deal? This created the recipe for the modern super car. Mid-engine, high horsepower, low slung 2 seats. It was also the fastest car in the world when it was unveiled. A little known fact about the Miura is that Furruccio Lamborghini did not want to produce cars like that. A group of engineers who worked for him created it in their spare time. When they presented it to Furruccio he was livid that they had done this behind his back. When they unveiled it to the world, Lamborghini was left with no alternative but to build the car. built from 1966-1972.
The Miura was replaced by the Countach. This is the car that was on every kid’s wall growing up. This was the car that could never be built today because it seemed to violate so many laws of physics that it practically laughed at them. Parallel parking one is virtually impossible, it involves opening the door and sitting on the door sill to see the passenger back bumper. This is okay because everyone gets to see scissor doors! If you hit a pedestrian in it you would most likely strike them just above the ankles. The car was that low to the ground. Again, Lamborghini revolutionized the super car. The Countach introduced the wedge shape and forward cabin that became standard issue on so many other followers. This was the most radical car design of the time and quite possibly the most radical design ever. Built from 1974-1990, yes it was made for that long.
This was followed by the Lamborghini Diablo. These cars, like all Lamborghini’s are very wide, very low and very impressive. This was the first Lamborghini to have there nowtrademark all-wheel drive system installed (in the later model cars). You can judge a Lamborghini based on who owned them at the time. This effort was put forth while Lamborghini was operated by Chrysler. The money was flowing, as long as they could justify spending it. This car remained in production from 1990-2001. Unfortunately while the rest of the world got technically mature and savvy Lamborghini continued to build striking cars that were not much fun to drive or maneuver. The Diablo has been referred to as “the 200mph tank”. This was a name that was unfortunately quite fitting as these cars were very hard to handle and control. Produced from 1990-2001.
Volkswagen bought Lamborghini in 1998 and completely revamped operations of the company. No longer were the cars cobbled together by old men with no teeth using hammers in a ramshackle facility. No longer did they suffer from basic fit and finish issues. The electronics systems on the cars even started to work properly thanks to the new German owners.
The first new car to be developed during this time was the Murcielago, it was designed prior to the takeover but Volkswagen oversaw the initial build process. The Murcielago was introduced in 2001 with 572 HP standard all-wheel drive and yes, scissor doors. 2004 brought out the convertible and 2006 brought out the Murcielagoo LP640 with 640 horse power. Built from 2001-2010.
The first Lamborghini V12 developed in conjunction with Volkswagen is the Aventador. This car was built in a wind tunnel that Lamborghini bought in partnership with an airplane manufacture. You know these guys are serious when…… this car keeps the traditional Lamborghini recipe, scissor doors, low, wide, all-wheel drive, V12 with 690 HP but adds to it. The Aventador adds supreme aerodynamics, sophisticated drive and electrical systems and boutique building materials. The car is made up mostly of carbon fiber and other materials that are more sophisticated than your collection of rare ports and cheeses. Built from 2011 onward.
Lamborghini has come a long way from being a tractor manufacture with a hap-hazard car building team. They have been through their share of owners and had their share of setbacks. For all there trouble we thank them. I can’t think of a better car for a child to hang on their bedroom wall. Auto|One Group is always happy to discuss the merits of your favorite bull.