The history of ‘Lamborghini Automobili’ officially starts in 1963. Nevertheless, we must consider the far-off roots of this event, and they are the roots of Ferruccio Lamborghini. Born in 1916, this capable, impetuous, strong-willed Taurus was the leading character in the foundation of the company and the early phases of its extraordinary history.
By May 1963 he had already founded ‘ Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini’, buying a large plot of land in Sant’Agata Bolognese, about 25 kilometres from Bologna, to build a new large and ultramodern factory.
The first model was naturally put out quickly, given that Lamborghini had only a few months between the time he decided to build the factory and the date set for its official presentation. For the engine, which had to be the best V12 made in the area – and thus in the world – he immediately turned to Giotto Bizzarrini, who had designed some of Ferrari’s most recent engines. For the rest of the car and to start up production, he hired two promising young engineers, Giampaolo Dallara and Giampaolo Stanzani. This was a considerable endeavour and time was short. Nevertheless, when the 350 GTV, was presented it was already a masterpiece.
In 1964, 350 GT was born. The immediate and almost inevitable offshoot of the 350 GT, of which 120 were built, was the 400 GT. Its engine was increased to a four-litre model and it featured the first gearbox designed in-house by Lamborghini. Based initially on the two-seater body, which was later developed into the 400 GT 2+2 with two occasional seats behind the two regular ones, the 400 GT reached the respectable overall production figure of 273 units.
In the 60s, the Miura was also born. Announced at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show it took the world by storm. It was the most stunning road car in the world. Enthusiasm was sky-high and, in a sensational coup, Lamborghini managed to raise it even higher by bringing the Miura to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the most exciting weekend for sports cars in general and for top-level Italian ones in particular.
n 1972, the Urraco, which had experienced several initial slowdowns, was finally put into production. Almost inevitably, the S version also arrived in October of that year. In this case, the goal was not to enhance the car’s performance but to improve its overall quality, which had been neglected in the haste to start production.
The following year, while waiting for the Countach prototype to be developed to a stage that would enable its production, the Espada was further modified and perfected, and the new series was presented in October 1972.
New wheels as well as perfected detailing of the entire body, the dashboard, the central instrument panel and various components characterised this well-made Series III.
This last series essentially represented the decisive peak in the evolution of this outstanding four-seater, which is still in great demand among Lamborghini fans around the world. Its production would reach the respectable figure of 1226 units, quite a large number for a carmaker of this size selling at top-level list prices.
The production model of the Countach was codenamed LP 400 because its V12 – positioned longitudinally behind the cockpit – was increased to an ideal displacement of 4 litres (3929 cc). This model debuted at the 1973 Geneva Motor Show.
The Countach’s successor was presented in 1990. The 132 was dubbed the Diablo, the name of a particularly fierce fighting bull of the nineteenth century, and it proved to be up to expectations. The Countach’s follower could not be a conventional car, of course, and it had to be extreme, spectacular, forceful and uncommon: the Diablo, with its 492 hp generated by a 5.7-litre V12, was all this – and more.