Lamborghini Celebrates 50th Anniversary Early

By | May 14, 2013

LamborghinisThis week Lamborghini decided to kickoff its anniversary festivities a few months early.  The famed exotic car company celebrates 50 years this November but decided Italy is much nicer in the spring!  In short, they gathered together a group of 350+ Lamborghinis of all models from all over the world for their 50th Anniversary Grand Grio Tour.  You can see some footage from the event at the bottom of the page but first let’s give you the Reader’s Digest version history lesson of Lamborghini.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was doing pretty well for himself building tractors and in the mid-fifties was one of the largest tractor companies in Italy.  He was also fortunate enough to have bought a Ferrari 250GT.  He owned a few of them actually.  He grew tired of having to replace the clutch so often which, as you can imagine, was not cheap.  Then he found out that the 250GT used the exact same clutch assembly as his tractors and he knew they didn’t cost nearly what Enzo was charging.  So what did he do?  He decided to build a better car.

Photographer unknown

The first attempt was the 350GT (original name right?) which was powered by a 3.5L V12 producing 360 hp.  The car wasn’t exactly a looker but it wasn’t ugly either.  It is a forgotten car too.  The reason?  The Lamborghini Miura.

Photographer unknown

In 1967 Lamborghini changed the world of fast cars with the Miura.  The industry had never seen a car like it.  It was compact for a mid-engined car.  This was due to its transversely mounted V12 pumping out 370 hp.  An idea inspired by the Mini of all things.  The design was stunning too.  It was this car that set the trend not only for Lamborghini, but for Ferrari and others as well of being flamboyant mid-engined cars.  Some people consider it to be one of the most beautiful cars ever.

Photographer unknown

They were at it again in 1974 with the arrival of the Countach.  With its scissor doors it was so crazy to look at some people loved it while others thought it was too much.  The Countach was the poster car of the seventies and eighties.  In those days you either had the Countach or the bb512 on your wall.  When the Countach hit the market it produced a “mild” 375 hp and the final iterations produced 455 hp.  The Countach was also a fairly large car.  It was fast in a straight line but not so much around corners.  It was also incredibly hot in the cabin and impossible to see out of and park.  The Countach is also the only one of their super cars to not be named after a bull.

Photographer unknown

In 1987, Lamborghini was bought by Chrysler under the direction of Lee Iococca, the man responsible for the Ford Mustang.  The purchase price? $25.2 million.  That is cheaper than a Ferrari 250 GTO. The nineties ushered in the Diablo.  Longer and more sleek than the Countach, the Diablo was hardly a dull car.  The 492 horse V12 was the most powerful yet.  Just like the Countach though, the car was all about straight line speed.  It was the first Lamborghini to pass the 200 mph barrier having a top speed of 202 mph.  An all-wheel drive version came in 1993 which used a modified drive train from the LM002. The Diablo was Chrysler’s only notable contribution to the company.  Chrysler sold Lamborghini to Audi in 1998.  A year later came an updated version of the car which eventually was powered by a 550 hp 6.0 V12 before being replaced.

Lamborghini Murcielago

In the 2000s Lamborghini turned its first profit as well as bringing German engineering to the brand.  The Murcielago was let loose on the world in 2001.  The car was simply huge but my gosh was it fast!  The 572 hp 6.2L V12 would propel this rocket to 60 mph in 3.8 sec and on to a top speed of 205 mph.  The car’s handling was improved but it was still a bit of a pig when compared to other super cars like the Pagani Zonda and the Ferrari Enzo.  With Audi having its hand in the engineering things like the air conditioning actually worked.  It was even more refined to drive on the street while still being a brute when pushed.  The car was later updated with a 6.5L 640 hp version and then the almighty SV producing 670 hp!  This car would also do 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and had improved handling due to weight savings.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Along with the Murcielago, Lamborghini launched a “baby Lambo” in the form of the Gallardo in 2005. The car had a 500 hp V10 which provided an impressive soundtrack (one of the best exhaust notes in the world in my mind).  It was considerably cheaper than the Murcielago and became very popular.  It is the best selling Lamborghini to date.  The car was updated to produce 560 hp and then the stripped down version produces 570 hp and will do 0-60 mph in 3 seconds flat!  The Gallardo remains available for sale today but it’s replacement is on the horizon.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster revealed

Lamborghini’s current flagship is the Aventador.  Styled after a fighter jet, the car is very angular and arguably the most aggressive looking since the Countach.  For the first time since the Miura, Lamborghini redesigned their V12.  This time producing 691 hp is lighter and faster than ever before.  It is currently one of the fastest accelerating cars on the market hitting 60 mph in a mere 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 220 mph.  The cornering is vastly improved over the Murcielago largely due to its F1 style pushrod suspension.

Lamborghini’s 50 year history is far too long for us to go into deep detail.  We hope this gives you a little more insight into their history.  Looking back you can clearly see where their roots came from.  The 350GT may be the oddball of the bunch but from then on, Lamborghini was in the business of making wild automobiles.  The brand is recognizable worldwide and when you see one, you know you are looking at something special.

Which Lamborghini model is your favorite?

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Photo credits are unknown with the exception of the Gallardos which were taken by the author.

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