I love Lamborghini ’cause its a bad ass company – The house of the raging bull. The definition of the poster car. The very essence of Italian! Except it’s also been Swiss and American and Indonesian and Malaysian and now it’s German. And it all started, because a Taurus with a weird bull obsession, was really good at building tractors and he hated Ferrari. This is everything you need to know to get up to speed on my favorite car company, Lambor (*fkn*) ghini! Foo-roo-gee-oh? Foo-roo-kee-oh. Ferruccio Lamborghini had made a fortune building tractors. Dude had a tractor empire. What do you do when you’re rich A F in Italy? You buy a bunch of Ferraris.
They were race cars for the road, as in the interior sucked and the clutches kept goin’ out. Which, when that happened, you gotta tow the thing to Maranello to get it fixed. Molto annoying. Lamborghini felt that for the chunk of cash he was throwing down for these things, they should be perfect. He complained to Enzo Ferrari about this. I buy a lot of cars from you, I made all these tractors. And Ferrari was like, “who the (bleep) is this guy? “Get the (bleep) outta here, dude.” Ferruccio was pissed. So Lamborghini and his tractor boys modified one of his Ferrari 250 GTs and the sh*t was better than the stock one. And Lamborghini was like, “(bleep) Enzo Ferrari, tractor boys, we’re making cars now.” He recruited the best of the best in the Italian Auto Industry, including ex-Ferrari engineer, Giotto Bizzarrini.
Lamborghini ordered him to make a V12 engine, but specifically one that could be used on the road. Not some crazy, unreliable race engine. So immediately, Bizzarrini built a crazy, unreliable race engine. This thing could rev up to 11,000 RPM and made 400 horsepower, which was insane! He wanted to push the engine even further, but Ferruccio was like, “Nah, This is a road car.” They de-tuned it for the road, and the legendary Lamborghini V12 was born. A true masterpiece! So good that they continued to use variants of it until 2010. They continued to slave away in the barn or whatever and in 1964, the 350 GT popped out. To name the car, he basically just added 100 to the name Ferrari 250 GT. I (bleep) love this dude. The press thought it was great. Stylish, fast, and well built. Suck it, Enzo! (crowd cheers) The 350 GT was updated to the 400 GT a year later.
So, Lamborghini had done it. He’d made a genuinely good sports car. It really couldn’t get any better. Unless of course, they could somehow single handedly invent an entirely new category of vehicle, but what are the odds of that happening? Ferruchio Lamborghini wanted to make road cars, not crazy race cars like Enzo Ferrari, but his engineers in secret decided to spec out a race car anyway. As they worked on it, they came up with some bat shit ideas. A mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, sports car that was light, planted, and it has the V12! To everyone’s surprise, when the engineers pitched the idea to Lamborghini, he was like, do it! I mean, he figured it might be a good marketing stunt. He even guessed they might sell a few models, like 50, total, tops. The result was the Lamborghini Miura, named after Don Eduardo Miura, a famous bull rancher and Lamborghini’s friend. It’s basically one of the most influential cars ever. With the massive engine right behind the cockpit, it was the very first of the modern concept of super car.
In fact, nearly all modern super cars use some variation of the basic Miura layout. That’s how influential it was and is. It’s probably the best looking car ever. I mean, it has eyelashes. It’s like the automotive version of me. Oh, one other small detail, it was the fastest car in the (bleep) world! Sup, Ferrari? Oh no, you heard about my Miura? Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s the fastest car in the world. Whatever. Still dating Trent, or whatever? It’s cool I just want you to be happy.
Success is the best revenge. In 1968, they debuted the Islero, named after one of Don Miura’s bulls. Kind of looks like an Aston Martin with popup headlights. Roger Moore owned one. James Bond. The next year they introduced the Espada, a big, funky, super, 70’s looking Gran Tour, and possibly the most practical Lamborghini ever. Finally! A Lamborghini that I can put my kids in the back of. It was named after a famous bull fighter’s sword.
Ferruchio Lamborghini apparently loves three things: cars, bulls, and his sweet friend, Don Miura. The smaller V8 powered Jarama? Ha-ra-mah, huh-ra-mah? Followed and was really when Lamborghini’s famous wedge shapes started to come into focus. Lamborghini was well and truly off to the races with a great product line up, the hottest badge in town, and increasing sales, but somehow for all his success, tractor-man had forgotten to make a profit. Oops! With mounting money troubles, the man behind the Miura sold a 51% stake in his company to George Henry Rosetti, a Swiss business man and personal friend. This guy frickin’ loves his friends! Things only got worse when in 1973 the oil crisis struck and rendered gas-guzzling super-cars obsolete. Having proven to Enzo Ferrari that he could make great cars, and tired of wrestling with all the financial problems, Ferruccio Lamborghini retired in 1974, selling his remaining stake to Renee Lamer, a friend of Rossetti’s. Under new management with an oil crisis and money troubles mounting, there was nothing for the company to do, except? To release the craziest darn car ever made! **80s beat intensifies** The Countach in 1974 really marked the moment when Lamborghini the company stopped worrying about being sensible and just let their imaginations run wild.
Shaped more like a rocket ship than a car, the Countach featured a bold, angular form, and was wider than Chris Christie. Altogether it was a standout car for the decade. Armed with that good old V12, now up to 4 liters, the Countach became an icon of excess. I.E. success. But most importantly, it introduced the world to the most significant piece of art to ever come out of Italy: Lambo-doors. The Countach wasn’t even sold in the United States until 1982 where it legally had to be fitted with these ugly front bumpers. As always. The Countach never failed to capture the imagination, and was a smash hit in America when it finally got here. Lambo’s next car was the Silhouette which was basically an updated Urraco and an attempt at building a more attainable Lamborghini.
Unfortunately, it was plagued with reliability issues and failed to cast much of a shadow on the market. Meanwhile, still wrestling with financial problems, Lambo took a contract to develop SUVs for the American military. I know man. Life is weird. They created a few prototypes of the Cheetah, unlike anything they had ever done before. The military never bought them and the contract never made them any money. At the same time, a deal with BMW to produce racing cars fell through when Lamborghini failed to make any. That one’s on them. With no other options left, the company filed for bankruptcy just like my dad. The solution, as always, more Swiss men.
Specifically, the brothers Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimrin, who were sugar magnates. What’s a magnate? A rich boy? My dream is to become an educational automotive video magnate. The Countach continued to sell and the company introduced an updated version of the Silhouette called the Jalpa. Jall-pa. Helpa? Jalpa. The Swiss sugar boys loved their new company and decided it was time to make an all new car! What manner of awesome sports car did they make you ask? Another SUV! Duh! They revived the Cheetah military project and turned it into a civilian super luxe, super fast SUV called the LM002, or the Rambo Lambo. But unfortunately in the 80’s, the world just wasn’t ready for it yet. And so once again, Lamborghini’s engine stalled, and the company was in dire straits. After Chrysler’s bargain bin purchase for $25 million. You heard that, right? $25 million, for an entire car company. The now technically American company completed work on their replacement to the legendary Countach. The Diablo! Ya ever heard of it? It’s named after a famous bird.
Just kidding, it’s named after a bull. The 485 horsepower, V12 Diablo was the fastest car in the world when it debuted. It was a statement on the new, new Lamborghini, and it was a roaring success when it was released in 1990. It also did this really weird thing that was like totally new for Lamborghini, it made money. Lambo finally turned a decent profit. Things were going well so immediately things fell apart. Once the shine of the Diablo wore off, and newer, faster super cars hit the market, sales plummeted. Chrysler sold Lamborghini to a Malaysian conglomerate who basically didn’t do anything except continue to produce the Diablo. But, in 1998, enter ze Germans.
Booya, booya! – To celebrate my 8th grade graduation the Volkswagen group, my other favorite car company, took ownership of Lamborghini. This is the beginning of modern Lamborghini. Ze Germans, wanted a brand new car to represent a brand new chapter for the now German Lamborghini. And so the company got to work on a replacement for the Diablo. 2001! Enter the Murcielago, named after the original bull in Miura’s stable. Armed with a 572 horsepower V12, still based on that original engine as well as that signature, angular wedged form. Lamborghini Marcielago brought the house of the raging bull into the 21st century! And 2 years later, it got a baby brother. For the first time in decades, Lamborghini unveiled a second product to their lineup with the Gallardo. It was a more affordable, totally unaffordable car and Lamborghini really held themselves back and only put a V10 in it.
Now, that’s restraint. The Murcielago sold well, but the Gallardo sold just a, As in, by the end of its run, 50% of all Lambos ever sold were Gallardos. Not bad, baby Lambo. Not bad. Lamborghini had its best year ever in 2008. All the down turns, all the bad news were over. The only thing that could bring Lambo down now, would be a worldwide financial crisis and global stock market collapse. Fortunately, none of those things happened in 2008. (bleep), it did! – Oh my God, okay, it’s happening. Everybody stay calm! – Suddenly, orange super cars didn’t seem like a great investment anymore. Audi and the Volkswagen group kept their faith alive and didn’t sell Lamborghini.
Lamborghini was like that foster kid who had bounced around from different homes and then he got in trouble and he was like, are you gonna give me back? Sandra Bullock was like, “Give you back? We love you! It’s a great story and their faith was rewarded as sales started to rebound in 2011. Helping them out that year, was the release of their newest car: The Aventador, named after, what else? A bull, they’re all named after bulls. Replacing the decade old Murcielago, the Aventador leaned even harder into the angular aesthetic and looked more like a stealth fighter, than a car. It also carried a brand new, built-from-scratch V12 engine. As Lamborghini finally retired Giotto Bizzarrini’s original masterpiece, after 50 long years of service, they gave it a gold watch and it moved to Florida where it now owns a Jimmy Buffet restaurant. And right now, this minute, Lamborghini seemed to be doing pretty well for themselves. After all these years and all those stumbles, the company is still here and still producing batsh*t crazy super-cars that are icons of excess.
Under Audi Volkswagen, their ownership has been stable for almost 20 years. Everything’s great! Which means they’re probably gonna tank, right about. That’s everything you need to know to get up to speed on the marvelous Lamborghini. On that note, everyone please send me a dollar so I can buy a Lamborghini. Don’t worry. The WRX episode is coming up. I swear to Colin McRae.