Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., commonly referred to as Lamborghini, is an Italian manufacturer of sports cars, based in the small Italian village of Sant'Agata Bolognese, near Bologna. The company was founded in 1963 by businessman Ferruccio Lamborghini, who owned a successful tractor factory, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A..
The 350GT was followed by the 400GT. Profits from the 400GT and its predecessor gave the company ample capital to design its first sports car, the Lamborghini Miura. The chassis of the new Miura was introduced by Ferruccio himself at the November 1965 Turin Auto Show. The car's engine was transversely mounted. The styling was executed by Marcello Gandini in less than a year. The completed car was displayed at the March 1966 Geneva Auto Show. The car's name was taken from the famed fighting-bull trainer, Don Eduardo Miura. One hundred and eleven Miuras were sold in 1967. Seven hundred and sixty-one were made in total. The Miura propelled the company into the small world of exotic car manufacturers.
The Espada, a four-seat car based on the Marzal concept car, was developed alongside of the Miura. The name Espada means sword in Spanish, and referred to the sword used by the matador in bullfighting. Using the 4-litre V12 in a conventional front engine layout, the low-slung touring car could attain a top speed of approximately . An interesting feature of the Espada was a glass taillight panel that used the same taillights as the contemporary Fiat 124 Coupé. The Espada received minor improvements over its production, resulting in three distinct series.
In 1971, Lamborghini produced the LP500 Countach prototype. The Countach was named after an Italian dialect term uttered in surprise by Nuccio Bertone upon seeing the car for the first time. The production LP400 Countach was introduced three years later. The prototype was the first car to sport Lamborghini's now-traditional scissor doors, along with vertically mounted rear air intakes. The Countach's V12 engine initially had the same 4-litre capacity as the Miura, but this was enlarged to five litres upon the introduction of the LP500S Countach in 1982. The Countach was one of the first cars to use the Pirelli "P-Zero" tires. Lamborghini's test driver would often demonstrate the Countach's abilities to journalists. A detail noted by journalists was the manner in which a Countach was reversed; the driver would raise the door and sit on the door sill.
The company suffered a major setback in 1972 when a massive tractor order from a South American nation was canceled. In preparation of the order, Lamborghini had made upgrades to its factories to accommodate the increase in demand. Financial complications forced Ferruccio to sell part of his share of the tractor factory to Fiat. The tractor business was eventually acquired by SAME (now Same Deutz-Fahr). Lamborghini tractors are still sold today, as part of the SAME Deutz-Fahr Group.
Eventually, the automobile division became self-sufficient and profitable. Lamborghini, however, sold all his remaining stock in the company to a Swiss investor and left the automotive industry.
In a surprise move, the company was bought by the Chrysler Corporation in 1987 with the acquisition being driven by Lee Iacocca, Chrysler's chairman at the time. Lamborghini was then working on the Countach's successor, the Diablo. The basic design of the Diablo was by Marcello Gandini, who designed the Miura and the Countach while at Bertone. The design was further developed by Chrysler, which brought its resources, including design input, pollution controls, and new manufacturing techniques, into this development. Chrysler's experience with the design of mass market vehicles improved areas of practicality and comfort that had been neglected earlier, including noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), engineering, and ergonomics..
Under the new management, Lamborghini began a renaissance in the world markets, with a complete revision of its international dealer network and the implementation of highly proactive marketing strategies. Sales increased from 101 in 1993 to 301 in 1994 and 414 in 1995. Large stocks of cars held by the dealers were sold through aggressive marketing programmes and new models introduced to create a shortage of product in the market reinforcing the exclusive image and premium value of Lamborghini product.
The Lamborghini Diablo SV (Sport Veloce) was launched in 1995. Inspired by the Lamborghini Miura SV, the Diablo SV featured a more powerful 525bhp V12 engine featuring variable cam timing technology (MMEC) developed by Lamborghini. The Diablo SV became the best selling version of the Diablo.
The Lamborghini Diablo SVR was also introduced in 1996 and used to compete in the one-make racing series developed by Stephane Rattel and sponsored by Lease Plan.
Megatech sold the company in 1997 as a result of changing circumstances in Indonesia and therefore an inability to fund the future business plan produced by Kimberley's team.
Lamborghini was bought by Audi AG, who had gained interest in the Italian company after being one of several major manufacturers approached as possible technical suppliers for major components for future Lamborghini models. After a complex series of transactions, Audi AG became the sole owner of Automobili Lamborghini.
Lamborghini's latest owner once again greatly influenced the design of its cars, including the Murcielago. Audi's vast technical resources helped produce one of Lamborghini's most sophisticated cars to date.
|Audi Takeover in 1998|
Since 2003, Automóviles Lamborghini Latinoamérica have not built any cars. In 2003, they asked the Argentinian Government to invest in the company, but their request was not granted. .
|400GT 2+2||1966–1968||Lamborghini V12|
The current (2008) range consists of the Murciélago LP640, the Murciélago LP640 Roadster and the smaller, less expensive Gallardo LP560/4 and Gallardo Spyder, after production of the Gallardo Superleggera ceased earlier this year. All are extremely fast, mid-engined 2-seaters. The Murciélago LP640, the Murciélago LP640 Roadster and the Gallardo LP560-4 come with Lamborghini's standard four-wheel drive systems. Their styling is largely the work of Belgian designer Luc Donckerwolke.
The current head of design for Audi and Lamborghini is Wolfgang Egger.
Future models may include a rear-wheel-drive version of the Gallardo, and possibly an SUV in the spirit of the LM002. At the 2008 Paris Motor Show Lamborghini revealed the Estoque Concept - a four door sedan.
Under the management of Rosetti, Lamborghini entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation. However, Lamborghini found itself unable to fulfill their part of the agreement. The car was eventually developed in-house by the BMW Motorsport Division, and was manufactured and sold as the BMW M1.
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 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, Ligier, Lotus, Minardi, and to a 'Lamborghini' team, although this last was not viewed as a works team by the car company. 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.
Late in 1991, a Lamborghini Formula One motor would be used in the Konrad KM-011 Group C sports car, but the car would only last a few races before the project was canceled. The same engine, badged as a Chrysler, by Lamborghini's then parent company, was tested by McLaren towards the end of the 1993 season, with a view to its use 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.
Two 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. Their 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 Murciélago R-GT entered by All-Inkl.com 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.
Lamborghini have for some years produced a larger V12 marine engine block for use in powerboat racing, notably the World Offshore Series Class 1. This engine is produced with a typical displacement of around 8500cc/510ci with an output of around .