Lamborghini is an Italian luxury sports car manufacturer that launched in 1963. This automaker is named for Ferruccio Lamborghini, who was an Italian industrialist and a car collector. It was Lamborghini’s experience owning Ferraris that encouraged him to launch his own enterprise. That company now is owned by Volkswagen and managed by its Audi subsidiary.
Like most brands, Lamborghini traces its roots to humble beginnings. In his younger years, Ferruccio Lamborghini tinkered with Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia models before casting his eyes on some of Europe’s finest models of the day. Before launching his automotive business, he built tractors, creating wealth through agricultural means. It was his wealth that enabled him to head to a small Italian village in an effort to build a better car than Ferrari. Lamborghini thought Ferraris were suitable for the track, but he found them to be too rough and noisy for the street.
Lamborghini’s initial model was the 350GT, which had a V12 engine. He followed with the 400GT. But the model that propelled Lamborghini onto the world stage was the mid-engined Miura, which was produced from 1967 to 1973.
Financial problems forced Lamborghini to sell off pieces of his namesake company during the 1970s. In 1974, Lamborghini brought the mid-engined Countach to the market. Produced for 16 years, the company built just over 2,000 units. Two other models also were offered in the 1970s: the four-seat Urraco and the rare Silhouette sports car. By the end of the 1970s, the Lamborghini company had declared bankruptcy, although its founder already had left.
Now in the hands of a Swiss industrialist, Lamborghini still had the Countach and a second model, the Jalpa, to offer. The Jalpa was a two-door model with a Targa top that Lamborghini produced from 1981 to 1988. When production ended, there was no immediate follow-up model.
In 1987, the Chrysler Corporation acquired Lamborghini, then sold it to three Asian companies in 1994. In the meantime, Lamborghini brought the Diablo coupe and roadster to the market in 1990 to replace the Countach.
The Volkswagen Group purchased Lamborghini in 1998, adding this sports car brand to its expanding portfolio. In 2001, Lamborghini replaced the Diablo with the Murcielago. Once again, the new model featured a mid-engine layout, a 12-cylinder engine, rear-wheel drive and coupe and roadster versions.
Beginning in 2004, Lamborghini expanded its product line by adding a second model, the Gallardo. Maintaining a traditional mid-engine layout, the Gallardo has a V10 engine and comes in coupe and roadster body styles. The Gallardo quickly became Lamborghini’s most popular model. It included several special edition versions across its 11-year run.
In 2007, Lamborghini introduced the Reventón, its most expensive model to date. With a cost of $1.5 million, the Reventón was limited to just 21 units, including one that is on display at Lamborghini’s museum. A roadster version arrived a few years later and was limited to a run of 15. Other specialty models included the all-wheel-drive Veneno, which appeared in 2013.
In 2011, Lamborghini replaced the Murcielago with the Aventador. Special edition versions followed, including one marking the 100th anniversary of its founder’s birth.
Beginning in 2014, the Lamborghini Huracán rolled out, replacing the Gallardo. This model builds on the mechanics of the Gallardo and offers available all-wheel drive.
Like Rolls-Royce, Bentley and select other top-tier brands, Lamborghini now has an SUV. The Lamborghini Urus is a five-door SUV with room for four or five people. It isn’t the first SUV made by the company, as Lamborghini offered military-specification models in the 1970s and 1980s.
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