At the end of World War II Ferruccio Lamborghini satisfied his desire for fast cars by tuning the cars produced by Fiat. He ran a small machine-shop at the time but gradually turned to the manufacture of tractors as his major occupation, thus starting a vast industrial empire which, by the sixties, was in a secure enough financial position for Lamborghini to turn his attention to other sidelines. He began by building himself a car, mostly because he thought he could do it better than Maserati or Ferrari.
The chassis was multi-tubular, the front-mounted engine a 3.5-liter V12 with four overhead camshafts and six Weber carburetors; driving through the ubiquitous ZF five-speed into a limited-slip rearend it produced 360hp, and the coil-and-wiahbone independent suspension meant that all the power was usable.
The bodywork was a closed coup! designed by Gian Paolo Dallara and featuring retractable headlamps at the leading edge of the now-typical flat curve of the Italian sportscar; this was 1963, 20 years before anything built in the United States – other than the Corvette – featured similarly clean aerodynamic lines.
But the first Lamborghini was a one-off for the man who built tractors, and although he went on to build around 200 of them over the next two years it was by no means accepted as a supercar by those who traditionally built them around Modena. It was in 1965, at the Turin Motor Show, that Lamborghini crossed the dividing line between the rich man’s toy and the specialist sportscar maker. Originally a Dallara-designed spyder, the Miura T400 which went into production for the 1966 model year was a mid-engined coupe” with a slightly bigger, four-liter version of the ohc VI2 slung transversely behind the two seats, driving the rear wheels by spur gears. This time Lamborghini built his own gearboxes and rear axles, the frame was a box-section affair beneath the monococque body and the whole lot weighed in at 27001bs.The V12 now gave 385hp, which was enough to boost the small coupe up to a tremendous 18Omph and made it one of the fastest road cars ever—certainly enough to place it right alongside the best that wore the prancing horse of the neighboring Ferrari factory.
The Miura was instantly accepted into the supercar league and remains one of the best-looking vehicles Lamborghini ever gave his name to; certainly it was the most uncompromising and might easily have been designed for endurance racing at Le Mans rather than road use. Critics of the marque will say that this is reflected in the high levels of cockpit noise created as all that machinery whirred into vibrant life inches behind the driver’s ears, something which is typical of high-performance mid-engine sport scars. Fans of thoroughbred Italian machinery, however, will say they’d rather listen to that than the hifi – or, indeed, the conversation of their passengers.
Although the Miura stayed in production for nine years, during which time they were built at the rate of two a week, Lamborghini brought its follow-up into production within two years, and this time he went back to the front-engine layout of his first GT, although concessions to those who liked their motoring accompanied by civilized noise levels ended there; the Espada retained the four-liter V12, complete with whizzy overhead cams and multiple-choke carburetors greedily sucking air.
The 2+2 version of the Espada was the Jarama, with a longer roofline and more glass area for back seat passengers, and with the Miura in full production the factory could afford to bring out something for the family man without losing a reputation for flat-out sportscar manufacture which was growing almost daily. Further evidence came when the prototype Marzal, which never made production, was toned down into the Urraco. Designed by Gandini in 1967 and built by Bertone, the Marzal was a gullwing four-seater with massive glazed areas in the doors extending well below the waistline. Power for this came from a straight six which was simply half of the V12 and was indicative of Lamborghini thinking.
The car which did make it into production, the pretty and successful Urraco, appeared in 1971 with conventional doors and window areas and powered by a 2.5-liter Lamborghini V8. Later versions included the Urraco S and, in 1976, the rare Targa version, the Silhouette, with thick B-pillar rollover bar very similar to Targa versions of the Porsche 911. In 1974, soon after the introduction of the Urraco, came another styling exercise by Marcello Gandini and Bertone which was based on the Urraco but featured the much flatter and sharper wedge shape which is characteristic of current production sportscars from all over the world. The Bravo was never a production car, although it represents as much of a design and styling zenith as the Miura did when it was first unveiled.
But there was already a replacement for the Miura, and this was the stunning Countach; arguably the pinnacle of Lamborghini’s achievement, it was beyond any doubt a car to make Enzo Ferrari jealous of his upstart neighbor. The engine was the proven Lamborghini V12, although there was at the time some flirtation with the big 5.9-liter Chrysler V8 engines. They had appeared in the Cheetah, another open two-seater which used the American engine principally so that Lamborghini could offer his customers an automatic which financial problems prevented him developing himself. But for the production run the Countach was fitted with the high-rewing V12, mounted longitudinally over the rear wheels, with the gearbox nose protruding forward between the seats.
First models had an enlarged 4.9-liter version of the V12, but later models reverted to the faithful 4-liter at the same time as the breathtaking Gandini body was placed onto a tubular chassis and given NACA ducts in the sides, air intakes on top of the rear fenders and ducts in the cockpit sides. The curves around the cutoff rear were straightened at the same time, and the later models are clearly different from the earlier 4.9-liter versions.
Power output from this was again immense, and the car was rather faster than its predecessors; the top speed was given as 190mph, the sort of speed which is only suitable for the Mulsanne straight and beyond doubt would make the Countach the fastest production car available, well ahead of anything Ferrari could offer. On the test track it even outperformed its drivers, with handling capabilities said to be beyond the psychological limits of the people who drove it.
Lamborghini’s financial worries looked set to see an end to the Countach as well as the rest of car production, but the company was reconstituted in 1980 as Nuova Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini and production continued unabated; two new models, the rear-engined Jalpa V8 and a revised Cheetah – the LM 001, this time with an American Motors V8 – were introduced; the Countach continued also. In fact it is the only Lamborghini normally available overseas, and is now powered by a 5-liter aluminum version of the V12 which develops enough power to give it a top speed of 165mph. This is faster than Ferrari’s current police-baiter, the 512BB, and roughly the same as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The prices are more or less the same as well, at a cool $70,000; if looks and performance hadn’t qualified the Countach as a supercar then the sticker price would.
Lamborghini All Car Models:-
Lamborghini Miura P400 Reviews
Lamborghini Countach Reviews
Lamborghini Gallardo Reviews
Lamborghini Murcielago Reviews
Lamborghini Huracan Reviews