Ferruccio Lamborghini, the founder of Automobili Lamborghini

Automobile manufacturing division of Automobili Lamborghini Holding
S.p.A., part of the Lamborghini Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of AUDI
AG, a 99-percent owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen AG
Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.,

Commonly referred to as Lamborghini
is an Italian automaker based in the small
township of Sant'Agata Bolognese. The company was founded in 1963 by
manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini. It has changed ownership numerous
times since, most recently becoming a subsidiary of German car manufacturer Audi
AG (itself a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group) in 1998. Lamborghini has
achieved widespread recognition for its sleek, exotic designs, and its cars have
become symbols of performance and wealth.
Ferruccio Lamborghini entered the automobile manufacturing business with the aim
of producing a high-quality grand tourer that could outperform and outclass
offerings from local rival Ferrari S.p.A. He accomplished this with the
company's first models, the 350GT and 400GT. Lamborghini again met with
success in 1966 with the release of the mid-engined Miura sports coupé, and in
1968 with the Espada GT, the latter of which sold over 1,200 units during ten
years of production. After almost a decade of rapid growth, and the release of
classic models like the Countach in 1974, hard times befell the company in the
late 1970s, as sales plunged in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. Bankruptcy
crippled the automaker, and after passing through the hands of a number of Swiss
entrepreneurs, Lamborghini came under the corporate umbrella of industry giant
Chrysler. The American company failed to make the Italian manufacturer
profitable, and in 1994, the company was sold to Indonesian interests.
Lamborghini would remain on life support throughout the rest of the 1990s,
continuously updating the Diablo of 1990 in lieu of a planned expanded range of
offerings, including a smaller car that would appeal to American enthusiasts.
Reeling from the Asian financial crisis of the previous year, in 1998
Lamborghini's owners sold the troubled automaker to AUDI AG, the luxury car
subsidiary of German automotive conglomerate Volkswagen AG. German ownership
marked the beginning of a period of stability and increased productivity for
Lamborghini, with sales increasing nearly tenfold over the course of the next
Assembly of Lamborghini cars continues to take place at the automaker's
ancestral home in Sant'Agata Bolognese, where engine and automobile production
lines run side-by-side at the company's single factory. Each year, the facility
produces less than 3,000 examples of the four models offered for sale, the
V10-powered Gallardo coupé and roadster, and the flagship V12-powered Murciélago
coupé and roadster. The range is occasionally complemented by limited-edition
variants of the four main models, such as the Reventón and a number of
Superleggera trim packages.


The story of the automaker begins with Ferruccio Lamborghini, the child of grape
farmers from the comune of Renazzo di Cento, Province of Ferrara, in the
Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.Lamborghini was drawn to farming
machinery rather than the farming lifestyle itself, and studied at the Fratelli
Taddia technical institute near Bologna. In 1940, he was drafted into
the Italian Air Force,where he served as a mechanic at the Italian
garrison on the island of Rhodes, becoming the supervisor of the vehicle
maintenance unit.After returning from the war, Lamborghini opened a
garage in Pieve di Cento. Thanks to his mechanical abilities, he was able to
enter the business of building tractors from spare parts and leftover military
vehicles. Agricultural equipment was desperately needed during Italy's postwar
economic reform.In 1948, Lamborghini founded Lamborghini Trattori
S.p.A., and by the mid-1950s, his factory was producing 1000 tractors per
year, becoming one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in the
country. After travelling to the United States, Lamborghini acquired the
technology to open a gas heater factory, Lamborghini Bruciatori S.p.A., which
later began building air conditioning units.

The clutch problems he experienced with his Ferrari 250GTs led Lamborghini to
consider building his own carsLamborghini's increasing wealth allowed him to
cultivate an interest in cars that were a far cry from the tiny Fiat Topolinos
he had tinkered with in his garage in his spare time.He owned Alfa Romeos
and Lancias during the early 1950s, and at one point, had enough cars to use a
different one every day of the week, adding a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, a Jaguar
E-Type coupé, and two Maserati 3500GTs.In 1958, Lamborghini traveled to
Maranello to buy a Ferrari 250GT, a two-seat coupé with a body designed by
coachbuilder Pininfarina. He went on to own several more over the years,
including a Scaglietti-designed 250 SWB Berlinetta and a 250GT 2+2
four-seater. Lamborghini thought Ferrari's cars were good,but too noisy
and rough to be proper road cars, labeling them as repurposed track cars with
poorly-built interiors.Most annoyingly, Lamborghini found that Ferrari's
cars were equipped with inferior clutches, and he was continuously forced to
return to Maranello for clutch rebuilds. Ferrari technicians would take the car
away for several hours to make the repairs, not allowing the curious Lamborghini
to view the work; he had previously expressed dissatisfaction with Ferrari's
aftersales service, which he perceived to be substandard.Frustrated with
the recurring nature of the problems, during one particularly long wait, he took
the matter up with the company's founder, "Il Commendatore", Enzo Ferrari.

Period Ferraris had spartan interiors, lacking the plush appointments
Lamborghini felt were essential to a gran turismo carWhat happened next has
become the stuff of legend: according to a 1991 Thoroughbred & Classic Cars
magazine interview with Lamborghini, he complained to Enzo in "a bit of an
argument", telling him that his cars were rubbish; the notoriously pride-filled
Modenan was furious, telling the manufacturing tycoon, "Lamborghini, you may be
able to drive a tractor, but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari
properly."Enzo Ferrari's snubbing of Lamborghini had profound consequences.
Lamborghini later said that it was at that point that he got the idea that if
Enzo Ferrari, or anyone else, could not build him a perfect car, he might be
able to simply make such a car himself.The tractor magnate felt that
Ferrari's cars did not have the attributes of a superior grand tourer;
Lamborghini believed that such a car should provide high performance without
compromising tractability, ride quality, and interior appointments. Believing he
could also outdo the legendary Ferrari performance, upon returning to Pieve di
Cento, Lamborghini and his workers at the tractor factory opened up one of his
250GTs and starting working on it. The simple single overhead camshaft cylinder
heads were replaced with custom units, and six horizontally-mounted dual
carburetors were mounted to the V12 engine. Lamborghini would take the modified
car out to the motorway entrance near Modena, and wait for Ferrari's test
drivers to appear. According to Lamborghini, the improvements made his car at
least 25 km/h (16 mph) faster than the factory's own cars, and it could easily
outrun the testers in their stock machines.
Some contend that Lamborghini entered the business of making automobiles purely
to spite Ferrari by showing him that he could build a better car than his
precious steeds, faster, sleeker, more beautiful, and more outrageous than what
the Maranello camp could offer. Others contend that he simply saw a financial
opportunity in producing such cars;Lamborghini realized that the same
components that he sold in his tractors could bring in three times the profits
if installed in a high-performance exotic car.It was the beginning of an
historic rivalry: Ferruccio and Enzo would never speak again.
1963-1964: First forays

Lamborghini's business interests were located in the region of Emilia-Romagna,
where the provinces of Ferrara, Bologna, and Modena intersectIn July 1963, a
billboard was erected at 12 via Modena, in the commune of Sant'Agata Bolognese,
less than 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Cento. The sign declared "Qui Stabilimento
Lamborghini Automobile" (English: Lamborghini car factory here), boasting 46,000
square metres (500,000 sq ft) of space. On October 30, 1963, the automaker was
incorporated, and the Automobili Lamborghini Società per Azioni was born.
Ferruccio Lamborghini had chosen to open his automobile factory in Sant'Agata
for several reasons. A favorable financial agreement with the communist city
leadership meant he would not pay tax on the plant's profits for its first ten
years of trading, along with receiving an interest rate of 19% on those profits
when they were deposited in the bank. As part of the agreement, his workers
would have to be unionized. The commune's location, deep in the cradle of
Italy's automobile industry, meant that Lamborghini's operation would have easy
access to machine shops, coachbuilders, and workers with experience in the
automotive industry.
Even before Automobili opened its doors, Lamborghini had already retained the
services of engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. Bizzarrini was part of the so-called
"gang of five" that had been part of the mass exodus from Ferrari in 1961, just
after helping develop the famous 250 GTO.[16] Lamborghini had hired him as a
freelancer, and commissioned him to design a V12 engine as big as Ferrari's
3-litre power plant, but designed from the start for use in a road car, in
contrast to Ferrari's detuned race engine. Bizzarrini would be paid L 4.5
million for his work, plus a bonus for every unit of brake horsepower the engine
could produce over Ferrari's version. The designer created a 3.5-litre,
9.5:1 compression ratio, 360 bhp engine that came to life for the first time on
May 15, 1963, in a corner of the Lamborghini tractor factory. Bizzarrini
created an engine with dry-sump lubrication that produced its maximum horsepower
at 9800 rpm, hardly an appropriate configuration for a street car engine.[18]
Lamborghini, who wanted a well-mannered engine suitable for use in a grand
tourer, was furious, and requested substantial changes to the engine's design.
The resulting feud led to the unraveling of Lamborghini's and Bizzarrini's
relationship; the latter did not receive full compensation for his work until
Lamborghini was ordered to do so by the courts.

Ferruccio was unimpressed with the quality of the 350GTV, and ordered a complete
redesign for Lamborghini's first production carLamborghini now had an engine,
but needed an automobile to install it in. By 1963, he had assembled a team of
people for the job, beginning with Gian Paolo Dallara, renowned as Italy's best
chassis engineer of the post-war era.Having previously worked for Ferrari
and Maserati, Dallara was placed in charge of spearheading Lamborghini's efforts
to put a car on the road. Dallara assembled a capable team of men that included
his fresh out of college assistant, Paolo Stanzani, and New Zealander Bob
Wallace, then working at Maserati, known for his keen sense of chassis handling
and excellent feedback and developmental skills. Ferruccio, rejecting
such highly regarded names as Vignale, Ghia, Bertone, and Pininfarina,
commissioned then-relatively unknown designer Franco Scaglione to style the
car's body. The car was prepared in only four months, in time for the 1963 Turin
motor show. The prototype 350GTV was revealed to a warm journalistic
response. Due to the feud with Bizzarrini over the engine's design, there
was no power plant available to install in the car in time for the unveiling;
according to lore, Ferruccio made sure the hood stayed closed to conceal the 500
lb (230 kg) of bricks that made sure the car sat at the appropriate ride

The 350GTV was reworked into the production 350GT; the grand tourer sold a total
of 120 copiesDespite the positive reviews, Lamborghini was unimpressed with the
prototype's build quality, declaring it a one-off. The car disappeared into
storage for the next twenty years, until it was purchased and restored by a
local collector.Using the 350 GTV as a starting point, the bodywork was
restyled by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, and the new chassis was constructed
in-house. The engine was detuned, against Bizzarrini's wishes. The new car,
dubbed 350GT, debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. Ferruccio hired Ubaldo
Sgarzi as his sales manager; Sgarzi had formerly performed a similar role at
manufacturer Tecno S.p.A. Lamborghini and Sgarzi viewed factory racing with
similar disapproval, a perspective which continued to clash with the wishes of
the engineers who developed the cars. By the end of 1964, cars had been
built for 13 customers, sold at a loss in order to compete with Ferrari. The
350GT remained in production for a further two years, selling a total of 120

1965-1966: Lamborghini arrives

Gian Paolo Dallara took on the challenge of improving Bizzarini's V12 design,
increasing displacement to 3.9-litres, upping power to 320 bhp at 6,500 rpm.
The engine was first installed inside a 350GT chassis, effectively creating the
car that came to be known as the "interim 400GT", of which 23 copies were
produced. By 1966, a stretched, 2+2 version of the 350GT had been developed, and
the roomier 400GT was unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show that year. The car was a
success, being favourably compared to contemporary Ferraris citation
needed] and selling a total of 250 copies. This enabled Lamborghini to increase
the labor force at his factory to 170. Two prototype cars based on the 400GT
were produced by the Zagato coachworks in Turin. Despite the popularity of the
designs, Ferruccio preferred to direct his efforts towards making the most of
his own factory and employees, rather than commissioning outside styling and
engineering work. Lamborghini was especially mindful of the importance of
continuing service for owners, and constructed a facility that was capable of
performing everything from minor service to major work on Lamborghini cars.

The 400GT (foreground) was a 2+2, roomier than the car it was based on. The
Miura (background) moved the engine to the rear of the car; the car began as the
pet project of Lamborghini's three top engineersDuring 1965, Dallara, Stanzani,
and Wallace put their own time into the development of a prototype car known as
the P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree; a car which
could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three
men worked on the car's design at night, hoping to sway Lamborghini from the
opinion that such a vehicle would be too expensive and would distract from the
company's focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini allowed his engineers
to go ahead, deciding that the P400 was a potential marketing tool, if nothing
more. The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure
from previous Lamborghini cars; the V12 was also unusual in that it was
effectively merged with the transmission and differential, thanks to a lack of
space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the
Turin Salon in 1965; impressed showgoers placed orders for the car despite the
lack of a body to go over the chassis. Bertone was placed in charge of styling
the prototype, which was finished just days before its debut at the 1966 Geneva
motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the
engine fit inside its compartment; committed to showing the car, they decided to
fill the engine bay with ballast, and keep the hood locked throughout the show,
as they had three years earlier for the debut of the 350GTV.Sales boss
Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see
the P400's power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the star of the show,
making stylist Marcello Gandini a star in his own right. The favorable reaction
at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by next year, under a
different name, Miura. Lamborghini now had a two-pronged approach; the Miura
positioned the fledgling automaker as a leader in the world of supercars, and
the 400GT was the sophisticated road car Lamborghini had desired since the
beginning. With Automobili and his other business interests booming, Ferruccio
Lamborghini's life had reached a high point.
By the end of 1966, the workforce at the Sant'Agata factory had expanded to 300.
Enough deposits had been made by eager Miura buyers to begin the development
program in 1967. Ferruccio continued to clash with his engineering team on the
subject of racing the Miura. The first four cars were kept at the factory, where
Bob Wallace continued to improve and refine the car. By December, 108 cars had
been delivered. The Miura set a precedent for mid-engined two-seater high
performance sports cars.The factory continued to produce copies of the
400GT, along with several 350 GTS Roadsters, a convertible model produced by
Touring. Ferruccio commissioned the coachbuilder once more to envision a
possible replacement for the 400GT, based on the same chassis. Touring created
the 400 GT Flying Star II, a poorly-finished, ungainly vehicle. Also asked to
prepare a concept were Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini, of Neri and Bonacini
coachbuilders in Modena produced the 400GT Monza. Lamborghini rejected both the
cars, unconvinced by the coachbuilders' efforts.Facing mounting financial
difficulties, Touring would close its doors later that year.

1967-1968: Beginning of sales success

The Islero was a sales disappointment, but faithful to Ferruccio's ideal of a
reliable grand tourerFerruccio, still seeking a replacement for the 400GT,
sought the help of Bertone designer Mario Marazzi, formerly of Touring. Together
with Lamborghini's engineers, the coachbuilder created a four-seater named the
Marzal. The chassis was essentially a stretched version of the one underpinning
the Miura, and the engine was an in-line six-cylinder that was effectively
one-half of Lamborghini's V12 design.The car featured gullwing doors and an
enormous glass windows. Despite its innovative design, Ferruccio once again
passed over the car as the 400GT's replacement. Marazzi toned down his design,
at the discretion of Lamborghini himself. The resulting car, the Islero 400GT,
was mostly a reskinned 400GT, and not the full four-seater the Ferruccio
desired, though he was happy with the car, as it represented the gran turismo
product that Ferruccio enjoyed driving, in addition to being well-developed and
reliable. The Islero did not have a great impact on the market; only 125
copies were made between 1968 and 1969.

External videos

Amateur video of the Sant'Agata factory, followed by a drive in an Islero
New versions of the Miura arrived in 1968; the Miura P400 S (more commonly known
as the Miura S) featured a stiffened chassis and more power, with the V12
developing 370 bhp at 7000 rpm. At the 1968 Brussels auto show, the automaker
unveiled the Miura P400 Roadster (more commonly the Miura Spider), an open-top
version of the coupé. Gandini, by now effectively the head of design at Bertone,
had paid great attention to the details, particularly the problems of wind
buffeting and noise insulation inherent to a roadster.For all of Gandini's
hard work, Sgarzi was forced to turn potential buyers away, as Lamborghini and
Bertone were unable to reach a consensus on the size of a theoretical roadster
production run. The Miura Spider was sold off to an American metal alloy
supplier, who wanted to use it as a marketing device. 1968 was a positive time
for all of Ferruccio's businesses, and Automobili delivered 353 cars over the
course of the year.

The Espada was Lamborghini's first truly popular model, with more than 1,200
sold during its ten years of productionBertone was able to persuade Lamborghini
to allow them to design a brand-new four-seater. The shape was penned by
Marcello Gandini, and a bodyshell delivered to Ferruccio for inspection. The
businessman was less than pleased with the enormous gullwing doors that Gandini
had included, and insisted that the car would have to feature conventional
doors. The car that resulted from the collaboration was debuted at the 1969
Geneva show with the name Espada, powered by a 3.9-litre, front-mounted
evolution of the factory's V12, producing 325 bhp. The Espada was a runaway
success, with a total production run of 1,217 cars over ten years of

Dallara was hired away from Lamborghini to run the F1 program at De Tomaso
Modena, designing a chassis for the Frank Williams Racing Cars team in

1968-1969: Difficulties overcome

In August 1968, Gian Paolo Dallara, frustrated with Ferruccio Lamborghini's
refusal to participate in motorsport, was recruited away from Sant'Agata to head
the Formula One program at rival automaker De Tomaso in Modena. With profits on
the rise, a racing program would have been a possibility, but Lamborghini
remained against even the construction of prototypes, stating his mission as: "I
wish to build GT cars without defects - quite normal, conventional but perfect -
not a technical bomb."With cars like the Islero and the Espada, his aim to
establish himself and his cars as equal or superior to the works of Enzo Ferrari
had been satisfied. Dallara's assistant, Paulo Stanzani, would assume his old
boss' role as technical director. Unfortunately for Dallara, the De Tomaso F1
program was underfunded, and the automaker barely survived the experience; the
engineer left the company soon after.
In 1969, Automobili Lamborghini encountered problems with its fully unionized
work force, among which the machinists and fabricators had begun to take
one-hour token stoppages as part of a national campaign due to strained
relations between the metal workers' union and Italian industry. Ferruccio
Lamborghini, who often rolled up his sleeves and joined in the work on the
factory floor, was able to motivate his staff to continue working towards their
common goal despite the disruptions.

The Jarama was a shortened, sportier version of the EspadaThroughout that year,
Lamborghini's product range, then consisting of the Islero, the Espada, and the
Miura S, received upgrades across the board, with the Miura receiving a power
boost, the Islero being upgraded to "S" trim, and the Espada gaining comfort and
performance upgrades which allowed it to reach speeds of up to 100 mph (160
km/h). The Islero was slated to be replaced by a shortened yet higher-performing
version of the Espada, the Jarama 400GT. The 3.9-litre V12 was retained, its
compression ratio increasing to 10.5:1.

The Urraco was the first clean-sheet Lamborghini design since the 350GTVBy the
time the Jarama was unveiled at the 1970 Geneva show, Paulo Stanzani was at work
on a new clean-sheet design, which would use no parts from previous Lamborghini
cars. Changes in tax laws and a desire to make full use of the factory's
manufacturing capacity meant that the Italian automaker would follow the
direction taken by Ferrari, with its Dino 246 and Porsche, with its 911, and
produce a smaller, V8-powered 2+2 car, the Urraco. The 2+2 body style was
selected as a concession to practicality, with Ferruccio acknowledging that
Urraco owners might have children.[33] The single overhead cam V8 designed by
Stanzani produced 220 bhp at 5000 rpm. Bob Wallace immediately began road
testing and development; the car was to be presented at the 1970 Turin motor

In 1970, Lamborghini began development of a replacement for the Miura, which was
a pioneering model, but had interior noise levels that Ferruccio Lamborghini
found unacceptable and nonconforming to his brand philosophy.Engineers
designed a new, longer chassis that placed the engine longitudinally, further
away from the driver's seat. Designated the LP500 for its 4.97-litre version of
the company's V12, the prototype was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. The
car was presented was debuted at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the final
revision of the Miura, the P400 SuperVeloce. Completing the Lamborghini range
were the Espada 2, the Urraco P250, and the Jarama GT.

1971-1972: Financial pressures

As a world financial crisis began to take hold, Ferruccio Lamborghini's
companies began to run into financial difficulties. In 1971, Lamborghini's
tractor company, which exported around half of its production, ran into
difficulties. Cento, Trattori's South African importer, cancelled all its
orders. After staging a successful coup d'état, the new military government of
Bolivia cancelled a large order of tractors that was partially ready to ship
from Genoa. Trattori's employees, like Automobili's, were unionized and could
not be laid off. In 1972, Lamborghini sold his entire holding in Trattori to
SAME, another tractor builder.
The entire Lamborghini group was now finding itself in financial troubles.
Development at the automaker slowed; the production version of the LP500 missed
the 1972 Geneva Show, and only the P400 GTS version of the Jarama was on
display. Faced with a need to cut costs, Paulo Stanzani set aside the LP500's
powerplant, slating a smaller, 4-litre engine for production. Ferruccio
Lamborghini began courting buyers for Automobili and Trattori; he entered
negotiations with Georges-Henri Rossetti, a wealthy Swiss businessman and friend
of Ferruccio's, as well as being the owner of an Islero and an Espada.
Ferruccio sold Rossetti 51% of the company for US$600,000, thereby relinquishing
control of the automaker he had founded. He continued to work at the Sant'Agata
factory; Rossetti rarely involved himself in Automobili's affairs.

1973-1974: Ferruccio bows out

The 1973 oil crisis plagued the sales of high performance cars from
manufacturers around the world; the rising price of oil caused governments to
mandate new fuel economy laws, and consumers to seek smaller, more practical
modes of transportation. Sales of Lamborghini's exotic sports cars, propelled by
high-powered engines with little consideration for fuel efficiency, (the 1986
Countach, powered by a 5.2-litre evolution of the V12 engine, had a 6 mpg-US (39
L/100 km; 7.2 mpg-imp) city and 10 mpg-US (24 L/100 km; 12 mpg-imp) highway
United States Environmental Protection Agency rating[38]) suffered greatly.
In 1974, Ferruccio Lamborghini sold his remaining 49% stake in the company to
René Leimer, a friend of Georges-Henri Rossetti.[1] Having severed all
connections with the cars that bore his name, he retired to an estate on the
shores of Lake Trasimeno, in the frazione of Panicarola in Castiglione del Lago,
a town in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region of central Italy, where
he would remain until his last days.

The Countach, then the most popular and successful Lamborghini in history, was
in production from 1974 to 1988

1974-1977: The Rossetti-Leimer era
In 1974, the LP500 finally entered production as the Countach, powered by a
smaller, 4.0-litre V12. The first production model was delivered in 1974. In
1976, the Urraco P300 was revamped into the Silhouette, featuring a Targa top
and a 3-litre V8. Its poor build quality, reliability, and ergonomics all worked
against it, as did the fact that it could only be imported into the U.S. via the
"grey market". Only 54 were produced.The Countach was also hampered by its
lack of direct participation in the American market until the LP500 version,
released in 1982.

1978-1987: Bankruptcy and Mimran

The Jalpa, an update of the failed Silhouette, was the only new car released
during receivershipAs the years passed, Lamborghini's situation became even more
dire; the company entered bankruptcy in 1978, and the Italian courts took
control. They first appointed Dr. Alessandro Arteses to run the company's
operations, but a year later, Raymond Noima and Hubert Hahne, who was
Lamborghini’s German importer, were appointed to take over the running of the
company.In 1980, the Swiss Mimran brothers (Jean-Claude and Patrick),
famed food entrepreneurs with a passion for sports cars, were appointed to
administer the company during its receivership. During administration, the
automaker reworked the failed Silhouette into the Jalpa, which was powered by a
3.5-litre V8 that had been modified by former Maserati great, Giulio Alfieri.
More successful than the Silhouette, the Jalpa came closer to achieving the goal
of a more affordable, livable version of the Countach. The Countach was also
updated, finally allowing it to be sold in the U.S. with the release of the
LP500 model in 1982. By 1984, the company was officially in the hands of the
Swiss. The Mimrans began a comprehensive restructuring program, injecting large
amounts of capital into the floundering automaker. The Sant'Agata facilities
were rehabilitated, and a worldwide hiring campaign to find new engineering and
design talent began in earnest.

The LM002 sport-utility vehicle was introduced under Mimran ownershipThe
immediate results of the investment were good. A Countach "Quattrovolve",
producing a mighty 455 bhp, was released in 1984; the fumbling Cheetah project
resulted in the release of the Lamborghini LM002 sport utility vehicle in 1986.
However, despite the Mimrans' efforts, the investments proved insufficient to
revive the company. Seeking a large, stable financial partner, the brothers met
with representatives of one of America's "Big Three" automakers, the Chrysler
Corporation. In April 1987, in an acquisition spearheaded by Chrysler
chairman Lee Iacocca, the American company took control of the Italian
automaker, after paying out $33 million
to the Mimrans. According
to Jolliffe, the Mimran brothers were the only owners of Lamborghini to ever
make money out of the company, having sold it for many times the dollar amount
they paid for it six years earlier.

1987-1994: Chrysler takes over

Iacocca, who had previously orchestrated a near-miraculous turnaround of
Chrysler after the company nearly fell into bankruptcy, carried out his decision
to purchase Lamborghini with no challenges from the board of directors. Chrysler
people were appointed to Lamborghini's board, but many of the company's key
members remained in managing positions, including Alfieri, Marmiroli,
Venturelli, and Ceccarani. Ubaldo Sgarzi continued in his role as head of the
sales department.To begin its revival, Lamborghini received a cash
injection to the tune of $50 million. The automaker's new owner was
interested in entering the "extra premium" sports car market, which it estimated
at about 5,000 cars per year, worldwide. Chrysler aimed to produce a car to
compete with the Ferrari 328 by 1991, and also wanted the Italians to
produce an engine that could be used in a Chrysler car for the American market.
The decision was made to finally take the company into motorsport; the effort
would be known as Lamborghini Engineering S.p.A., and would develop engines for
Grand Prix teams. The new division was based in Modena, and given an initial
budget of $5 million.Danielle Audetto would be the manager, and Emile
Novaro the president; their first recruit was Mauro Forghieri, a man with a
stellar reputation in the world of motorsport, who had formerly managed
Ferrari's Formula 1 team. Forghiere set about designing a 3.5-litre V12 engine,
independent of road-car engine design undertaken at Sant'Agata.

Forghiere designed a V12 engine for Lamborghini's Formula 1 ventureAt the time,
Lamborghini was working on a successor to the Countach, the Diablo. The car's
original design had been penned by Marcello Gandini, the veteran who had penned
the exterior appearances of the Miura and the Countach while working for
coachbuilder Bertone. However, Chrysler executives, unimpressed with Gandini's
work, commissioned the American car-maker's own design team to execute a third
extensive redesign of the car's body, smoothing out the trademark sharp edges
and corners of Gandini's original design; the Italian was left famously
unimpressed with the finished product. The Diablo had been intended for
release in time for September 1988, when Lamborghini would celebrate its 25th
anniversary; once it was clear that mark would be missed, a final version of the
Countach was rushed into production instead.The Anniversary Countach was
later acclaimed as the finest version of the car to be built.
By the end of 1987, Emile Novaro had returned from his long recovery, and used
his authority to halt Chrysler's increasing interference in the development of
the Diablo. Much to the chagrin of the Fighting Bull, Chrysler exhibited a
four-door concept car at the Frankfurt Auto Show, badged as a 'Chrysler powered
by Lamborghini'. The Portofino was poorly received by the motoring press and
Lamborghini's employees alike, but went on to become the inspiration for the
Dodge Intrepid sedan.

In April 1988, the Bertone Genesis, a Quattrovalvole V12-powered,
Lamborghini-branded vehicle resembling a minivan was debuted at the Turin motor
show. The unusual car, intended to gauge public reactions, was abandoned, a
misfit in both Lamborghini's and Chrysler's product ranges.The Genesis had
been commissioned alongside the new "baby Lambo" that would replace the Jalpa,
occupying the then-empty space below the Diablo in Lamborghini's lineup. The
project had been allocated a $25 million budget, with the prospect of selling
more than 2,000 cars per year.

The Diablo was the fastest car in production when it was released in 1990The
Diablo was released to the public on January 21, 1990, at an event at the Hotel
de Paris in Monte Carlo. The Diablo was the fastest car in production in the
world at the time, and sales were so brisk that Lamborghini began to turn a
profit. The company's U.S. presence had previously consisted of loosely
affiliated and disorganized private dealer network; Chrysler established an
efficient franchise with full service and spare parts support. The company also
began to develop its V12 engines for powerboat racing. Profits increased past
the $1 million mark in 1991, and Lamborghini enjoyed a positive era.

1994-1997: Indonesian ownership

Setiawan Djody also owned supercar maker Vector (a Vector W8 is pictured here),
and hoped that Lamborghini and Vector would collaborate to the benefit of both
companiesThe uptick in fortunes was to be brief; in 1992, sales crashed, as the
$239,000 Diablo proved ultimately to be unaccessible to American enthusiasts.
With Lamborghini bleeding money, Chrysler decided that the automaker was no
longer producing enough cars to justify its investment. The American company
began looking for someone to take Lamborghini off its hands, and found it in a
holding company called MegaTech. The company was registered in Bermuda and
wholly owned by Indonesian conglomerate SEDTCO Pty., headed by businessmen
Setiawan Djody and Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of then-Indonesian President
Suharto. By February 1994, after $40 million had changed hands, Lamborghini had
left Italian ownership, and MegaTech took over the automaker, its Modena racing
engine factory, and the American dealer interest, Lamborghini USA.Djody, who
also owned a 35% stake in troubled American supercar manufacturer Vector Motors,
thought Vector and Lamborghini might be able to collaborate to improve their
output. Michael J. Kimberly, formerly of Lotus, Jaguar and executive
vice-president General Motors, was appointed president and managing director.
After reviewing the entire Lamborghini operation, Kimberly concluded that the
company needed to expand its offerings from more than just one or two models,
and provide a car accessible to American car enthusiasts. He implemented a
marketing strategy to raise awareness of Lamborghini's heritage and mystique. In
1995, Lamborghini produced a hit, when the Diablo was updated to the top-end
SuperVeloce model. But in 1995, even as sales were climbing, the company was
restructured, with Tommy Suharto's V'Power Corporation holding a 60% interest,
MyCom Bhd., a Malaysian company controlled by Jeff Yap, holding the other

The Diablo would be Lamborghini's mainstay throughout the 90s, and was
continuously updated throughout the various changes in ownershipNever leaving
the red despite its increase in sales, in November 1996 Lamborghini hired
Vittorio di Capua as President and CEO, hoping that the veteran of more than 40
years at auto giant Fiat S.p.A. could finally make the sports car maker
profitable again. Di Capua immediately launched cost-cutting measures, letting
go of a number of company executives and consultants, and overhauling production
in order to achieve a 50 percent gain in productivity. In 1997, Lamborghini
finally passed its break-even point, selling 209 Diablos, thirteen more than it
needed to be profitable. Di Capua also leveraged the Lamborghini name and
identity, implementing aggressive merchandising and licensing deals. Development
of the "baby Lambo" finally began, moving forward with a $100 million budget.
The financial crisis that gripped Asia in July of that year set the stage for
another ownership change. The new chairman of Volkswagen AG, Ferdinand Piëch,
grandson of Volkswagen's founder, Ferdinand Porsche, went on a buying spree
through 1998, which included the acquisition of Lamborghini for around $110
million. Lamborghini was purchased through Volkswagen's luxury car division,
AUDI AG. Audi spokesman Juergen de Graeve told the Wall Street Journal that
Lamborghini "could strengthen Audi's sporty profile, and on the other hand
Lamborghini could benefit from our technical expertise."

The Murciélago marked Lamborghini's return to economic stability

1999-present: Audi steps in

Only five years after leaving American ownership, Lamborghini was now under
German control. Yet again, the troubled Italian automaker was reorganized,
becoming restructured into a holding company, Lamborghini Holding S.p.A., with
Audi president Franz-Josef Paefgen as its chairman. Automobili Lamborghini
S.p.A. became a subsidiary of the holding company, allowing it to focus
specifically on designing and building cars while separate interests took care
of the company's licensing deals and marine engine manufacturing. Vittorio Di
Capua originally remained in charge, but eventually resigned in June 1999. He
was replaced by Giuseppe Greco, another industry veteran with experience at
Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Ferrari. The Diablo's final evolution, the GT, was
released, but not exported to the U.S., its low-volume production making it
uneconomical to go through the process of gaining emissions and crashworthiness
In much the same way that American ownership had influenced the design of the
Diablo, Lamborghini's new German parent played a large role in the creation of
the Diablo's replacement. The first new Lamborghini in more than a decade, known
internally as Project L140, represented the rebirth of Lamborghini, and was
named, fittingly, for the bull that originally sired the Miura line that had
inspired Ferruccio Lamborghini almost 40 years before: Murciélago. The new
flagship car was styled by Belgian Luc Donckerwolke, Lamborghini's new head of

The "Baby Lambo", envisioned in 1997, was introduced in 2003 as the
GallardoUnder German ownership, Lamborghini found stability that it had not seen
in many years. The automaker's cars, which had been notoriously
unreliable,[citation needed] benefited from renowned German engineering
knowledge and have resulted in the production of cars that preserve Italian
eccentricity while displaying the hallmarks of German efficiency.[citation
needed] In 2003, Lamborghini followed up the Murciélago with the smaller,
V10-equipped Gallardo, intended to be a more accessible and more livable than
the Murciélago. In 2007, Wolfgang Egger was appointed as the new head of design
of Audi and Lamborghini, replacing Walter de'Silva, who was responsible for the
design of only one car during his appointment, the Miura Concept of 2006. 2008
saw the release of the Murciélago-derived, stealth fighter-inspired Reventón, an
extremely limited-edition supercar that carried the distinction of being the
most powerful and expensive Lamborghini ever sold. The most recent Lamborghini
cars are the 2009 Murciélago LP 670-4 SV, a SuperVeloce version of Lamborghini's
halo supercar, and the 2009 Reventón Roadster.

Vehicle lineup
Main article: List of Lamborghini automobiles
Current range
As of 2009, the current range consists entirely of mid-engined two-seater sports
cars: the V12-powered Murciélago LP640, LP640 Roadster and LP670-4 SV, and the
smaller, V10-powered Gallardo LP560-4 and Spyder. Limited-edition versions of
these four cars are also produced from time to time.

Concept models

The Concept S, a Gallardo derivative
The Estoque, a 2008 sedan conceptThroughout its history, Lamborghini has
envisioned and presented a variety of concept cars, beginning in 1963 with the
very first Lamborghini prototype, the 350GTV. Other famous models include
Bertone's 1967 Marzal, 1974 Bravo, and 1980 Athon, Chrysler's 1987 Portofino,
the Italdesign-styled Cala from 1995, and the Zagato-built Raptor from 1996.
A retro-styled Lamborghini Miura concept car, the first creation of chief
designer Walter de'Silva, was presented in 2006. President and CEO Stephan
Winkelmann denied that the concept would be put into production, saying that the
Miura concept was "a celebration of our history, but Lamborghini is about the
future. Retro design is not what we are here for. So we won’t do the
At the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Lamborghini revealed the Estoque, a four-door
sedan concept. Although there had been much speculation regarding the Estoque's
eventual production, Lamborghini management has not made a decision
regarding production of what might be the first four-door car to roll out of the
Sant'Agata factory.


The Miura began as a clandestine prototype, a car that had racing pedigree in a
company that was entirely against motorsportIn contrast to his rival Enzo
Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini had decided early on that there would be no
factory-supported racing of Lamborghinis, viewing motorsport as too expensive
and too draining on company resources.This was unusual for the
time, as many sports car manufacturers sought to demonstrate the speed,
reliability, and technical superiority through motorsport participation. Enzo
Ferrari in particular was known for considering his road car business merely a
source of funding for his participation in motor racing. Ferrucio's policy led
to tensions between him and his engineers, many of whom were racing enthusiasts;
some had previously worked at Ferrari. When Dalara, Stanzani, and Wallace began
dedicating their spare time to the development of the P400 prototype, which
would eventually become the Miura. They designed it to be a road car with racing
pedigree, one that could win on the track and also be driven on the road by
enthusiasts. When Ferruccio discovered the project, he allowed them to go
ahead, seeing it as a potential marketing device for the company, while
insisting that it would not be raced.
The closest the company came to building a true race car under Lamborghini's
supervision were a few highly modified prototypes, including those built by
factory test driver Bob Wallace, such as the Miura SV-based "Jota" and the
Jarama S-based "Bob Wallace Special". Under the management of Georges-Henri
Rossetti, Lamborghini entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production
racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation. However, Lamborghini was
unable to fulfill its part of the agreement. The car was eventually developed
in-house by the BMW Motorsport Division, and was manufactured and sold as the

The 1991 Lotus 102B, which featured a Judd V8 in place of the unreliable
Lamborghini V12 used in the original 102In the 1980s, Lamborghini developed the
QVX for the 1986 Group C championship season. One car was built, but lack of
sponsorship caused it to miss the season. The QVX competed in only one race, the
non-championship 1986 Southern Suns 500 km race at Kyalami in South Africa,
driven by Tiff Needell. Despite the car finishing better than it started,
sponsorship could once again not be found and the program was cancelled.
Lamborghini was an engine supplier in Formula One between the 1989 and 1993
Formula One seasons. It supplied engines to Larrousse (1989-1990,1992-1993),
Lotus (1990), Ligier (1991), Minardi (1992), and to the Modena team in 1991.
While the latter is commonly referred to as a factory team, the company saw
themselves as a supplier, not a backer. The 1992 Larrousse–Lamborghini was
largely uncompetitive but noteworthy in its tendency to spew oil from its
exhaust system. Cars following closely behind the Larrousse were commonly
colored yellowish-brown by the end of the race.[citation needed]
In late 1991, a Lamborghini Formula One motor was used in the Konrad KM-011
Group C sports car, but the car only lasted a few races before the project was
canceled. The same engine, re-badged a Chrysler by Lamborghini's then parent
company, was tested by McLaren towards the end of the 1993 season, with the
intent of using it during the 1994 season. Although driver Ayrton Senna was
reportedly impressed with the engine's performance, McLaren pulled out of
negotiations, choosing a Peugeot engine instead, and Chrysler ended the project.

A Murcielago R-GT participating in the FIA GT Championship at Silverstone in
2006Two racing versions of the Diablo were built for the Diablo Supertrophy, a
single-model racing series held annually from 1996 to 1999. In the first year,
the model used in the series was the Diablo SVR, while the Diablo 6.0 GTR was
used for the remaining three years.Lamborghini developed the Murciélago
R-GT as a production racing car to compete in the FIA GT Championship, the Super
GT Championship and the American Le Mans Series in 2004. The car's highest
placing in any race that year was the opening round of the FIA GT Championship
at Valencia, where the car entered by Reiter Engineering finished third from a
fifth-place start. In 2006, during the opening round of the Super GT
championship at Suzuka, a car run by the Japan Lamborghini Owners Club garnered
the first victory (in class) by an R-GT. A GT3 version of the Gallardo has been
developed by Reiter Engineering. A Murciélago R-GT entered by
racing, driven by Christophe Bouchut and Stefan Mücke, won the opening round of
the FIA GT Championship held at Zhuhai International Circuit, achieving the
first major international race victory for Lamborghini.


The Lamborghini wordmark, as displayed on the back of its carsThe world of
bullfighting is a key part of Lamborghini's identity. In 1962,
Ferruccio Lamborghini visited the Seville ranch of Don Eduardo Miura, a renowned
breeder of Spanish fighting bulls. Lamborghini, a Taurus himself, was so
impressed by the majestic Miura animals that he decided to adopt a raging bull
as the emblem for the automaker he would open shortly.
After producing two cars with alphanumeric designations, Lamborghini once again
turned to the bull breeder for inspiration. Don Eduardo was filled with pride
when he learned that Ferruccio had named a car for his family and their line of
bulls; the fourth Miura to be produced was unveiled to him at his ranch in

The automaker would continue to draw upon the bullfighting connection in future
years. The Islero was named for the Miura bull that killed the famed bullfighter
Manolete in 1947. Espada is the Spanish word for sword, sometimes used to refer
to the bullfighter himself. The Jarama's name carried a special double meaning;
intended to refer only to the historic bullfighting region in Spain, Ferruccio
was concerned about confusion with the also historic Jarama motor racing

The Diablo (background) was named for a legendary bull, while the Countach
(foreground) broke from the bullfighting traditionAfter christening the Urraco
after a bull breed, in 1974, Lamborghini broke from tradition, naming the
Countach not for a bull, but for countach!, an
exclamation of astonishment used by Piedmontese men upon sighting a beautiful
woman. Legend has it that stylist Nuccio Bertone uttered the word in
surprise when he first laid eyes on the Countach prototype, "Project 112".
The LM002 sport utility vehicle and the Silhouette were other exceptions to the
The Jalpa of 1982 was named for a bull breed; Diablo, for the Duke of Veragua's
ferocious bull famous for fighting an epic battle against "El Chicorro" in
Madrid in 1869;Murciélago, the legendary bull whose life was spared by
"El Lagartijo" for his performance in 1879; Gallardo, named for one of the five
ancestral castes of the Spanish fighting bull breed;and Reventón, the bull
that defeated young Mexican torero Félix Guzmán in 1943. The Estoque concept of
2008 was named for the estoc, the sword traditionally used by matadors during

Corporate affairs

Lamborghini is structured as part of the Lamborghini Group, consisting of a
holding company, Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A., with three separate
companies: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., manufacturer of cars; Motori Marini
Lamborghini S.p.A., maker of marine engines; and Automobili Lamborghini
Artimarca S.p.A., the licensing and merchandising company.
Motori Marini Lamborghini produces a large V12 marine engine block for use in
powerboat racing, notably the World Offshore Series Class 1. The engine
displaces around 8,171 cc (499 cu in) with an output of around 940 hp (700
Automobili Lamborghini Artimarca licenses Automobili Lamborghini's name and
image for use on other companies' products and accessories. Examples include a
variety of apparel items, various model car lines, and the ASUS Lamborghini VX
series notebook computers.

Sales history

This section requires expansion.
YearUnits sold
Ferruccio Lamborghini (1963–1972)
Georges-Henri Rossetti and René Leimer (1972-1977)
Receivership (1977-1984)
Patrick Mimran (1984-1987)
Chrysler Corporation (1987-1994)
1991 673
1992 166
1993 215
MegaTech (1994-1995)
V'Power and Mycom Sedtco (1995-1998)
1996 211
1997 209
AUDI AG (1998-present)
1999 264
2000 291
2001 280
2002 442
2003 1,357
2004 1,678
2005 1,436
2006 2,095
2007 2,580
2008 2,424
2009 (first half) 825

Lamborghini of Latin America

Automóviles Lamborghini Latinoamérica S.A. (English: Lamborghini Automobiles of
Latin America S.A.) is a Mexican company that builds cars bearing the
Lamborghini name under license from the Italian automaker. The licensing
agreement was struck in 1995, while Automobili Lamborghini was owned by
Indonesian corporation MegaTech and helmed by Michael Kimberly. The Mexican
group was allowed to sell merchandise related to Lamborghini, and the contract
included a clause that allowed them to "carry on the promotion and sale
worldwide, of the vehicles which are manufactured or assembled with its "own
restyling" within the Territory of the Mexican United States, and/or
Latinoamerica." Automóviles Lamborghini has produced two rebodied
versions of the Diablo called the Eros and the Coatl under its licensing
agreement. The company is currently led by Jorge Antonio Fernandez Garcia.


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