It wasn’t always about sports cars for Ferruccio Lamborghini. He made a career building far more rudimentary items before he ever dreamt about ‘the perfect car’. In 1948 Ferruccio started Lamborghini Trattori, a tractor business. Then in 1959 he opened Lamborghini Bruciatori, an oil heater factory that went on to make air conditioners.
It wasn’t until 1963 that Ferruccio birthed Automobili Lamborghini. Ferruccio was successful in his own right by this stage, and was frustrated by the shortcomings of the Ferraris he had bought. He took his complaints all the way to Enzo Ferrari. Enzo was less than entertained by Ferruccio’s grievances, and the episode kicked off a fierce rivalry between the two men. Ferruccio started his own sports car business to beat Enzo at his own game.
The 10 vehicles listed here are the Lamborghinis we consider to be the most intriguing. Some are famous, some are not so well-known. Regardless of how each model was received at the time, they have all contributed to the Lamborghini legend. Ferruccio and the company he founded will forever be remembered for their role in shaping the motoring world today.
1964 LAMBORGHINI 350 GT
This is the first production Lamborghini road car. The 350 GT featured a 3.5-litre V12 engine in the front, producing 209kW. It later grew to 3.9-litres and 239kW to become the 400 GT in 1965. Lamborghini built 344 of them.
1966 LAMBORGHINI MIURA
The Lamborghini Miura is one of the most famous Lamborghinis, and arguably the most beautiful car ever. It is often hailed as the original supercar. The Miura was released in a number of variants, the most desirable being the Muira SV which had wider tyres and the most power – 287kW – from the 4.0-litre V12 mounted in the middle of the car.
1974 LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH
It’s hard to imagine another car that has adorned more bedroom and garage walls than the Lamborghini Countach. Its early form was the prettiest, but the outrageously dramatic styling of the 1980s models was what made the Countach so unforgettable. Almost 2000 were built, with the monstrous 339kW 5.2-litre QV the king of the castle.
1986 LAMBORGHINI LM002
The LM002 was what Lamborghini built from the leftovers of an abandoned plan to make military off-roaders. It has been named as one of the worst cars in the world, though that is probably too harsh. It had the same V12 engine as the Countach, and earned the nickname ‘Rambo Lambo’ after Sylvester Stallone bought one. Mike Tyson had one, too.
1951 LAMBORGHINI L 33
Ferruccio was very proud of his tractors. He was born into a family of grape farmers, and after the Second World War he took advantage of the need for agriculture supplies, even building tractors by repurposing military machines. The L 33 was the first production tractor made entirely by Lamborghini, with the exception of the 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine supplied by Morris. Ferruccio’s tractor business was very successful.
1990 LAMBORGHINI DIABLO
Diablo was the Countach for the ‘90s. It took Lamborghini a long time to replace the iconic Countach, but when it finally launched the Diablo it really made its mark. Early cars had a reputation for torturing drivers with extremely heavy steering and clutch action. The more refined all-wheel drive VT models were better.
1968 LAMBORGHINI ESPADA
Espada was the original four-seater supercar. Despite its landmark status and strong sales when new, it remains one of the lesser-known cars on this list. Espada stayed in the Lamborghini line-up for 10 years, a total of 1217 were built during that time. Lamborghini has only revisited the four-seater sports car idea in concept form since.
2003 LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO
The closest Lamborghini has ever come to a car for the masses. Gallardo sold in huge numbers during its lifetime, more than 14,000 of them were made. It featured a 5.0-litre V10 engine behind the two front seats that made 368kW and an almighty soundtrack. Power went up towards the end of its life and across several special editions and formed the basis for the first Audi supercar, the R8.
1986 LAMBORGHINI MOTORCYCLE
The Lamborghini motorcycle is one of the most unique pieces of the company’s history. Ferruccio was still alive when it launched, though it was not a project he was involved with. Lamborghini was bought in 1978 by Patrick Mimran who set about putting the Lamborghini name on other products. Lambo V12 engines went into speedboats with great success. In the mid-80s a motorcycle was styled by the Lamborghini design team, and then built in France using a Kawasaki engine. Orders were accepted for 50 bikes, but only six were built.
2011 LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR
The Aventador is the Lamborghini of the moment. In some ways it is a styling evolution of the Murcielago it replaced, though under the skin it is radically different. A brand-new V12 was introduced with Aventador and remains one of the most awe-inspiring engines ever built. In standard form the revvy 6.5-litre V12 produces 515kW at 8250rpm.
Now read about Lamborghini's latest creation - the Lamborghini Centenario.