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Automobili-Lamborghini S.p.A., commonly referred to as Lamborghini, is a subsidiary of German car manufacturer Audi AG. It is a manufacturer of high performance sports cars based in the small Italian village of Sant'Agata Bolognese, near Bologna. The company was founded in 1963 by businessman Ferruccio Lamborghini (April 28, 1916-February 20, 1993), who owned a successful tractor factory, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A..
Around the 1960s, tractor manufacturer Ferruccio Lamborghini began to gain interest in developing a high-performance car. He had owned Oscas, Maseratis, and Ferraris, but was never completely happy with his car. Although there are several versions of what finally drove Ferrucio to bring his car company into existence, they all involve a conflict between Enzo Ferrari (the founder of Ferrari) and Ferruccio, driving Lamborghini to set up his own company to compete against Ferrari's. The most common version, as told by Ferruccio Lamborghini's son, is that Ferruccio Lamborghini went to meet Enzo Ferrari at the Ferrari factory to complain about the quality of the clutch in the Ferrari 250 GT he owned. Enzo Ferrari sent him away telling him to go and drive tractors because he was not able to drive cars. Lamborghini went back to his factory, had his Ferrari's clutch dismantled and realized that the clutch manufacturer was the same who supplied the clutches for his tractors. In his warehouse he found a spare part which he thought suitable, and when it was installed the problem was solved.
Ferrucio decided that his car was to have a V12 engine, and enlisted the services of talented engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, who had previously worked on a Ferrari V12. The new engine had 4 cams, a short stroke and 2 big bore valves per cylinder, and developed a surprising 350 horsepower. The engine featured aluminium construction, with a crankshaft supported by seven main bearings, forged aluminium pistons, and camshafts with their own half-engine-speed sprocket and silent chain. The car the engine was mounted in was designed by Franco Scaglione's Scaglione-Touring.
This Lamborghini 350GTV prototype began making public appearances in 1963, starting with the Turin Auto Show. Sales of the production model, known as the 350GT, began the following year with great success, with over 130 examples sold. Born under the sign of the taurus, Ferrucio Lamborghini used the bull as the badge by which to mark his new automobile.
The 350GT was followed up by the 400GT. The excellent sales of the 400GT and its predecessor gave the company sufficient funds to design its first supercar - the now-legendary Lamborghini Miura, which was premiered by Ferruccio himself in November 1965 at the Turin Auto Show. The car's engine was transversely mounted. The styling was executed by Marcello Gandini in less than a year; a completed car was displayed at the Geneva Auto Show in March of 1966 (the Turin car was only a chassis). The car's name was taken from that of a famed fighting-bull trainer, Don Eduardo Miura. The Miura was an absolute success for Lamborghini, 111 were sold in 1967, and propelled the company into the world of hundred-million-dollar supercar manufacturers.
In 1971, Lamborghini shocked the world once more with the revolutionary LP500 Countach, named after an Italian slang term uttered in surprise by a person who had just seen the new car. To this day it maintains it status as an absolute show-stopper. The prototype was the first car to sport Lamborghini's now-traditional scissor doors, along with vertically mounted rear air intakes and a powerful 4-liter engine.
The following year, however, was a major setback for the company. A massive tractor order for a South American nation was cancelled, rendering upgrades Lamborghini had already made to its factories in anticipation of the demand useless. The money lost drove Ferruccio to sell part of his share in the tractor factory, which was taken over by 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.
Throughout the seventies, sales of the Countach kept the company in business. Soon enough, the car division became self-sufficient and profitable. Lamborghini, however, sold all his remaining stock in the company to a Swiss investor. Ferruccio Lamborghini died in February 1993 at the age of 76.
The 1970s oil crisis plagued sales of high performance cars, and Lamborghini suffered budget and parts supply problems; cars were sold with two-year back orders, and customers became fed up with waiting for their cars. In 1978, the company declared bankruptcy. An Italian court was appointed to find a buyer, and the Swiss-based Mimran brothers took over the company. The 1980s saw things turn around for Lamborghini under its new ownership.
In a surprise move, the company was then sold to the Chrysler Corporation. Lamborghini at the time was working on the Countach's successor, the Diablo. Chrysler brought its vast resources to the playing field, along with design input, pollution controls, and new manufacturing techniques. The end result was another success for the company. The Lamborghini Diablo received fame much like that of its predecessor, and once again put the manufacturer on top of its game.
In 1994, Chrysler was forced to sell Lamborghini to an Indonesian investment group headed by Tommy Suharto. The sale was due to poor economic circumstances for Chrysler, much like those which would later force the Indonesians to sell the company once again in the late 1990s. By then however, the German car company Audi AG had gained interest in the ailing Italian company, and in 1998, in a complex series of transactions, became the sole owner of Automobili Lamborghini.
Lamborghini's latest owner once again greatly influenced the design of its latest supercar, today's Murcielago. Audi's vast technical resources helped produce one of Lamborghini's most sophisticated two-seaters to date.
Lamborghini's cars are among the most powerful, expensive and exclusive serial-manufactured cars on the road today. Lamborghini's various models have different exclusive features, such as carbon fiber construction, high-tech V10 engines, and styling penciled by such names as Franco Scaglione, Touring of Milan, Zagato, Mario Marazzi, Bertone, ItalDesign and Marcello Gandini.

Vehicle Year Engine Displacement Top Speed
350GTV 1963 Lamborghini V12 N/A 280 km/h
350GT 1964-1968 Lamborghini V12 3464 cc 240 km/h
400GT 2+2 1966-1968 Lamborghini V12 3929 cc 250 km/h
Miura 1966-1973 Lamborghini V12 3929 cc 288 km/h
Espada 1968-1978 Lamborghini V12 3929 cc 245 km/h
Islero 1968-1970 Lamborghini V12 3929 cc 248 km/h
Jarama 1970-1978 Lamborghini V12 3929 cc 240 km/h
Urraco 1970-1979 Lamborghini V8 2463/2996/1994 cc 230 km/h
Countach 1974-1989 Lamborghini V12 3929/4754/5167 cc 295 km/h
Silhouette 1976-1977 Lamborghini V8 2996 cc 260 km/h
Jalpa 1982-1989 Lamborghini V8 3485 cc 240 km/h
LM002 1986-1992 Lamborghini V12 5167 cc 210 km/h
Diablo 1990-2001 Lamborghini V12 5707/5992 cc 330 km/h
Murciélago 2001- Lamborghini V12 6192 cc 330 km/h
Murciélago R-GT 2001- Lamborghini V12 N/A N/A
Gallardo 2003- Lamborghini V10 4961 cc 309 km/h
Gallardo Spyder 2004- Lamborghini V10 4961 cc 307 km/h
Murciélago Roadster 2005- Lamborghini V12 6192/6496 cc 330 km/h
Gallardo SE 2006- Lamborghini V10 4961 cc 315 km/h
Murciélago LP640 2006- Lamborghini V12 6496 cc 340 km/h
Gallardo Nera 2006- Lamborghini V10 4961 cc 315 km/h
Lamborghini's 'mainstream' models display great engineering expertise, but it is the outrageous supercar models that have brought Lamborghini its fame. The Miura, the Countach, the Diablo, and the Murciélago, continue to be some of the most desired super cars of all time. The current (2006) range consists of the Murciélago LP640, the Murciélago Roadster and the smaller, less expensive Gallardo, Gallardo SE and Gallardo Spyder. All are extremely fast, mid-engined 2-seaters with Lamborghini's standard all-wheel drive systems. Their styling is largely the work of Belgian designer Luc Donckerwolke. Future models may include a rear-wheel-drive version of the Gallardo and possibly an SUV in the spirit of the LM002 might also appear. The next generation of Lamborghini models will be penned by Walter de'Silva, who designed the 2006 Miura concept car and who replaced Luc Donckerwolke as head of Centro Stile Lamborghini, Lamborghini's in-house design department.
The Gallardo Special Edition is similar to the Gallardo in many areas such as the engine and suspension, but breaks free of the Gallardo in the exterior look: the entire roof is made of glass.
Racing Models
Ferruccio Lamborghini had set a rule that Lamborghini would not be involved in motor racing. Consequently, no Lamborghini racing cars nor racing versions of Lamborghini street cars were fabricated under his management.
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 programme was cancelled.
Two racing versions of the Diablo were built for the Diablo Supertrophy, a single-model racing series held annualy 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 Murcielago R-GT as a production racing car to compete in the FIA 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.
A GT3 version of the Gallardo has been developed by Reiter Engineering.
Lamborghini has had a number of owners:
* Ferruccio Lamborghini 1963-1972
* Georges-Henri Rossetti and René Leimer 1972-1977
* bankrupt 1977-1984
* Patrick Mimram (managed 1980-1984) 1984-1987
* Chrysler 1987-1994
* Megatech 1994-1995 (Permission granted for the Creation of Lamborghini Latinoamerica S.A.)
* V'Power, Mycom 1995-1998
* Audi AG since 1998