Automotive

50 years of the Raging Bull: A Lamborghini retrospective

Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of creating some of the world's most outrageous automobiles
Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of creating some of the world's most outrageous automobiles
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The 350 GTV, first of the first Lamborghinis, was introduced to the world at the Turin Auto Show in the fall of 1963
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The 350 GTV, first of the first Lamborghinis, was introduced to the world at the Turin Auto Show in the fall of 1963
350 GTV interior was ready to go for the Turin Show but since the engine didn't fit they stuffed the bay with ceramic tiles to give the impression of weight
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350 GTV interior was ready to go for the Turin Show but since the engine didn't fit they stuffed the bay with ceramic tiles to give the impression of weight
In 1966 Lamborghini stunned the world with the first supercar, the Miura; a ground-breaking mid-engined design with killer bodywork by Marcello Gandini from Bertone
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In 1966 Lamborghini stunned the world with the first supercar, the Miura; a ground-breaking mid-engined design with killer bodywork by Marcello Gandini from Bertone
Body by Franco Scaglione, built by Carrozzeria Sargiotto, with Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini completing out the 350 GTV's tube frame
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Body by Franco Scaglione, built by Carrozzeria Sargiotto, with Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini completing out the 350 GTV's tube frame
Beautifully futuristic styling, retaining Italian design details made the 350 GTV an instant hit at its debut showing in 1963
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Beautifully futuristic styling, retaining Italian design details made the 350 GTV an instant hit at its debut showing in 1963
Ferruccio Lamborghini on hand to introduce the 350 GTV way back in 1963 when I too was introduced to adoring fans
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Ferruccio Lamborghini on hand to introduce the 350 GTV way back in 1963 when I too was introduced to adoring fans
350 GT (successor to the GTV / 1964 – 1966) featured a 3.5 litre V12 engine capable of 320 hp and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph)
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350 GT (successor to the GTV / 1964 – 1966) featured a 3.5 litre V12 engine capable of 320 hp and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph)
350 GTV 3.5 litre, V12 engine, courtesy of former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, initially produced 342 hp but was later detuned to 270 hp for production
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350 GTV 3.5 litre, V12 engine, courtesy of former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, initially produced 342 hp but was later detuned to 270 hp for production
The 350 GT coupe saw only 120 models made by Carrozzeria Touring before production ceased in 1966
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The 350 GT coupe saw only 120 models made by Carrozzeria Touring before production ceased in 1966
Successor to the 350 GT, the 400 GT 2+2 (1966 – 1968 ) was powered by an upgraded 4.0 liter V12 with 320 HP and a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph)
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Successor to the 350 GT, the 400 GT 2+2 (1966 – 1968 ) was powered by an upgraded 4.0 liter V12 with 320 HP and a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph)
Only 250 examples of the 400 GT were created by Carrozzeria Touring, but with a restyled, roomier interior for a proper 2+2 experience (nice 400s list out in the $400k USD range today)
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Only 250 examples of the 400 GT were created by Carrozzeria Touring, but with a restyled, roomier interior for a proper 2+2 experience (nice 400s list out in the $400k USD range today)
Weighing a mere 980 kg (2160 lbs) for the early models, and only 1245 kgs (2744 lbs) for the S/SV versions, the Miura delivered an impressive power-to-weight ratio
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Weighing a mere 980 kg (2160 lbs) for the early models, and only 1245 kgs (2744 lbs) for the S/SV versions, the Miura delivered an impressive power-to-weight ratio
Miura S, powered by a mid-engined 4.0 liter V12, produced 370 hp and a top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph)
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Miura S, powered by a mid-engined 4.0 liter V12, produced 370 hp and a top speed of 285 km/h (177 mph)
Between 1966 -1969, 275 examples of the 350 hp Miura were made, wasn't until 1969 that it evolved into the 370 HP Miura S
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Between 1966 -1969, 275 examples of the 350 hp Miura were made, wasn't until 1969 that it evolved into the 370 HP Miura S
Miura Roadster made its 1968 debut with standard 1960s models as visual aids, today the Miura can fetch anywhere from $600k to $1 million US dollars
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Miura Roadster made its 1968 debut with standard 1960s models as visual aids, today the Miura can fetch anywhere from $600k to $1 million US dollars
Ferruccio Lamborghini was initially very skeptical about the success of the Miura, producing only limited numbers of the first model
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Ferruccio Lamborghini was initially very skeptical about the success of the Miura, producing only limited numbers of the first model
Like most Lamborghinis, the Miura was named after a particularly nasty, yet revered Spanish fighting bull
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Like most Lamborghinis, the Miura was named after a particularly nasty, yet revered Spanish fighting bull
Miura's unique powertrain configuration would see the V12 placed transversely behind the driver, meaning the gas tank went up front
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Miura's unique powertrain configuration would see the V12 placed transversely behind the driver, meaning the gas tank went up front
Miura door detail was not only aesthetically cool but helped with aerodynamics (visual note: head on, with both doors open, the Miura looks like a bat ... true story)
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Miura door detail was not only aesthetically cool but helped with aerodynamics (visual note: head on, with both doors open, the Miura looks like a bat ... true story)
Miura's signature headlight eyelash treatment, takes visual cues from the hood, door pillar and engine bay
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Miura's signature headlight eyelash treatment, takes visual cues from the hood, door pillar and engine bay
Vents over the engine bay were added shortly after the initial design to provide adequate cooling for the V12
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Vents over the engine bay were added shortly after the initial design to provide adequate cooling for the V12
Miura Jota (yota), designed by test driver Bob Wallace, was a one-off, hi-performance, racebred version of the Miura with significant bodywork, interior, engine and suspension modifications
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Miura Jota (yota), designed by test driver Bob Wallace, was a one-off, hi-performance, racebred version of the Miura with significant bodywork, interior, engine and suspension modifications
Styling by Bertoni, the Miura's sculptural body lines made it one of the most iconic supercars of the era
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Styling by Bertoni, the Miura's sculptural body lines made it one of the most iconic supercars of the era
Miura SV, powered by a more powerful 4.0 liter V12, produced 385 hp and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
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Miura SV, powered by a more powerful 4.0 liter V12, produced 385 hp and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
Ferruccio on hand, showing off the Miura at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show
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Ferruccio on hand, showing off the Miura at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show
Produced from 1968–78, the Espada's 4.0 litre V12 engine developed between 325/350 hp and was capable of 260 km/h (161 mph)
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Produced from 1968–78, the Espada's 4.0 litre V12 engine developed between 325/350 hp and was capable of 260 km/h (161 mph)
Even though the Espada was promoted as family friendly, it still retained Lamborghini's signature performance characteristics and was the company's best revenue generator in the 70s
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Even though the Espada was promoted as family friendly, it still retained Lamborghini's signature performance characteristics and was the company's best revenue generator in the 70s
Espada's proportions were a tad wonky as a result of a low waistline, greenhouse-glass cockpit treatment and a voluminous butt for transporting luggage
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Espada's proportions were a tad wonky as a result of a low waistline, greenhouse-glass cockpit treatment and a voluminous butt for transporting luggage
Produced as a true 2+2 sports car, the Espada could comfortably hold four while retaining signature Lamborghini elements (1227 examples produced)
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Produced as a true 2+2 sports car, the Espada could comfortably hold four while retaining signature Lamborghini elements (1227 examples produced)
Thing of beauty, one of the last of Lamborghini's front-engined models the Espada remains a very usable everyday driver to this day
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Thing of beauty, one of the last of Lamborghini's front-engined models the Espada remains a very usable everyday driver to this day
Ferruccio's success came from selling tractors in the fifties
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Ferruccio's success came from selling tractors in the fifties
Produced from 1968/ 69 the 4.0 litre V12 Islero pushed out 350 hp and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) or 260 km/h for the S version260 km/h
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Produced from 1968/ 69 the 4.0 litre V12 Islero pushed out 350 hp and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) or 260 km/h for the S version260 km/h
After Carrozzeria Touring closed in 1968, Lamborghini entrusted the making of the GT bred Islero to Touring’s former designer, Mario Marazzi
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After Carrozzeria Touring closed in 1968, Lamborghini entrusted the making of the GT bred Islero to Touring’s former designer, Mario Marazzi
With sales canibalized by the Miura only 155 examples of the Islero were made, with the Islero S seeing only 70 hit the road
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With sales canibalized by the Miura only 155 examples of the Islero were made, with the Islero S seeing only 70 hit the road
Ferruccio Lamborghini, one of Italy's greatest entrepreneurial spirits, was born 1916 on a farm in Renazzo di Cento near Modena with a penchant for mechanics and performance
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Ferruccio Lamborghini, one of Italy's greatest entrepreneurial spirits, was born 1916 on a farm in Renazzo di Cento near Modena with a penchant for mechanics and performance
With a body by Marcello Gandini, the Urraco (72-79) was a 2+2 coupé intended to be an economical alternative to select Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches
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With a body by Marcello Gandini, the Urraco (72-79) was a 2+2 coupé intended to be an economical alternative to select Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches
3 versions of the Urraco were built, with V8 engines of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre displacement, developed power of 182, 220, and 250 hp respectively (top speed of 220-250 km/h)
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3 versions of the Urraco were built, with V8 engines of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 litre displacement, developed power of 182, 220, and 250 hp respectively (top speed of 220-250 km/h)
Carrying more than a little Espada in its design, the Urraco was better proportioned, with just a hint of De Tomaso in its lines
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Carrying more than a little Espada in its design, the Urraco was better proportioned, with just a hint of De Tomaso in its lines
Ferruccio, who's office purposely overlooked the plant, was constantly on the shop floor overseeing quality control, manufacturing, design and production
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Ferruccio, who's office purposely overlooked the plant, was constantly on the shop floor overseeing quality control, manufacturing, design and production
Produced from 1970-76 the Jarama used Lamborghini's 4.0 litre V12 as a power source, that delivered 350 - 365 hp, and a top speed of 260 km/h (161 mph)
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Produced from 1970-76 the Jarama used Lamborghini's 4.0 litre V12 as a power source, that delivered 350 - 365 hp, and a top speed of 260 km/h (161 mph)
According to Lamborghini, the Jarama was geared towards the “gentleman” driver as an ideal mix of elegance and power
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According to Lamborghini, the Jarama was geared towards the “gentleman” driver as an ideal mix of elegance and power
Named for the Jarama bullfighting region in Spain, the Jarama borrowed linear design cues from the likes of UK manufacturers, Aston Martin and Jensen
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Named for the Jarama bullfighting region in Spain, the Jarama borrowed linear design cues from the likes of UK manufacturers, Aston Martin and Jensen
Jarama saw two versions built in its 6 year run; 176 regular and 152 Jarama S, the latter had power steering, interior updates, body mods and removable roof panels
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Jarama saw two versions built in its 6 year run; 176 regular and 152 Jarama S, the latter had power steering, interior updates, body mods and removable roof panels
The successor to the Urraco, and obvious forerunner to the Countach, Lamborghini's Silhouette shows where the angular influences really started to take shape
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The successor to the Urraco, and obvious forerunner to the Countach, Lamborghini's Silhouette shows where the angular influences really started to take shape
With a body by Bertone the Silhouette could run to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in about 6.8 seconds and 100 mph (161 km/h) in 16.1 seconds
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With a body by Bertone the Silhouette could run to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in about 6.8 seconds and 100 mph (161 km/h) in 16.1 seconds
Silhouette saw production from 1976-79 (55 examples), used a rear mounted 3.0 litre V8, capable of 250 hp and 260 km/h (161 mph) top speed
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Silhouette saw production from 1976-79 (55 examples), used a rear mounted 3.0 litre V8, capable of 250 hp and 260 km/h (161 mph) top speed
Peace, or two more Whiskey Sours, or I just sold two Miura, we'll never know for sure, but Ferruccio did excel not only in engineering but also marketing and PR related affairs
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Peace, or two more Whiskey Sours, or I just sold two Miura, we'll never know for sure, but Ferruccio did excel not only in engineering but also marketing and PR related affairs
Ah the Countach, the car that made Lamborghini a young mans must-have poster in the late 70s & 80s, was a serious 375 horsepowered flying wedge of a thing
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Ah the Countach, the car that made Lamborghini a young mans must-have poster in the late 70s & 80s, was a serious 375 horsepowered flying wedge of a thing
Countach interior was made for smaller Italian proportioned gentlemen, with large legs in which to engage the overtly strenuous clutch system
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Countach interior was made for smaller Italian proportioned gentlemen, with large legs in which to engage the overtly strenuous clutch system
Countach, roughly translates to "holy shit" in Italian ... fitting since piloting the car for the first time would cause most to cry out the aforementioned phrase
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Countach, roughly translates to "holy shit" in Italian ... fitting since piloting the car for the first time would cause most to cry out the aforementioned phrase
Countach' flying V-doors, windows that didn't really open, ingress/egress that was highly yogic, never before seen design cues and a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h) made the holy-shit machine genuinely enigmatic
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Countach' flying V-doors, windows that didn't really open, ingress/egress that was highly yogic, never before seen design cues and a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h) made the holy-shit machine genuinely enigmatic
There's more futuristic styling and functional ventwork happening on a Countach than on any Space Shuttle
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There's more futuristic styling and functional ventwork happening on a Countach than on any Space Shuttle
Countach, considered Lamborghini's key product during the 80s & 90s was produced in various iterations from 1974 until 1990
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Countach, considered Lamborghini's key product during the 80s & 90s was produced in various iterations from 1974 until 1990
The Jalpa, a direct response to Ferrari's 308, actually did better than expected, selling 420 pieces during its run from 1981-88
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The Jalpa, a direct response to Ferrari's 308, actually did better than expected, selling 420 pieces during its run from 1981-88
Jalpa interior was still very much Lamborghini cramped but improved from its predecessor
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Jalpa interior was still very much Lamborghini cramped but improved from its predecessor
Jalpa's removable roof section gave the car an open air personality without overly compromising structural integrity
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Jalpa's removable roof section gave the car an open air personality without overly compromising structural integrity
Jalpa, successor to the Silhouette, used a 3.5 litre V8 as its powersource, giving it 250 hp/230 lb.ft of torque and a top speed of 248 km/h (154 mph)
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Jalpa, successor to the Silhouette, used a 3.5 litre V8 as its powersource, giving it 250 hp/230 lb.ft of torque and a top speed of 248 km/h (154 mph)
Lamborghini's LM SUV, an obvious predecessor to the Hummer, saw production from 1986-92 with only 301 examples finding their way into select carports ie. the King of Morocco
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Lamborghini's LM SUV, an obvious predecessor to the Hummer, saw production from 1986-92 with only 301 examples finding their way into select carports ie. the King of Morocco
LM's overt everything appealed to oil-barrons, kings, movie stars and select racers for its outrageous individuality and performance characteristics
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LM's overt everything appealed to oil-barrons, kings, movie stars and select racers for its outrageous individuality and performance characteristics
Employing a Countach's 5.2 liter, 444 horsepower V12 up front, the LM002 could reach speeds of 210 km/h (130 mph) but was never successful as an off-road racer
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Employing a Countach's 5.2 liter, 444 horsepower V12 up front, the LM002 could reach speeds of 210 km/h (130 mph) but was never successful as an off-road racer
Hummer H1 perhaps ... despite the LM's obvious leanings, it never saw the light of day as a military vehicle
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Hummer H1 perhaps ... despite the LM's obvious leanings, it never saw the light of day as a military vehicle
los Diablo (1993–2000) featured a 5.7-litre mid-mounted V12 developing 492 hp and a top speed of 325 km/h (202 mph) ... 529 were made
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los Diablo (1993–2000) featured a 5.7-litre mid-mounted V12 developing 492 hp and a top speed of 325 km/h (202 mph) ... 529 were made
Diablo's styling by Marcello Gandini was clearly Countach influenced, but also had premonitions of Gallardo in critical areas
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Diablo's styling by Marcello Gandini was clearly Countach influenced, but also had premonitions of Gallardo in critical areas
Diablo's interior options retained decor influences from the 80s
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Diablo's interior options retained decor influences from the 80s
Following Diablos upped the ante with a 640 hp racing engine in the GT2, and a 575 hp GT became the fastest sports car of the time (1999) with a top speed of 383 km/h (238 mph) (GTR shown)
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Following Diablos upped the ante with a 640 hp racing engine in the GT2, and a 575 hp GT became the fastest sports car of the time (1999) with a top speed of 383 km/h (238 mph) (GTR shown)
Aerial view of the Diablo's V12, 48 valved mid-mounted power device
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Aerial view of the Diablo's V12, 48 valved mid-mounted power device
The Dark Knight Rises vehicle of choice, the Aventador LP 700-4, was introduced in 2011, and replaced the outgoing Murcielago
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The Dark Knight Rises vehicle of choice, the Aventador LP 700-4, was introduced in 2011, and replaced the outgoing Murcielago
Aventador LP700 Roadster (2012) features a two-piece removable carbon fiber roof employing RTM and Forged Composite technologies while weighing less than 6 kg (13.2 lbs)
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Aventador LP700 Roadster (2012) features a two-piece removable carbon fiber roof employing RTM and Forged Composite technologies while weighing less than 6 kg (13.2 lbs)
Aventador Roadster's engine cover differs from the coupe because of the central spinal column with hexagonal windows that helps with engine cooling and water drainage
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Aventador Roadster's engine cover differs from the coupe because of the central spinal column with hexagonal windows that helps with engine cooling and water drainage
Aventador J (the J is for Jezuz!) introduced in 2012 is another AWD, carbon fibered breakfast cereal that again exposes the company's predilection for composite materials and angular design
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Aventador J (the J is for Jezuz!) introduced in 2012 is another AWD, carbon fibered breakfast cereal that again exposes the company's predilection for composite materials and angular design
Aventador J needs only 700 hp to get around but you may want to bring a helmet and goggles thanks to the lack of roof and marginalized windscreen
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Aventador J needs only 700 hp to get around but you may want to bring a helmet and goggles thanks to the lack of roof and marginalized windscreen
Aventador J's architecture is a monocoque design using carbon fiber reinforced polymers, that provides a lightweight structure with optimal stiffness and safety attributes
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Aventador J's architecture is a monocoque design using carbon fiber reinforced polymers, that provides a lightweight structure with optimal stiffness and safety attributes
Aventador interior incorporates paddle shifters to manage the ISR gearbox, an oversized speedometer circled by critical gauges, ultra modern interior elements, LED screen and a start button protected by a red safety cover
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Aventador interior incorporates paddle shifters to manage the ISR gearbox, an oversized speedometer circled by critical gauges, ultra modern interior elements, LED screen and a start button protected by a red safety cover
Estoque, a stunning 4-door sports concept car was created specifically for the 2008 Salon d’Automobiles in Paris
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Estoque, a stunning 4-door sports concept car was created specifically for the 2008 Salon d’Automobiles in Paris
Low profile stance, a wide track, and signature Lamborghini design characteristics opitimized the Estoque's persona
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Low profile stance, a wide track, and signature Lamborghini design characteristics opitimized the Estoque's persona
Estoque featured a long wheelbase, low roofline and similar proportions to Aston Martin's Rapide and Porsche's Panamera, and to a degree, the Espada
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Estoque featured a long wheelbase, low roofline and similar proportions to Aston Martin's Rapide and Porsche's Panamera, and to a degree, the Espada
Lamborghini teased the world with this contemporized Miura concept in 2006, unfortunately never seeing production
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Lamborghini teased the world with this contemporized Miura concept in 2006, unfortunately never seeing production
The car Christian Bale Batman should have driven, the Concept S' unique twin-cockpit arrangement is more akin in personality to the original Batmobile of old
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The car Christian Bale Batman should have driven, the Concept S' unique twin-cockpit arrangement is more akin in personality to the original Batmobile of old
A one off rolling chassis housed in Lamborghini's Sant'Agata museum, the Concept S, designed by Luc Donckerwolke, borrowed inspiration from old single-seat racers
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A one off rolling chassis housed in Lamborghini's Sant'Agata museum, the Concept S, designed by Luc Donckerwolke, borrowed inspiration from old single-seat racers
Using a Gallardo floorplan, the Concept S split 'saut vent' design is not only aesthetically awesome but actually helps feed air to the 5.0 litre V10 mounted in back
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Using a Gallardo floorplan, the Concept S split 'saut vent' design is not only aesthetically awesome but actually helps feed air to the 5.0 litre V10 mounted in back
Urus SUV, shown at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, is concept only but could become reality in the near future according to Lamborghini
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Urus SUV, shown at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, is concept only but could become reality in the near future according to Lamborghini
Urus concept features copious amounts of carbon fiber innovations, a twin-turbocharged V8 worth 584 hp and is based on Audi's Q7 platform
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Urus concept features copious amounts of carbon fiber innovations, a twin-turbocharged V8 worth 584 hp and is based on Audi's Q7 platform
Urus interior features some innovative touches in the modular seats, dual trimmed steering wheel and accent tones but still retains key Lamborghini aspects
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Urus interior features some innovative touches in the modular seats, dual trimmed steering wheel and accent tones but still retains key Lamborghini aspects
Muscular haunches, swept back, rising lines and an aggressive stance reinforce the Urus' performance SUV mandate
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Muscular haunches, swept back, rising lines and an aggressive stance reinforce the Urus' performance SUV mandate
Sesto Elemento (2010) was a blatant exercise by Lamborghini to show off its expertise in the area of carbon fiber in a complete application
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Sesto Elemento (2010) was a blatant exercise by Lamborghini to show off its expertise in the area of carbon fiber in a complete application
Lightweight advanced carbon-fiber architecture gave the Sesto a curb weight of 999 kgs (2,202 lb) which translated into a 300 km/h (180 mph) top speed, lightweight handling and exceptional braking
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Lightweight advanced carbon-fiber architecture gave the Sesto a curb weight of 999 kgs (2,202 lb) which translated into a 300 km/h (180 mph) top speed, lightweight handling and exceptional braking
With a V10 developing 570 hp through an Audi AWD system, and a power-to-weight ratio of 1.75 kgs (3.86 lbs) per 1 hp meant the Sesto could hit 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 2.5 seconds
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With a V10 developing 570 hp through an Audi AWD system, and a power-to-weight ratio of 1.75 kgs (3.86 lbs) per 1 hp meant the Sesto could hit 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 2.5 seconds
Lamborghini manufacturing putting the finishing touches on a Sesto Elemento at the Sant'Agata factory
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Lamborghini manufacturing putting the finishing touches on a Sesto Elemento at the Sant'Agata factory
In 1987, Chrysler owned Lamborghini and then President Lee Iacocca wanted Lamborghini to enter F1...thus was born Lamborghini Engineering
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In 1987, Chrysler owned Lamborghini and then President Lee Iacocca wanted Lamborghini to enter F1...thus was born Lamborghini Engineering
In November 1993 Chrysler pulled out of F1 and summarily sold Lamborghini outright to Indonesian group, Megatech
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In November 1993 Chrysler pulled out of F1 and summarily sold Lamborghini outright to Indonesian group, Megatech
Lamborghini's F1 history was short lived but they did get acquire some nice engines ie. this 3.5 liter V12 with 80 degree cylinder banks for the 1990 season
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Lamborghini's F1 history was short lived but they did get acquire some nice engines ie. this 3.5 liter V12 with 80 degree cylinder banks for the 1990 season
Gallardo introduced ten years ago in 2003 is the most successful Lamborghini to date and considered the company's bread and butter model (570 4 Super Trofeo shown)
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Gallardo introduced ten years ago in 2003 is the most successful Lamborghini to date and considered the company's bread and butter model (570 4 Super Trofeo shown)
First Gallardo employed a 5.0 liter, V10 mid-mounted engine, producing 493 hp/ 378 lb.ft of torque, and a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 4.2 seconds
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First Gallardo employed a 5.0 liter, V10 mid-mounted engine, producing 493 hp/ 378 lb.ft of torque, and a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 4.2 seconds
Gallardo interior space is cramped but features paddle shifters with full manual or auto settings and electronic wizardry by Audi
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Gallardo interior space is cramped but features paddle shifters with full manual or auto settings and electronic wizardry by Audi
Fabrizio Giugiaro of ItalDesign/Giugiaro drew up the initial sketches but Luc Donckerwolcke finished the Gallardo at Lamborghini's Centro Stile
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Fabrizio Giugiaro of ItalDesign/Giugiaro drew up the initial sketches but Luc Donckerwolcke finished the Gallardo at Lamborghini's Centro Stile
Current Gallardo (lp570-4 shown) features sharp angular attack design elements, enhanced aerodynamics, AWD, 40 valved V10 producing 562 hp and 398 lb.ft of torque
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Current Gallardo (lp570-4 shown) features sharp angular attack design elements, enhanced aerodynamics, AWD, 40 valved V10 producing 562 hp and 398 lb.ft of torque
in October 1879 a bull named Murciélago was saved from death because of his fierceness and courage during a bullfight in Cordoba (shown Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce circa 2009)
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in October 1879 a bull named Murciélago was saved from death because of his fierceness and courage during a bullfight in Cordoba (shown Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce circa 2009)
Murciélago uses the traditional Lambo layout; 2 seats, gull-winged doors, and a mid-mounted 6.1 litre V12 engine producing 580 hp & 479 lb.ft of torque to an all-wheel drive system
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Murciélago uses the traditional Lambo layout; 2 seats, gull-winged doors, and a mid-mounted 6.1 litre V12 engine producing 580 hp & 479 lb.ft of torque to an all-wheel drive system
Murciélago features an active intake system, hidden above the rear flanks that pops up when cooling or air is required and an active rear-spoiler which adjusts angle of deflection according to speed
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Murciélago features an active intake system, hidden above the rear flanks that pops up when cooling or air is required and an active rear-spoiler which adjusts angle of deflection according to speed
Introduced to the arena in 2001 the Murciélago's external body panels are carbon fibre, with the exception of the steel roof and door panels
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Introduced to the arena in 2001 the Murciélago's external body panels are carbon fibre, with the exception of the steel roof and door panels
Murciélago LP640 Roadster (2007) was guaranteed to push your forehead back a few inches with its open top persona and outrageous performance
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Murciélago LP640 Roadster (2007) was guaranteed to push your forehead back a few inches with its open top persona and outrageous performance
Murciélago LP640 Roadster carries a maximum speed of 330 km/h (205 mph) and a 0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) time of only 3.4 seconds
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Murciélago LP640 Roadster carries a maximum speed of 330 km/h (205 mph) and a 0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) time of only 3.4 seconds
Museum second floor, more historic Lambo's reside on hardwood floors while a stripped down LM bares its framework
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Museum second floor, more historic Lambo's reside on hardwood floors while a stripped down LM bares its framework
Lamborghini's museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, is both an impressive architectural statement and an automotive wunderland of historic proportions
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Lamborghini's museum in Sant'Agata Bolognese, is both an impressive architectural statement and an automotive wunderland of historic proportions
Miura's, Diablos, F1, Countach, 350 GTV, engines, manufacturing tools, etc, are all on display at the museum, including the infamous wall hung Diablo in the background
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Miura's, Diablos, F1, Countach, 350 GTV, engines, manufacturing tools, etc, are all on display at the museum, including the infamous wall hung Diablo in the background
Lamborghini's shortlived foray into F1 is also documented in physical form in the Sant'Agata museum
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Lamborghini's shortlived foray into F1 is also documented in physical form in the Sant'Agata museum
Manufacturing and finishing, in partner with Audi, is completed out back of the museum in Lamborghini's rolling assembly line
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Manufacturing and finishing, in partner with Audi, is completed out back of the museum in Lamborghini's rolling assembly line
Reventon, with gauge work more fighter-jet than supercar, featured Alcantara, carbon fiber, aluminium and leather amenities
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Reventon, with gauge work more fighter-jet than supercar, featured Alcantara, carbon fiber, aluminium and leather amenities
Owned by the Rodriguez family, the famous fighting bull Reventón, became known as the bull that killed famed bullfighter Felix Guzman in 1943
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Owned by the Rodriguez family, the famous fighting bull Reventón, became known as the bull that killed famed bullfighter Felix Guzman in 1943
Signature angular lines of sharpness, a limited production run of 20 units, and a one million euro price tag ensured the Reventon as a collectors special
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Signature angular lines of sharpness, a limited production run of 20 units, and a one million euro price tag ensured the Reventon as a collectors special
Reventon, launched 2007, came adorned with the usual array of carbon fiber goodness and a subtly quick 340 km/h (211.26 mph) top speed
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Reventon, launched 2007, came adorned with the usual array of carbon fiber goodness and a subtly quick 340 km/h (211.26 mph) top speed
Reventon specs: 245/35 ZR 18 tires up front with 335/30 ZR 18s out back, driving a 6.5 liter, V12, 48 valved engine, producing 650 hp and 478 lb.ft of torque to a permanent all-wheel drive system
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Reventon specs: 245/35 ZR 18 tires up front with 335/30 ZR 18s out back, driving a 6.5 liter, V12, 48 valved engine, producing 650 hp and 478 lb.ft of torque to a permanent all-wheel drive system
Veneno's baby smooth underneath is misleading as shown by the rear wing/fin combination and robotic vent-like openings porting out back
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Veneno's baby smooth underneath is misleading as shown by the rear wing/fin combination and robotic vent-like openings porting out back
The new Veneno is a racing prototype / road-going super-car designed as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini
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The new Veneno is a racing prototype / road-going super-car designed as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini
But how fast does it go? Output is 750 hp courtesy of a 6.5 litre V12 making it doddle from 0 -100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 355 km/h (220 mph)
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But how fast does it go? Output is 750 hp courtesy of a 6.5 litre V12 making it doddle from 0 -100 km/h (62 mph) in just 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 355 km/h (220 mph)
But I want one? Tough crackers ... only 3 Venenos were built with the lot already sold for a mere 3 million euros ($3,915,300 US) each ... plus tax
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But I want one? Tough crackers ... only 3 Venenos were built with the lot already sold for a mere 3 million euros ($3,915,300 US) each ... plus tax
Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of creating some of the world's most outrageous automobiles
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Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of creating some of the world's most outrageous automobiles
Carbon fiber abounds...with a dry weight of 1,450 kilograms (3,190 pounds) the Veneno is 125 kilos (275 pounds) lighter than the Aventador
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Carbon fiber abounds...with a dry weight of 1,450 kilograms (3,190 pounds) the Veneno is 125 kilos (275 pounds) lighter than the Aventador
Lamborghini's line up in Milan awaiting the start of the 3-day 50th Anniversary event, running May 8 - 10th throughout Italy
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Lamborghini's line up in Milan awaiting the start of the 3-day 50th Anniversary event, running May 8 - 10th throughout Italy
Egoist is powered by one of Lamborghini's signature 5.2-liter V10s capable of making 600 horsepower and most likely Mach II
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Egoist is powered by one of Lamborghini's signature 5.2-liter V10s capable of making 600 horsepower and most likely Mach II
'Step Here' markings and a one-person cockpit comprised completely of carbon fiber and aluminum should keep pilots safe during war time exercises
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'Step Here' markings and a one-person cockpit comprised completely of carbon fiber and aluminum should keep pilots safe during war time exercises
Walter De Silva, Head of Volkswagen's Design Group, created the one-off Egoista as an outrageous tribute vehicle to honor fifty years of Lamborghini
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Walter De Silva, Head of Volkswagen's Design Group, created the one-off Egoista as an outrageous tribute vehicle to honor fifty years of Lamborghini
Targeting reticle, heads-up-display, overt cockpit styling and video game control wheel ensure the Egoista's fighter jet influences are not missed
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Targeting reticle, heads-up-display, overt cockpit styling and video game control wheel ensure the Egoista's fighter jet influences are not missed
The Egoista's body, and it's orange infused rims, are comprised of a special anti-radar material for obvious stealth reasons
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The Egoista's body, and it's orange infused rims, are comprised of a special anti-radar material for obvious stealth reasons
Two independent flaps located rearward activate automatically at high speeds for downforce while a series of intakes assist with engine cooling
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Two independent flaps located rearward activate automatically at high speeds for downforce while a series of intakes assist with engine cooling
Egoista uses LED clearance lights like a jets to determine its position in three dimensions similar to an aircraft
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Egoista uses LED clearance lights like a jets to determine its position in three dimensions similar to an aircraft
Egoista clearly carries over design influences from the Reventon, Aventador and Veneno in its finished execution (egoista, Italian for selfish, is indeed a very questionable title)
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Egoista clearly carries over design influences from the Reventon, Aventador and Veneno in its finished execution (egoista, Italian for selfish, is indeed a very questionable title)
Exiting, driver removes the steering wheel, opens the dome, stands up in their seat, then sits down on a prescribed spot on the left bodyword, then swivels their legs outward for easy egress
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Exiting, driver removes the steering wheel, opens the dome, stands up in their seat, then sits down on a prescribed spot on the left bodyword, then swivels their legs outward for easy egress
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
50th Anniversary tour covered over 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) over three days
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50th Anniversary tour covered over 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) over three days
Lamborghini's resting after a hard day of touring the Italian countryside
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Lamborghini's resting after a hard day of touring the Italian countryside
50th Anniversary tour covered over 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) over three days
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50th Anniversary tour covered over 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) over three days
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Over fifty years of Lamborghinis and a model from each period participated in the anniversary event
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Over fifty years of Lamborghinis and a model from each period participated in the anniversary event
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Gallardo participates in the anniversary tour with Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background
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Gallardo participates in the anniversary tour with Leaning Tower of Pisa in the background
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Miura challenging the airforce as part of the event's itinerary
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Miura challenging the airforce as part of the event's itinerary
Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
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Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
Anniversary tour ended with the unveiling of the Egoista at a special closing ceremony back in Sant'Agata Bolognese
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Anniversary tour ended with the unveiling of the Egoista at a special closing ceremony back in Sant'Agata Bolognese
Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
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Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
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Tour started in Milan and toured throughout Italy stopping at key cities during the 3 day event
Miura Jota re-creation made an appearance as part of the 3-day festivities
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Miura Jota re-creation made an appearance as part of the 3-day festivities
Countach shows off is iconic scissor doors during a display for the public
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Countach shows off is iconic scissor doors during a display for the public
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
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Lamborghini's 3-day 50th Anniversary tour included 350 cars and over 190,000 combined horsepower
Lamborghini's 50th anniversary festivities
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Lamborghini's 50th anniversary festivities

There must have been something in the water in 1963. First, I was born (a very vital piece of information), McLaren Auto was established, Iron Man and X-Men debuted in Marvel Comics, the Beatles released their debut LP, TAB Cola was introduced and James Bond’s Dr. No hit theaters. It was also the year in which a young, ambitious Italian farmboy by the name of Ferruccio Lamborghini decided his talent for mechanical enhancement, engineering and marketing would be better served designing high-performance automobiles.

Even though we first see the roots of Lamborghini’s auto fixation emerging in 1963, Ferruccio actually came to being in the Italian countryside in the year 1916. During the 1950's, fresh out of WWII and armed with a solid mechanical upbringing from the farm and a reputation as an intelligent, impetuous and strong-willed leader, Lamborghini saw an opportunity to succeed in rebuilding his homeland through the highly exotic world of tractor manufacturing. So it was that throughout the decade Ferruccio would amass a small fortune from the lucrative tractor game.

Going into the 1960’s with a stable organization behind him, Ferruccio looked to branch out into other business opportunities. One such opportunity that would become the catalyst for Ferruccio’s automotive legacy came via a certain Italian automobile manufacturer whose name happened to rhyme with Ferrari.

Ferruccio's success came from selling tractors in the fifties
Ferruccio's success came from selling tractors in the fifties

Getting into the automobile game

There are several versions of why and how Lamborghini got into the automobile game. One legend is based on an argument between Ferrari and Lamborghini over who could build the better car. Another has it that Lamborghini was constantly annoyed with his Ferrari (i.e. the number of times the car was at the shop, the poor servicing, the nasty espressos, etc.). This seems to be the most realistic argument given his mechanical background and unique business sense. So one morning, Ferruccio woke up, kissed his wife and decided he’d had enough of what he saw as inferior exotic designs and began to make the transition from building tractors to building performance supercars. After all, except for a roof, an extra seat, top speeds exceeding 18 mph, slight styling differences and certain additional aerodynamic, handling and suspension requirements, the two are similar.Of course like many creative thinkers, many people thought Ferruccio was literally out of his olive tree. Who in their right mind would take on established, legendary marques like Ferrari, Jaguar and Maserati, and expect to survive?

Ferruccio on hand, showing off the Miura at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show
Ferruccio on hand, showing off the Miura at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show

But as it turns out the kid from Bologna wasn’t walking into the business blind. In his spare time Ferruccio was actually dismantling his personal Ferraris, Maseratis, etc., then examining the mechanics, chassis designs, suspension, brakes, engines and electrics all in order to see what made the cars tick.

What he discovered was that many of the parts in his vehicles were in fact the same parts used in his tractors, however, once mounted to a Ferrari, the price of an Italian Tire alternator tripled in price. So in actuality, his initial business vision wasn’t so much about designing a Miura but rather, what kind of business/revenue opportunity existed in the parts market. As we now know, this parts supply concept would eventually evolve into something way cooler.

Ferruccio Lamborghini on hand to introduce the 350 GTV way back in 1963 when I too was introduced to adoring fans
Ferruccio Lamborghini on hand to introduce the 350 GTV way back in 1963 when I too was introduced to adoring fans

In 1962, with this supplemental business concept in mind Lamborghini began building the foundation for his company. In May of 1963 he founded "Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini" and bought a large plot of land in Sant’Agata Bolognese in which to set up shop. Being the ever hands-on type, Ferruccio put in place what at the time was considered to be an ultra-modern design/manufacturing facility with his office space next door. This meant he could walk down to the manufacturing floor, pick up a wrench or supervise machining whenever he saw or heard something that didn’t meet his standards. We might refer to this as micro-management these days, but given that his name was on every car it is understandable that he wanted to remain vigilant about all aspects of manufacturing and design.

Within months of establishing his automotive shop in 1963, Lamborghini would put his team’s abilities to the test. This test would come in the form of a concept show car at the Turin Auto Show in November of that year. To get a sense of perspective, manufacturers today usually require six months to a year using rendering programs, model fabricating equipment and a well trained team of design engineers to bring a concept vehicle to show worthy status. Ferruccio's desire to go from breaking ground in the spring of ’63 to delivering a concept vehicle in November, with only a rag tag team of designers and engineers was very ambitious, even by today’s standards.

This meant Lamborghini had seven months to start the factory, acquire proper tooling, hire and train engineers, mechanics, designers, test engineering concepts, develop body/chassis designs, engines, build chassis to accommodate engine and then have the concept ready for the show in Turin.

The first Lamborghini

Somehow, with the odds and time against them, Ferruccio and his team managed to pull it off. Developed in time for the 1963 Turin Auto Show, the first Lamborghini was the now legendary 350 GTV prototype. This sleek Gran Turismo was a hit at the show but comments of "Batmobile" and "overdesigned" crept out from under certain critics’ lawn chairs. Overall the car was heralded as not only an excellent first attempt, but an outstanding vehicle in its own right. The 360 hp V12 that powered the 350 GTV, designed by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, also caused quite a sensation and would have significant influence on future Lamborghini projects.

350 GTV 3.5 litre, V12 engine, courtesy of former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, initially produced 342 hp but was later detuned to 270 hp for production
350 GTV 3.5 litre, V12 engine, courtesy of former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, initially produced 342 hp but was later detuned to 270 hp for production

“In the past, I bought some of the most famous GT cars, and found several flaws," Lamborghini told Italian journalist Athos Evangelisti after the 1963 showing. "They were either; too hot, not very comfortable, not fast enough, or not finished to perfection. Now I want to make a flawless GT. Not a technical marvel, just a very normal, very conventional, perfect car.” The GTV may not have been that car, but it would make a hell of a first impression and set a solid example for future works.

Body by Franco Scaglione, built by Carrozzeria Sargiotto, with Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini completing out the 350 GTV's tube frame
Body by Franco Scaglione, built by Carrozzeria Sargiotto, with Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini completing out the 350 GTV's tube frame

Following the Turin show Ferruccio decided the GTV body designed by Franco Scaglione had not received the accolades he had wanted. He then contacted the famous Milan-based design firm of Carrozzeria Touring. Carrozzeria's Felice Bianchi Anderloni tweaked the 350 GTV’s design just enough to create the new 350 GT and the 400 GT which followed.

Throughout 1964/65 Lamborghini started to see respected auto-scribers from around the world start to take notice. After several quality reviews from American and European auto publications and newspapers, word started to reach the buyers.

Only 250 examples of the 400 GT were created by Carrozzeria Touring, but with a restyled, roomier interior for a proper 2+2 experience (nice 400s list out in the $400k USD range today)
Only 250 examples of the 400 GT were created by Carrozzeria Touring, but with a restyled, roomier interior for a proper 2+2 experience (nice 400s list out in the $400k USD range today)

The Lamborghini Miura

At the beginning of 1965 Lamborghini had continuously repeated and emphasized that he was not interested in futuristic or extravagant projects. He was not interested in concept cars, he simply wanted to make ultra-fast, flawless, "normal" cars. Two brilliant young engineers from Bologna understood this and had a working concept in mind. The idea was to design a slightly tamed down race car for the road that could be driven about the countryside, but was not simply a re-invented Gran Tourer with the engine up front. Their black-opps project, secretly codenamed 400 TP, was a visionary mid-engined design with the 400 GT’s 4-liter 12-cylinder engine transversely mounted behind the cockpit. This engine location was the car's unique selling feature – no road going sports car had previously located the engine behind the cockpit. The chassis was made of bent, welded sheet metal, drilled out to decrease weight and further enhance performance and handling capabilities.

In 1966 Lamborghini stunned the world with the first supercar, the Miura; a ground-breaking mid-engined design with killer bodywork by Marcello Gandini from Bertone
In 1966 Lamborghini stunned the world with the first supercar, the Miura; a ground-breaking mid-engined design with killer bodywork by Marcello Gandini from Bertone

As the story goes, the designers were scared of the reaction from the boss, but when Lamborghini finally saw the 400TP project he approved of it immediately … much to the team’s surprise. Ferruccio, despite his visionary abilities, mistakenly declared that “… a car like this should be built because it would make for ‘good advertising’, even though it will clearly never sell more than fifty worldwide.” Fifty became 500+ and from those famously misguided words came Lamborghini’s now legendary supercar, the Miura.

Setting a precedent for many future Lamborghinis, the new model's name was derived from fighting bulls. Miura bulls are supposedly the strongest of all fighting bulls, but are also considered the most intelligent and fierce. When gazing upon the Miura from the front with its winged doors open, the name seems very apt (in spite of the car’s headlights and their effeminately long eyelashes).

Again running on a crushing timeline, the Miura chassis was completed in time for the Turin Auto Show in October of 1965. The rolling prototype was an instant hit, but skeptics, who were stuck on front engine designs were unconvinced the Miura could succeed as a legitimate road car.

Miura Roadster made its 1968 debut with standard 1960s models as visual aids, today the Miura can fetch anywhere from $600k to $1 million US dollars
Miura Roadster made its 1968 debut with standard 1960s models as visual aids, today the Miura can fetch anywhere from $600k to $1 million US dollars

The legendary Nuccio Bertone and his design house made the Miura’s design the iconic bit of wonder it is today, but it was up to the son of a conductor, Marcello Gandini, to make the Miura into a viable road-going supercar. Gandini later recounted that from October of 1965 to February 1966, everyone at Lamborghini worked around the clock, seven days a week, in order to make the Miura road-ready for the Geneva Motor Show and production-ready immediately after.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was initially very skeptical about the success of the Miura, producing only limited numbers of the first model
Ferruccio Lamborghini was initially very skeptical about the success of the Miura, producing only limited numbers of the first model

The Miura prototype shown as a rolling chassis in October of 1965 had become the world’s first supercar in just four months. Four months. I can’t even do my taxes in four months.

The process wasn't without its hiccups though. Unknown to outsiders at the time, and as had happened with the debut of the 350 GTV, the Miura’s engine wouldn’t quite fit into the engine bay. Ahem. Apparently the carburetors were poking their wee heeds up a little too much in search for air, and in turn created a spacing problem with the rear bonnet. So in order to give the impression of a "weighted" car, mock ballast was added into the engine compartment. This gave the impression of a car that did indeed carry a workable powerplant. To avoid possible embarrassment by inquisitive media types, the engine cover was kept locked as a precaution.

Miura SV, powered by a more powerful 4.0 liter V12, produced 385 hp and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
Miura SV, powered by a more powerful 4.0 liter V12, produced 385 hp and a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)

But even without an engine, enthusiasm and interest in the Miura was off the chain. Ferruccio, being the PR genius he was, managed to raise the hype even higher by taking the Miura to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix that year. There on a warm Saturday afternoon, Ferruccio’s team strategically parked a brilliant orange Miura in one of Monte Carlo’s most famous hot spots – the front of the Hotel de Paris. The car attracted so much attention that it jammed up the square in front of the casino with potential buyers and drooling gawkers.

But the Miura still needed to prove it wasn't just another pretty face in the stables. Capable of clocking 280 km/h (174 mph) on the straights the car definitely lived up to expectations, even though the gas tank location over the front axle caused stability issues at speed. Handling and performance from the Miura were and still are considered outstanding.

The Miura’s styling also sat perfectly with the garish colors and stylistic overtones of the ‘60s. Bright orange or acid-green Miuras would dart about like over saturated fashion models. The car was so outrageous and stunning that it literally sucked the personality out of most every other car on the grey Modena streets. Almost overnight the Miura would become the favorite among playboys, movie stars, musicians and royalty around the world – the Shah of Persia, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were just a few of the big shots who would eventually acquire the car.

The Espada: A disproportionate 4-seater

After the success of the Miura and flush with cash, the company continued to experiment and evolve. From 1967 to 1971 Lamborghini experimented with a variety of different cars but the Marzal concept was perhaps one of the oddest. With gullwing doors, an inline 6-cylinder engine, extensive glass space and seating for four, the one-off concept did prove useful in providing a test bed for future models, most specifically the four-seater Espada. Not everyone's favorite design, the Espada is possessed of acres and acres of glass, a disproportionately huge, bulbous rear end, an equally long hood and still more glass. The saving grace for the Espada would be its 325 hp, front-mounted V12 and multi-tasking ability to carry four comfortably. According one Espada owner we spoke to, it's “an outstanding road car, and unlike my Miura’s it has enough room to take the family for ice cream on the weekend.” The Espada did prove successful for Lamborghini, with three series featured over a production run from 1968 to 1978.

Produced from 1968–78, the Espada's 4.0 litre V12 engine developed between 325/350 hp and was capable of 260 km/h (161 mph)
Produced from 1968–78, the Espada's 4.0 litre V12 engine developed between 325/350 hp and was capable of 260 km/h (161 mph)

Ferruccio’s firm was now going into the 70’s with an impressive lineup. Along with the Espada, a new Miura S was in place plus a front engined GT similar to the 350 GT – the Islero. In less than eight years Lamborghini had reached the peak of its success. Ferruccio had accomplished his goal: from nothing, he had created an automobile house that was world famous and quite legendary in the design community. His cars, in particular the Miura, had achieved enormous status in an incredibly short period of time. But in order to keep up with demand, and satisfy an evolving consumer market, Lamborghini knew he needed to expand.

Ferruccio steps down

Unfortunately in the early 1970s problems such as labor unrest in Italy, rising gas prices and a huge tractor deal that went awry created tremendous stress on Lamborghini and the company. So in 1972 after eight years at the helm, Ferruccio sold a 51 percent stake in the company to Swiss industrialist Georges-Henri Rossetti. The following year he sold his remaining shares to a friend, René Leimer. Thus, the man who had been the driving force behind the company’s meteoric rise, sadly had to remove himself from the equation. Ironically it would be the busted tractor deal, the business that had provided him the ability to start Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini in the first place, that would be his undoing.

Ferruccio, who's office purposely overlooked the plant, was constantly on the shop floor overseeing quality control, manufacturing, design and production
Ferruccio, who's office purposely overlooked the plant, was constantly on the shop floor overseeing quality control, manufacturing, design and production

What the Countach?

But in 1974, under new stewardship, the Lamborghini-less Lamborghini would come back with the launch of a car that, like Farrah Fawcett would become a bedroom poster requirement for millions of teenage boys around the world. "Countach" is a Piedmontese expression that translates roughly to "wow - check it out" (that's the sanitized version anyway) and the Lamborghini Countach was the fastest production car of its time with a top speed of 192 mph (309 km/h).Although it debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in 1971 as a concept, the Countach would not go into production until 1974. With its hyper-futuristic styling, masculine overtones, low stance, scissor doors, questionable ergonomics, and rarefied price point, the Countach was nothing short of an over-exaggerated, not very subtle Italian punch in the face.

Countach, considered Lamborghini's key product during the 80s & 90s was produced in various iterations from 1974 until 1990
Countach, considered Lamborghini's key product during the 80s & 90s was produced in various iterations from 1974 until 1990

Designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone, the Countach saw production from 1974 to 1990. A 16 year production run is needless to say nothing short of incredible.

The fact that the car made it out of the birth canal right before the oil/gas shortage, and survived the automotive dark ages of the late 70s and 80s, is also nothing short of a miracle. The 70s were a time when safer driving, fuel efficiency and economy was starting to become priority … the Countach however with its 375 hp V12, anarchistic attitude towards fuel economy, and blatant speed limit mockery, would essentially became the antithesis of this generational mantra.

The Countach was, and still is to a degree, the very definition of automotive excess.

The 70s was not a great time to be in the automotive manufacturing caper, and Lamborghini would find itself being passed around three times between 1974 and 1978, before finally filing for bankruptcy in 1978.

In 1980 Swiss sugar tycoons, the Mimran Bros, picked up the receivers tab on Lamborghini. Alas their efforts to revive the company ultimately failed and in 1986 the Mimran boys approached Chrysler as a potential buyer. This dysfunctional partnering too would end in separation. For Lamborghini this game of partner swapping would continue right up until 1998.

The Countach would survive the owner swaps and bankruptcies right through the 80s. And oh did it fit in nicely into the decade of questionable everything. What with Miami Vice, Ferrari’s Testarossa, bizarre angular neon fashion statements, Germanic da-da-da synth music and 8-bit video games, the Countach, it would seem, was almost preordained for this bizarre period in the space-time continuum.

Countach, roughly translates to "holy shit" in Italian ... fitting since piloting the car for the first time would cause most to cry out the aforementioned phrase
Countach, roughly translates to "holy shit" in Italian ... fitting since piloting the car for the first time would cause most to cry out the aforementioned phrase

Devil at the door

In 1990, still under the ownership of Chrysler, Lamborghini released the successor to the Countach – the Diablo. A formidable 200 mph (320 km/h) flying wedge of a thing, the Diablo would run from 1990 up until 2001. Although the Diablo was the company’s key revenue maker for the 90s, it wasn’t enough to keep the company viable.

los Diablo (1993–2000) featured a 5.7-litre mid-mounted V12 developing 492 hp and a top speed of 325 km/h (202 mph) ... 529 were made
los Diablo (1993–2000) featured a 5.7-litre mid-mounted V12 developing 492 hp and a top speed of 325 km/h (202 mph) ... 529 were made

From one orphanage to another

In 1994 Chrysler found itself with problems of its own. Chrysler saw Lamborghini as a liability, so in 1994 Lamborghini was again sold off to a group of Indonesian investors. This promising change of hands would unfortunately do nothing but further destabilize Lamborghini. It was also during this time that Ferruccio passed away in Italy at the age of 76. Never knowing if his bull inspired house would ever recapture the greatness it had known in the 1960s. While there was hope that the new owners would bring a fresh vision to Lamborghini, inappropriate management appointments, direction uncertainty, and an overall lack of understanding of the company’s boutique nature, all contributed to a failed marriage. The straw that finally broke the bull’s back was the idea of bringing back the LM (Lamborghini Motore Anteriore) – a legendarily unsuccessful Jeep-like vehicle from the 80s. This maneuver definitively showed investors that the relationship needed to end.

Hummer H1 perhaps ... despite the LM's obvious leanings, it never saw the light of day as a military vehicle
Hummer H1 perhaps ... despite the LM's obvious leanings, it never saw the light of day as a military vehicle

The focus on regenerating the LM would further cause Lamborghini stress and delay any evolutionary flexibility. But just when all seemed lost and the Lamborghini thought it would have to sell papayas on the street to survive, a knight in shining armor arrived. Not a literal knight, more like a German engineer wearing glasses and driving an orange VW micro-bus.

Saved by the Germans

It was in 1997 that one Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Professor Ferdinand Porsche (yes that Porsche) and chairman of Volkswagen AG, became interested in Lamborghini. In actuality the Porsche heir had been closely following Lamborghini for years. Ferdi (can I call you Ferdi?) had visited Lamborghini as a young automotive engineer early on in his career. For an automotive engineer the halls of Lamborghini were hallowed ground, so it was serendipitous that Lamborghini should also approach Volkswagen subsidiary Audi around this time about an engine collaboration project for the what would become the Gallardo.

Current Gallardo (lp570-4 shown) features sharp angular attack design elements, enhanced aerodynamics, AWD, 40 valved V10 producing 562 hp and 398 lb.ft of torque
Current Gallardo (lp570-4 shown) features sharp angular attack design elements, enhanced aerodynamics, AWD, 40 valved V10 producing 562 hp and 398 lb.ft of torque

Ferdi took the engine proposal into consideration, but when the opportunity arose to acquire Lamborghini he moved quickly to ensure the company was not plucked from the netherworld by another ill-prepared food prep company. It was on a warm Tuesday in 1998 that the German automotive giant would wed an exotic Italian of bullish descent in a small white chapel outside Stuttguart. I might be paraphrasing.

In the following decade with VW firmly behind it, Lamborghini was finally able to get back to work without distraction, and the supercars themselves can tell the rest of the story. The first model to fall under the German/Italian alliance was the much feared Murciélago.

Murciélago LP640 Roadster (2007) was guaranteed to push your forehead back a few inches with its open top persona and outrageous performance
Murciélago LP640 Roadster (2007) was guaranteed to push your forehead back a few inches with its open top persona and outrageous performance

Raging into the 21st Century

Released in 2001, the Murciélago was Lamborghini’s first new design in over eleven years. Working off the standard mid-engined architecture the new bull incorporated an all-wheel drive system courtesy of Audi, seating for two, gull-wing doors and a 6.2 liter V12 engine. The first-gen models produced a meager 572 hp and 479 lb.ft. (649 Nm) of torque for the big bits of rubber to feed on. The LP 670-4 SuperVeloce upped the ante with a new 6.5 liter V12 (641 hp, 491 lb.ft./660 Nm of torque) that helped propel the angry beast to a top speed of 209 mph (337 km/h). Murciélago's external body panels were made of a carbon composite fiber, with the exception of steel roof and door panels. It also featured a very cool active intake system hidden above the rear flanks that pops up when engine cooling is required. Production ran from 2001 to 2010 with roughly 4100 cars built.

Gallardo introduced ten years ago in 2003 is the most successful Lamborghini to date and considered the company's bread and butter model (570 4 Super Trofeo shown)
Gallardo introduced ten years ago in 2003 is the most successful Lamborghini to date and considered the company's bread and butter model (570 4 Super Trofeo shown)

Baby Lambo

Lamborghini’s Gallardo has been to the company what the Mustang was to Ford in the 60s. Significantly smaller than the Murciélago, relatively affordable and with a substantial powerplant and all-wheel drive, the Gallardo has been the company’s most lucrative product since its inception in 2003. The aluminum alloy framed Gallardo initially employed a 5 liter V10 married to a 6 speed manual or auto-styled E-gearbox that developed around 500 horsepower, boasted a top speed of 192 mph (309 km/h) and made 0-60 mph (96 km/h) times in the 4 second range. Since 2003 this forward cabbed design by Giugiaro and Luc Donckerwolke has gone through several stylistic and technical changes. The 2010 Gallardo refresh, the all-wheel drive LP 570-4 Superleggera, features a 5.2 liter, 40-valve V10 generating 562 hp and 398 lb.ft. (540 Nm) of torque that translates to 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h).

Aventador LP700 Roadster (2012) features a two-piece removable carbon fiber roof employing RTM and Forged Composite technologies while weighing less than 6 kg (13.2 lbs)
Aventador LP700 Roadster (2012) features a two-piece removable carbon fiber roof employing RTM and Forged Composite technologies while weighing less than 6 kg (13.2 lbs)

The Dark Knight Rises

Batman's recent vehicle of choice, the Aventador LP 700-4, was introduced in 2011 to replace the outgoing Murciélago. The Aventador is composed of a carbon fiber monocoque with aluminum front and rear frames. The body is comprised of a carbon fiber engine cover, adjustable spoiler and side air inlets, aluminum hood, front fenders and doors. With all this carbon fiber one would expect a lighter ride, but the Aventador comes in at a not so svelte 1,575 kilograms (3,470 lbs). Still, it is a fast, thanks to a 700 hp V12 behind the driver’s head that twists out 507 lb.ft. (690 Nm) of torque to massive Pirelli rubbers measuring 19 inches up front and 20 inches out back. A 7-speed ISR gearbox puts these figures to work and helps the Aventador to a top speed of 217 mph (350 km/h) and a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 2.9 seconds. The Aventador's styling is so excessive, angular and aggressive that in photos it comes off as conceptual. Huge air intakes chiseled out at the profile, sweep back and fall in sharply as they feed copious amounts of air through Aventador’s swollen rear flanks. Expansive gaping intakes on either side of the recessed grille stretch forward in search of much needed oxygen. Out back there's more of the same. Razor sharp lines run about frenetically in a chaotic auto-CAD like manner, but manage to coalesce into one intensely mean rear end. Prices for the Aventador run from just under US$400,000 to just over $441,000.

Aventador J's architecture is a monocoque design using carbon fiber reinforced polymers, that provides a lightweight structure with optimal stiffness and safety attributes
Aventador J's architecture is a monocoque design using carbon fiber reinforced polymers, that provides a lightweight structure with optimal stiffness and safety attributes

If the everyday Aventador isn’t good enough for your driveway, then try out the limited edition LP 720-4 50th Anniversary model. More powerful by 20 hp, and more exclusive at only 200 units, the bumblebee yellow/black special features mostly aesthetic tweaks but does come with its own 50th Anniversary logo, serial number and exclusively higher pricetag.

Reventon, launched 2007, came adorned with the usual array of carbon fiber goodness and a subtly quick 340 km/h (211.26 mph) top speed
Reventon, launched 2007, came adorned with the usual array of carbon fiber goodness and a subtly quick 340 km/h (211.26 mph) top speed

The exclusively exclusive Reventon

Making its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2007, this limited edition (20) ride was the most expensive Lamborghini at US$2 million, which held until recently when the $4 million Veneno knocked it from its pedestal. Premised off the Murcielago, the Reventon’s all carbon fiber exterior styling was all new, with exaggerated air intakes and extended vent work so sharp you could shave with it. The Reventon sports Lamborghini’s 6.5 liter V12 developing 650 hp and 660 Nm of torque. A recorded top speed of 355 km/h (221 mph) helped validate its fighter jet narrative.

Signature angular lines of sharpness, a limited production run of 20 units, and a one million euro price tag ensured the Reventon as a collectors special
Signature angular lines of sharpness, a limited production run of 20 units, and a one million euro price tag ensured the Reventon as a collectors special

Venomous Veneno

The Veneno, a racing prototype come road-going super-car, was designed as a limited edition for the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini. Its figures are as rarefied as the design – 750 horsepower via a 6.5 liter V12 with a 0 -100 km/h (62 mph) time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 355 km/h (220 mph). Veneno is essentially one big aerodynamic carbon fibered wing, with front channels feeding forward outlets, extensive venting and a serious rear wing/tail-fin configuration to manage downforce. Carbon fiber abounds on the Veneno, giving it a dry weight of 1,450 kilograms (3,190 lbs) and making it 125 kilos (275 lbs) lighter than the Aventador. Unfortunately only three Venenos were built and have already been sold out at US $3,915,300 a piece. Plus tax.

The new Veneno is a racing prototype / road-going super-car designed as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini
The new Veneno is a racing prototype / road-going super-car designed as a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini

So it would seem that with the Audi/VW acquisition, Lamborghini finally secured the much needed long term stability it had so desperately sought. The incorporation of the VW Group’s technology and platform sharing between the Gallardo, Reventon and Aventador, plus substantial financial backing has seen this multicultural marriage become a success.

50th anniversary festivities

On May 8, as part of Lamborghini’s 50th Anniversary, a different type of running of the bulls took place in Italy. Starting out in Milan, a four kilometer convoy comprised of 350 Lamborghinis traveled to Lombardia then Umbria, Forte dei Marmi, Roma and San Giustino Valdarno, eventually making their way to the factory/museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese. In total over 190,000 horsepower was on hand as part of this 3-day event.

Lamborghini's 50th anniversary festivities
Lamborghini's 50th anniversary festivities

At the closing celebrations in Sant'Agata, Walter De Silva, Head of Volkswagen's Design Group, wheeled in a one-off tribute vehicle in the form of the jet fighter styled Egoista. As outrageous as anything before it, this 600 hp, single-seat on wheels was designed as tribute to and to honor the Raging Bull's past fifty years in a way most befitting of the company.

Egoista clearly carries over design influences from the Reventon, Aventador and Veneno in its finished execution (egoista, Italian for selfish, is indeed a very questionable title)
Egoista clearly carries over design influences from the Reventon, Aventador and Veneno in its finished execution (egoista, Italian for selfish, is indeed a very questionable title)

As the feisty little Italian who started it all once said: “Look at what others are not doing with their products, then work to perfect it in yours.” This reverse mantra still lives on today in the continuing evolution of the species. Fifty years on the unconventional designs and angular directness of today’s Lamborghini's would indeed make that little tractor man quite proud.

Source: Lamborghini

5 comments
The Skud
An interesting piece of history - the world is a better place for this man's vision.
Griffin
Espada? The Spade? Was he flaunting the agricultural heritage of his car company or what? I'm going to guess that his cars have eventually made his tractors much more valuable as collectibles... The original Countach was faster but did not sell well until they added all those scoops,wings and the wider tires- which noticeably slowed the car down.... and made it a poster fantasy. Most rich people don't want to go really fast.... they just want to LOOK really fast. 221mph is hardly "jet fighter" speed,anyway- unless it's in a traffic pattern waiting to land. I appreciate the Man and his original Vision- but the current cars are over-rated and over-priced.
Stan Hodges
From tractors to 200 mph sports cars, a nice read. If I could pick just one, it would be the '63 GT. American car geeks coming of age in the 60s anticipated the big 3 autumn redesigns, and admittedly biased home-runs (Mustang, Camaro). The Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Maseratis were exotic and rare sights on US roads, but very cool.
Barnbaby
An excellently done tribute to one of the most amazing, outstanding, and definitely outrageous marques ever to grace (and rip) the roads of the world. It was a real pleasure to read.
Lungasb
Wow it has been certainly a long way traveled by lambo. Very well written and exceptional piece of the most iconic super car legend I think every petrol head needs to read this thanks mr Mackenzie.
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