Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. has always been among the leading company in automobile industry. They always try to bring a breath of fresh air into the market, especially with their latest models Lamborghini Huracan Performante and Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. But how did the company begin? How did they become the famous automobile company as they are now? Let’s find out!
1. The Beginning Lamborghini (1963 – 1964)
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. had quite an interesting beginning. Believe it or not, the company actually started as a tractor company. The company was founded by the man himself – Ferruccio Lamborghini after the World War 2. At first, they focused on producing tractor and later on, air-conditioning and heating systems. Eventually Ferruccio grew rich and took interest in luxury sports cars, including Ferrari. Not long after, he saw the technical flaws in his Ferrari and so, he decided to found a luxury sports car company named Automobili Lamborghini in 1963 in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.
The company quickly worked on their very first car – the 350GT; however, what they lacked was someone who had rich experienced in sports-car building. Interesting enough, they invited Giotto Bizzarrini – the former Ferrari engineer. Bizzarrini was also the creator of the engine which we now know as the Lamborghini V12. And so within 4 months, the very first Lambo: Lamborghini 350GTV was built within only 4 months, and thus, finally made it to 1963 Turin Motor Show. Soon after, the 350GT was developed and a total of 120 units were produced.
After the 350GT’s success, the company continued to develop the 400GT. The car got a number of changes compared to the previous 350GT, for example: Its engine was changed to a four-litre model with the very first Lamborghini-designed gearbox. The first 400GT model had a 2-seater body, and later on, there was an additional 400GT 4-seater model. Overall, the 400GT gained a great reputation with a total of 273 units produced.
2. The Birth of Lamborghini Miura (1965 – 1966)
Around 1965, Ferruccio’s 2 new freshmen Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani, along with Bob Wallace were in charge of creating a new 2-seater sports car called P400. At first, the company only considered the P400 as a marketing tool only. But when it was showcased in 1965 Turin Auto Show, Nuccio Bertone quickly saw the potential within this model, thus, he and Lamborghini decided to join hand to make it a reality.
Eventually, it was thanks to Marcello Gandini who made Bertone’s idea a reality. And so, the legendary Lamborghini Miura – Lamborghini’s first mid-engined two-seater – was born, a car of immense power, elegance, and potential. And for those who haven’t known why the name “Miura”, it was based on the name of one of the best fighting bulls – Miura. This Lamborghini’s tradition of naming car after famous fighting bulls also keeps carrying on even to this day.
Lamborghini Miura also had a few variant. The first Miuras equipped with a 350bhp 3.9-litre V-12 engine derived originated from the 400GT. Then in 1968 Turin Motor Show, Lamborghini presented a new variant Miura P400S featuring an increase of 370bhp @ 7000rpm in terms of power, optional air conditioning, and bright chrome trim around external windows. And last but not least, the P400SV (or Miura SV) was produced with an impressive 380bhp. In total, there were 764 Miuras were produced and sold, making the Miura among the most successful Lamborghini over the past years.
3. “The Sword of Lamborghini” (1967 – 1968)
Ever since the creation of the 350GT and especially the Miura, Lamborghini grew even stronger, leading to their new aim of going further and new evolution. And so the Lamborghini Islero GT, the direct successor to the 400GT, was born. The Islero GT (the name refers to the infamous Miura bull which killed the matador Manuel Rodriguez Manolete) possessed a powerful 325bhp 3.9-litre V-12 engine along with a 5-speed transmission and fully independent suspension and disk brakes. Despite the Islero GT being a great car itself, its sale was not exactly as good as Ferruccio expected with only 125 units sold in 1968 – 1969.
Fortunately, the brand new Lambo: Lamborghini Espada – a new product created by Marcello Gandini – succeeded where Islero GT did not. The Espada (which means “sword” in Spanish) featured a 325bhp raging 3.9-litre V-12 engine and Lamborghini’s first optional automatic transmission. The car was considered to be revolutionary, filled with completely new and original ideas. Thus, it was so successful that 1,217 units were built and sold.
4. Jarama, Urraco, and the Beginning of a Crisis (1969 – 1970)
Moving onto 1969 – 1970, Lamborghini continued to bring out a couple of new models, including the Jarama and the Urraco.
The Jarama was introduced in 1970 Turin Motor Show, featuring 2 variants: the 1970 350bhp GT and the 1973 365bhp GTS, both possessed the 3929cc V-12 engine.
Also in the same year, the company also revealed the Urraco which was a 2+2 mid-engined coupe. The car was supposed to be an affordable alternative to the Ferrari Dino and Maserati Merak. The model came with 3 variants: the Urraco P200 with a 180bhp 2.0-litre V-8 engine, the P250 with a 217bhp 2.5-litre V-8, and the P300 with a 247bhp 3.0-litre V-8. The Urraco was quite a success in overall with 791 units built, especially when 1973 was the start of an oil crisis.
Yet even before 1973, the global financial crisis already begun and just like many other companies, Lamborghini suffered a great deal. Due to the extreme financial troubles, Ferruccio ultimately decided to sell 51% of the company to his friend Georges-Henri Rossetti for for $600,000, which also means that Ferruccio giving up his ownership to the company.
5. Lamborghini Countach and The Financial Crisis (1971 – 1986)
This was indeed a dark time for Automobili Lamborghini. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, governments had to put restrictions on the fuel economy, thus damaging car sales. This led to Ferruccio final decision of selling his remaining 49% to Rene Leimer, a friend of Georges-Henri Rossetti, and spent the last times of his life in Perugia, Italy.
As for the company, in 1974 they officially released the Countach, featuring the traditional Lamborghini 370bhp 3929cc engine. In 1982 they brought out new Countach LP500S featuring a 4.8-litre V-12 engine with the same 370bhp and a 308lb-ft of torque. Then 3 years later, a 449bhp 5000QV variant was released with a max speed of 183mph and 0-60mph acceleration time of 4.9sec. There was also a special 25th-anniversary Countach launched in 1988. It had the same specs as the 5000QV, but with different styling.
Despite the Countach’s good reception, the company still became bankrupt in 1978 and they were under control of Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran, the two famous food-entrepreneur brothers, during its receivership. During this time, Lamborghini managed to release the Jalpa, which was aimed to compensate the failure of the Silhouette and also, a more affordable version of the Countach.
In 1980, the company was officially owned by Patrick Mimram as CEO and thus, underwent an extensive restructure. During this time, the company saw a brighter future with a number of highlights like the release of Countach Quattrovalvole or the carbon-fibre Countach Evoluzione concept. Even so, the company was later sold to Chrysler Corporation, but it also marked a new beginning for Lamborghini Automobili.
6. “Rise of the Diablo” (1987 – 1997)
After Lamborghini was sold to Chrysler Corporation in 1987, Chrysler chairman – Lee Iacocca – decided the company to focus on the premium sports car market and competing with the likes of Ferrari 328.
This time, they wanted to create a new road-car successor to the Countach. And as the result, what came out was the incredible Lamborghini Diablo which first presented in 1990 with a named taken from a fighting bull from 19th century. It was among the most powerful sports cars at the time with a 492bhp 5.7-litre 48-valve V-12 engine, an impressive 0-62mph acceleration record at 4.5sec, and an insane top speed of 202mph. In 1993, a new Diablo called Diablo VT (which means “Viscous Traction”) was released featuring 4-wheel drive system. And then in 1994, there was a special 523bhp Diablo SE30 which celebrated the Lamborghini’s 30th anniversary.
Although things went rather good for Lamborghini initially, the company was said to face a sale problem in 1992. And so, the company was sold once again to a company called MegaTech in 1994. This was quite a peculiar time for Lamborghini. But nonetheless, they did manage to build several Diablo variants like the 1995 SV or the SVR which created specifically for the championship.
7. Lamborghini’s New Dawn (1998 – Present)
It was not until 1998 that Automobili Lamborghini finally saw a new era. At this time, Ferdinand Piëch – the new chairman of Volkswagen AG – decided to buy not one, but three companies: Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini. This marked an opportunity for Lamborghini to restructure and furthermore, bring new renovation to the market.
Lamborghini Murcielago, Gallardo, and Reventon (2001 – 2010)
The first renovating move from the company was Lamborghini Murcielago, the new successor to the Diablo. The Murcielago gained much more power in overall with a 572bhp 6.2-litre V-12 engine and a 6-speed manual gearbox. Not only that, it was an one step above compared to the Diablo in all areas, including a whole better sensation and excellent finishing touches. Then there were an open-top Murcielago Roadster introduced in 2004, a LP 640 version in 2006, and a LP 670-4 SuperVeloce in 2009 with tremendous capability of 661bhp, a 0-60mph acceleration time of 2.8sec, and a top speed of 214mph.
Besides the Murcielago, Lamborghini also aimed at creating a high-performance sports car with every-day usability. The result was the Lamborghini Gallardo – a compact 2-seater with 513bhp Audi-derived 5.0-litre V-10 engine and all-wheel drive system. It is an incredible high-performance sports car which feels incredibly fun both on road and track. In 2005, the company also presented a Lamborghini Gallardo Special Edition (or Gallardo SE). The car gained a special two-tone body paint along with sportier interior and technical enhancements.
Then in 2007, Lamborghini introduced the Reventon – a special hypercar in which only 20 units were built and naturally, sold out rather quickly. The car featured an astounding max speed of 221mph and a hefty price tag of £840,000 (or $1.1 million at current exchange rates).
Lamborghini Aventador and Huracan (2011 – Present)
Coming to 2011, Lamborghini needed a new breath of fresh air to their line-up. And so, the company presented the two new-gen models to replace the old Murcielago and the Gallardo: Lamborghini Aventador and Lamborghini Huracan.
The first Aventador was debuted in 2011 Geneva Motor Show as the replacement for the Murcielago. The car was famous for its monstrous power; specifically it featured a new 700bhp 6.5-litre V12 engine, a mind-blowing 0-60mph acceleration time of 2.9sec, and an incredible 217mph of top speed. Later on, a number of Aventador variants were created with better powertrain and performance, including the Aventador Roadster, Aventador S, Aventador SV (which stands for “Super Veloce”), and the most recently – the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ which also comes with 63 special Aventador SVJ “63 Edition” units.
Other prominent Lamborghini of this present era is the Lamborghini Huracan which replaces the Gallardo. Unlike the Aventador which focuses more on absurd powertrain, the Huracan focuses more on its ride & handling. Yet similar to the Aventador, the Huracan also has a number of variants, including the Huracan Spyder and especially the 2017 Huracan Performante – a track-focused Huracan featuring a 631-hp 5.2-liter V-10 engine with 0-60mph acceleration capability of 2.9sec, a top speed of 218mph, and especially the company’s new aerodynamic system called Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA).
Of course aside from the Aventador and the Huracan, Lamborghini also has other unique cars. Notably the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster – an exclusive Lambo based on the original Aventador with an extremely expensive price tag of $4.5 million when it was first introduced, and the ultra-rare Lamborghini Sesto Elemento which only has 30 units built.
8. The Future of Lamborghini?
Hard to say. Judging by the Lamborghini Urus’s premiere, it is possible that Automobili Lamborghini tends to reach other segments; or SUV in this case. But one thing we can sure is that Lamborghini will always thrive to bring new innovations, especially when the world gets to see their latest ambitious plan: Lamborghini Terzo Millennio. The Terzo Millennio (or “Third Millennium” in English) represents Lamborghini’s ideal for future cars of 2020s. It is aimed to be an electric supercar with ability to… repair itself via nano-tubes? That sounds crazy indeed; nonetheless, one man can always dream for the better future.
And that’s it folks! What do you think about Lamborghini? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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