It’s one of Italy’s most well-known car companies, a continuous leader in the field of luxury sports vehicles, and referenced in many a rap song. But what exactly happened along the way for Lamborghini to become as iconic as it is today?
Despite encountering many challenges throughout its existence, this Italian automotive giant has continued to be synonymous with luxurious sports cars, and the history behind the company is most definitely deserving of a deep dive. Here’s a rundown of Lamborghini’s evolution, from the early ‘60s to now.
Lamborghini’s Early Years Explained for Those Considering Automotive Careers
Born in 1916, Ferruccio Lamborghini founded a tractor manufacturing business after World War II, constructing them using surplus army machines. After finding success with other ventures such as manufacturing air conditioning systems, Lamborghini bought numerous luxury sports vehicles.
Following this, he’d start a sports car company of his own upon noticing problems with the clutch of the Ferrari he owned. Automobili Lamborghini SpA was founded in 1963, and debuted his first vehicle that same year, the Lamborghini 350 GTV — which he’d designed and built within four months.
Featuring a bull on its logo (a reference to Lamborghini’s zodiac sign, Taurus), the company would even manufacture a model called the Miura, a reference to the Spanish fighting bull breeder Don Eduardo Miura. Those considering automotive careers may recognize other Lamborghini models from the ‘60s, including the 500GT, the Islero, and the Espada.
However, the late ‘60s and early ‘70s would spell trouble for the company. This was due to work stoppages from fabricators and machinists among Lamborghini’s unionized employees in 1969, financial problems in the early ‘70s during a global economic crisis, and Ferruccio Lamborghini selling 51% of the company in 1972. He would sell his remaining 49% stake the following year.
How Lamborghini’s Vehicles Have Evolved Over Time in Recent Decades
After becoming the property of Georges-Henri Rossetti and René Leimer, Lamborghini’s produced the Countach LP 400, the Urraco P300 (later becoming the Silhouette), and the Jarama. Even with steady sales for the Countach, however, the company continued to falter financially and was declared bankrupt in 1978.
Two years later, Lamborghini would go into the hands of food entrepreneurs Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran, both of whom are credited for the company’s turnaround. Following this, the Silhouette would become the Jalpa, the Countach would continue its development and eventually be sold in the United States (namely, its LP 500S model), and the LM002 sport utility truck would be born.
With the Countach a big seller in the U.S and supercars in general booming, Lamborghini would be bought by the Chrysler Corporation in 1987. This takeover would see production cease for the Jalpa, as well as the rise of models like the Diablo (later replaced by the Murciélago), known for its extremely high speeds and sleek design that would appeal to any auto detailing student.
However, Lamborghini’s sales hit a wall in 1992, and Chrysler would sell the company in 1994 to Indonesian/Bermudan company MegaTech. It was again sold to Audi AG four years later. Since then, Lamborghini has restored its reputation for fast, iconic sports cars such as the Murciélago (later replaced by the Aventador in 2011), the Reventón, the Gallardo (replaced by the Hurácan), and the Centenarió, a limited-edition vehicle unveiled in 2016 for Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday.
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