Founded by Tractor manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini in 1963. Lamborghini was a wealthy man and when the Ferrari he owned began to give him problems and his local repair shop could not solve these problems, he took the car directly to Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari, who was a man known for his arrogance told Lamborghini the problem was not with the car but rather with the ‘Farmer’ behind the wheel and that he should go and drive tractors because he could not drive cars. Lamborghini who was an enthusiastic owner of sport cars and had already built several kit cars and was also one of the wealthiest men in Italy, decided he would build his own cars.
The first car was the Lamborghini 350GT, which had a 3.5 litre V12 engine closely followed by the 400GT which was a 2+2 seated sports car, with an enlarged 3929cc version of the 3.5 litre engine found in the 350GT. Producing 320bhp.
The car which most people think of as the first Lamborghini is the Miura , which used a 3.9 litre V12 producing 350bhp. It had a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 179mph which was always hairy to try as the fuel tank was at the front and as it emptied the front end would lift at speeds of over 150mph.
The next Lamborghini that most people remember is the Countach, maybe because posters of the Countach adorned many a bedroom wall in the mid 70’s to early 80’s. Its fair to say the Countach looked like nothing before it. Originally fitted with a 4 litre engine, producing 385bhp with later models having a 5.2 litre engine with 455bhp. The later model could get from 0-60 in 4.9seconds and sprint to 182mph.
Although the Countach was stunning to look at and had superb performance it was noted as being difficult to drive due to heavy steering, heavy gear changes and heavy clutch movement, as well as having virtually zero rearward visibility making parking very difficult.
The next vehicle to emerge from Lamborghini, which blew the world away was the Diablo, the replacement for the Countach. Introduced in 1990 with a 5.7 litre, 48 valve, V12 engine producing 492 bhp with 580 Nm (428 lbs.ft.) of torque at 5200 rpm. With a 0-60 time of 3.9 secs and a top speed of 202mph in earlier models, rising to 208mph in later vehicles. By the end of the Diablo in 2001 the engine size had risen to 6 litres, with 550 bhp and also gained a 4WD system.
Perhaps the most memorable thing most people will remember about the Countach and the Diablo is the way the doors opened which was upwards and forwards.
Most recently Lamborghini has been purchased by Audi, with the Murcielago and Gallardo models having been released, these cars are capable of 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and 4.2 seconds respectively. The Gallardo will crack 190mph and the Murcielago will top over 200mph.
Lamborghini Diablo, Lamborghini Mercialargo.