Lamborghini and the opposition

As with anything competition is inevitable, and especially if you’re a supercar company, it’s a must. Having competition is healthy and leads to a progression within the brand. Being Lamborghini has its benefits, and disadvantages, and so needs to do everything it can to stay ahead of the competition.

The entire brand itself started with a decent dose of competition in fact, and as the well-known story goes, the formation of Automobili Lamborghini was formed with some disagreements between Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari. Stories with varied specifics form the story of the two automotive greats getting into an argument, and conclude to Lamborghini not being happy with Ferrari, because of customer service, and lack of attention to quality, and thus, Ferruccio decided to form Lamborghini to rival Ferrari. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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This fact puts Ferrari as one of the main rivals to Lamborghini even to this day, although the numbers of worthy competitors are constantly on the rise. For reference of comparison I will use the power lap times from Top Gear, to make relevant comparisons to other vehicles in the same range, although, current times available do not show most of the compared cars. Of course price also makes a large part of a proper comparison and so I will list those as well, although rounded off, according to the 2014 selling prices.

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The three cars Lamborghini produces at the moment are the Aventador, the Aventador Roadster and the Hurican. The Aventador accelerates from 0-62mph (100km/h) in 2.9 seconds, the roadster in three seconds, and both have a top speed of 217 mph (349km/h). The hard-top costs £265 000, while the Roadster version sits at 294,000.The baby Lambo has a 3.2 second acceleration time to 62mph (100km/h) and a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h) and costs £182,000. (Topgear 2014) Unfortunatley, the Hurican hasn’t been tested on Top Gear yet, but the Top Gear Track time of the Aventador is 1:16:5 and places 6th on the powerlap times chart. (Fastestlaps 2006-2015)

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The most well known competitors for these three cars come in a lot of forms. Audi with the R8, Ferrari with the 458 Italia, Speciale, Spyder, F12, FF, and Laferrari. The £1,140,000 Bugatti Veyron is out of the Aventador’s league in terms of top speed at 252mph (406km/h) (Topgear 2014)  but on the test track the SS version of the Veyron, placed 7th, one after the Aventador, so with that in mind the Lambo is a colossal bargain. (Fastestlaps 2006-2015)

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In fact the only 2 cars that came ahead of the Aventador were the McLaren MP4-12c and the Pagani Huayra. As the Pagani costs a whopping £990,000, its safe to say, it’s not a direct competitor, however the McLaren is a truly a force to be reckoned with. Another contender would be the Noble M600, at £200,000 with a top speed of 225mph (362km/h) and 0-62 time of 3.0 seconds, it takes the prize in every department. The only issue with such small manufacturers is of course reliability, and Lamborghinis quality, under the control of VW, is second none. The new Ferrari Laferrari, Porsche 918, and McLaren P1 hypercars cost between £660,000 and £ 1 Million, so comparing them to the Aventador would be unrealistic; and even then, the only one of the three with a higher top speed is the LaFerrari with 3 mph (5km/h) over the Lambo. (Topgear 2014)

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A good competitor to the Hurican is the Audi R8, and although is 0.6 seconds and 4mph (6km/h) slower, the car also costs 55 to 80 grand less. The best competitor, and even closer to the Hurican is the Ferrari 458 Italia, and with 3 versions available, is also more versatile. Prices vary between £180, 000 and £208,000, which also sets it right into Hurican territory. 0-62 is taken care of in 3.0 seconds in the Speciale and 3,4 seconds in the standard trim and the Spyder. Top speed is set at 198 mph (319km/h), while the £20,000 more expensive Speciale matches the Hurican’s top speed. (Topgear 2014)

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Another massive competitor for the Aventador is also, naturally, a Ferrari. The F12 is the fastest Ferrari to come into production yet, although, still doesn’t manage to keep up to the top speed of the Aventador. It reaches 211mph (340km/h) and reaches 62mph (100km/h) one second slower. The price however is also 20 grand lower than the Lambo though. (Topgear 2014)

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This means Lamborghini is placed very well in the scale for sales, however still have another car to fear which they cannot compete with in the market. Yes, another Ferrari; all the cars mentioned above have been 2-seater supercars, but Ferrari still is a step ahead of Lamborghini with their 4-seater FF model. Although taking a slower 3.4 seconds to get to 62mph, and reaching “only” 198mph (319 km/h), it does so at £227,000. (Topgear 2014) Yes, it is more expensive than the Huracan, but if you have a family, what are the options in the super-saloon market? The Estoque was Lamborghini’s answer to that, it’s just a pity it never managed to happen.

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Reflecting on all this, one thing has to be made clear though, Lamborghini is not in the Formula 1 series. Ferrari and McLaren are. This means then, that while the two competitor brands develop their racecars, they also develop their technology; and thus they have the funds available, and the technology available to apply into their standard product range. Lamborghini only has the one-make Super Trofeo series which began in 2009, (Lambocars 2000-2013) and consists of only Lamborghini Gallardos. This means the progression of Lamborghini consists of concept and production cars with no external influence from the World of motorsports. This in turn, is a massive drawback and a great obstacle, but Lamborghini have still managed to stay ahead of the pack and have done a truly magnificent job at that.

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In the shadows, however lurks a different kind of beast though; evolution. With the eventual change to alternative energy sources for cars, the electric game is changing the world of supercars, and cars as a whole. In order to stay ahead of the competition, Lamborghini has to start implementing the future of hybrid and electric cars. The Asterion is a marvel of achievement and is set to bring glory to the future of the Raging Bull, but until then, electricity seems to want to be the new boss in town.

Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini Aventador Race (Rego Apps 2014)

 

Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale Drag Racing. (DragTimes 2015)

 

Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia(Rego Apps 2014)

 

References:

Fastestlaps.com (2006-2015) Top Gear Track, Great Britain (2820 m) [online]. available from <http://fastestlaps.com/tracks/top_gear_track.html>

Lambocars (2000-2013) Ferriccio Lamborghini, a bibliography – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/lambonews/ferruccio_lamborghini_a_biography.html>

Topgear magazine (2014) ‘Data’. TopGear (261), 163-180

Topgear.com (2015)Lap Times [online]. available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/track-guide?LapType=Power-Laps>

 

Electronic Visual references:

DragTimes (2015) Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale Drag Racing. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e-jquwHKtI > [4 January 2015]

Rego Apps (2014) Tesla Model S P85D vs Lamborghini Aventador Race. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e-jquwHKtI > [23 December 2014]

Rego Apps (2014) Tesla Model S P85D vs Ferrari 458 Italia. [online] available from < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cA1doO_9h8> [27 december 2014]

 

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Lamborghini’s precarious journey to the safety of VW

Lamborghini, throughout its’ 51 year history has been through some rather difficult times and turmoil. In fact, the Italian powerhouse has had more owners than you can count on one hand. This means that the company exchanged hands at an average rate of more than one per decade. That’s quite impressive actually, although in a bad way; and needless to say, the supercar business is quite erratic and unpredictable.

‘Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini’ was founded in May 1963 in Sant’Agata, Italy; by its’ first and original owner; the man himself, Ferruccio Lamborghini.  (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) Through the passing years, and under the rule of Ferruccio, the company gave birth to the most exquisite array of cars. These included masterpieces such as the 350GTV, Miura, Espada, Urraco, and the legendary Countach. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Over the subsequent years, social situations and Labour unions facing difficulties, meant change and unrest; and many companies and especially factories came to their knees. At this point, in 1972, Ferrucio sold 51 percent of the company to Swiss industrialist Georges-Henri Rossetti, and later the remaining 49 percent to a friend of his, also a Swiss man, Rene Leimer. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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Right after the Swiss overtaking, and by 1973, the Arab-Israeli war was threatening petrol supplies, and thus, the need for such excessive cars had pretty much almost completely diminished. In 1977, Lamborghini tried a collaborative project with BMW, however was not a success, and tried another joint venture in 1977. This time, creating a partnership with ‘MTI’ Mobility Technologies International, to create military off-roaders for the US; this too ended in decay. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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In 1978, the Italian courts appointed a new head, Alessandro Arteses. By 1979 however, the company was quickly taken over by Raymond Noima and Hubert Hahne, a German racing driver. (Sheehan 1999-2014) By 1980 the company was declared bankrupt, and the courts appointed; the once again Swiss; Mimran brothers. Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran, were very wealthy and had a booming sugar empire in Senegal.

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By 1981 the Mimran brothers had outright bought the company, and injected the much needed cash to bring the brand back to life, while also expanding the factory premises. The cars were flowing smoothly through the years, with models such as the Jalpa P350, the Countach LP500, and the LM002, although they were not exactly in excess. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Times were tough as always, and although the Mimran brothers did an excellent job at keeping the company moving, a larger investor needed to  step up to the plate. (Sheehan 1999-2014)

On the 23rd of April 1987, American car giant Chrysler took the reigns of Lamborghini. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) Being in command, the US firm helped bring Lamborghini back on its feet, and up to pace in the supercar market segment. They created the ever so successful Diablo with its many variations; including an entire one-make race series achievement. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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In the year 1993, on the 20th of February, Mr Ferruccio Lamborghini, the creator of the amazing brand, passed away in Purgia, Italy. (Lambocars 2000-2013)  The next year in 1994, Chrysler came to financial difficulty and suddenly sold the company off to a group of Indonesian investors, led by Tommy Surharto of the Surharto Family. (Lamboweb 2014)

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Under the influence of the Indonesians, the Diablo range saw further success, and by the late 90’s a successor was in the pipeline. The end of the 1990’s, however also brought along a financial crisis, which affected the investment group and so, they decided to join forces with Audi to develop the Diablo replacement. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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By now, Audi saw, that the company was in trouble, and could not let a great opportunity go, and thus, in 1998, Audi AG purchased Automobili Lamborghini, and became the new sole owner of the company. (Lamboweb 2014) This led to some great developments, and transformed the brand into what it is today. In essence, the Audi-VW bailout of Lamborghini was the best thing that could have happened to the company.

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Volkswagen took over Auto Union in 1974, although decided to keep Volkswagen and Audi as separate brands. (Volkswagen 2014) VW, however doesn’t only account of Audi, as it has its hands in a lot of pies in the automotive industry. In 1980, it acquired ‘Chrysler Fevre Argentina S.A.I.C’ and promptly renamed it to ‘Volkswagen Argentina S.A.’ (Volkswagen 2014) In 1991, it also purchased Skoda in its’ entirety and adopted it into the VW Group (Volkswagen 2014)

The year 1998 was a massive achievement for Volkswagen, as it managed to collect an array of manufacturers in the luxury car segment, and call them its’ own. This consisted of the additions of ‘Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd’, ‘Bentley Motor Ltd, ‘Bugatti International S.A Holding’, becoming ‘Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.’, as well as ‘Automobili Lamborghini SpA’.(Volkswagen 2014)

It seems then, that Volkswagen can be compared to the bully on the school playground who just takes everybody’s toys for himself. The only difference is that, had the bully not taken those toys for himself, they would have been broken into pieces in the hands of their original owners, and thus would leave them with nothing to play with. The actual Volkswagen Group then, is really more of a car brand philanthropist, rescuing all the companies from certain doom. Thus, the VW Group actually consists of the brands; Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, MAN, Porsche, Scania, Seat, Skoda, and of course, VW, including VW Commercial Vehicles as a separate entity. (Volkswagengroup 2014), ( Volkswagenag 2014)

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The overtaking of Lamborghini came at a great point in time, and Volkswagen managed to transcend the brand towards growing success. Without the VW ‘bailout’, who knows how many more unstable hands the legendary Raging Bull would have had to endure, and indeed, would it have survived at all? It’s not all down to just money either, as Volkswagen, have a very long heritage and history of expertise. One thing is for sure though, the Germans really know how to build a true Italian supercar; they combined World class precision and engineering to the Lamborghini name and created the vibrant and passionate, yet sophisticated image that it transmits today.

 

References:

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1963-1964 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1963-1964/ >

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1965-1966 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1965-1966/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1967-1972 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1967-1972/ >

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1972-1980 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1972-1980/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1981-1987 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1981-1987/ >

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1987-1994 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1987-1994/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1994-1998 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1994-1998/>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Lamborghini – TIMEline [online]. available from < http://www.lambocars.com/timeline.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Ferrucio Lamborghini, a biography – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/lambonews/ferruccio_lamborghini_a_biography.html>

Lamboweb.com (2014) Ferrucio Lamborghini [online]. available from <http://www.lamboweb.com/History.htm>

Lamboweb (2014) History [online]. Available from <http://www.lamboweb.com/History.htm>

Sheehan, M.W. (1999-2014) ‘The Lambo Dealer, the $12m Swindle, the Slammer’ Ferraris-online.com [online]. available from < http://www.ferraris-online.com/pages/article.php?reqart=SCM_200906_SS>

Volkswagen.co.uk (2014) Volkswagen and Audi Brands unify in Germany [online]. available from <http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/timeline/event/58>

Volkswagen.co.uk (2014) Volkswagen acquires Chrysler in Argentina [online]. available from <http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/timeline/event/413>

Volkswagen.co.uk (2014) Skoda becomes fourth independent brand for Volkswagen Group [online]. available from < http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/timeline/event/449>

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The new era of Lamborghini

Lamborghini had gained a new status after the release of the ever successful Murciélago and Gallardo models. The house of the Raging Bull had been combined with the precision and expertise of German engineering, which amounted to better overall cars. This was by far the best direction for the brand; as it expanded the customer base and provided quality and reliability to the superiority and prowess of Lamborghini. Unfortunately, as usual, all good things must come to an end; although as nature would have it, this can only be followed by progression and evolution.

By 2011, the Murciélago name was celebrating its’ 10 year reign at the top of the supercar food chain, and the release of the new chief Lambo was impending on the World. On the other hand though, the descendant to the baby Lambo was only forthcoming two years down the line, meaning, manufacture and indeed progressive models and releases of the current range were still churning out at a massive rate.

The latter comprised of five model releases of Gallardo. Namely, the two-tone Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore, the LP570-4 Singapore Limited Edition, as well as the Gallardo Tricolore, celebrating Italy’s 150 years of unification. All of them were limited editions in their own respects, and furthermore also included the LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale, a hard-core street legal version of the Super Trofeo race car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Finally, a proper production model, the Gallardo 550-2 Spyder was also announced. The embodiment of true open top super car driving pleasure, came in the form of a rear-wheel drive V10, providing 550bhp to the rear wheels, and catapulting the car to 60mph (+-100kph) in a mere 4.2 seconds. Capable of reaching 198mph (319km/h) with the top down no less, this was one exhilarating car to expand the Gallardo range. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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As good as all this might seem, all of this candy was only frosting on the cake, as the new king of the streets; the new big Lambo was unveiled. The car in question is the potent Lamborghini Aventador, and perfect successor to the Murciélago. Immediately one can see that this car is unmistakably a Lamborghini. It features crisp lines with geometric influences from the likes of the Reventón and the Asterion, while rapidly accelerating the visual feel and stance of the Murciélago. It makes use of some chiselled edges, especially in the detailing such as the headlights, air intakes, outlets, and the glass engine cover. It also integrates the signature “Lambo doors”, as well as a 3-stage variable rear wing which is blended into the body. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

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This is not all just for show either, as the Aventador makes no compromise in the performance department. Through a monocoque chassis, the car collaborates a brand new V12 engine, producing 700bhp, as well as a 4-wheel drive transmission all bolted through a dry double plate clutch system. It will skyrocket from a standstill to 60mph (+-100km/h) in just 2.9 seconds and keep going all the way up to a ridiculous 217mph (350km/h) (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) This car is a true benchmark for Lamborghini and a revolution in terms of design and execution, and sets a very positive outlook for the future of the model range and the company as a whole.

By next year, the 2012 Geneva Show was coming up, and thus Lambo wanted to create a true wonder. Keeping with tradition, and seeing as limited edition cars are a natural development, the new year brought along with it an outrageous speedster astonishment.

The Aventador J; the lowest ever Lamborghini, and by far one of the rarest. The Reventón was limited to just 20 units, the Sesto Elemento has only three examples in existence, but the Aventador J (Jota) is truly one of a kind. (Topgear 2014) The styling is very similar to the standard Aventador and does use the same headlights, and front and rear fenders, but the rest is all new and unique. The main obvious physical change is the roof, or rather the lack thereof; and the rather noticeable changes to the rear treatment on the engine deck, air intakes, outlets and exhausts. The aesthetic is further encompassed by using a lot of dry carbon fibre elements on the car, creating a fierce graphic to the overall design, carrying the historic Jota name heritage exquisitely to the modern age.

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The interesting cars didn’t just end there, however, as the year also gave birth to Lamborghini’s first undertaking into the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market. Now, you might notice, that this is indeed not the first example of an off-road Lambroghini, as that spot was filled by the 1976 Cheetah, its’ development variations, and lastly the 1986 LM002. This though is not just an off roader, it only takes a quick glace to see it’s a true Lamborghini at heart. It uses the new geometric crisp styling and transforms the Cayenne/Touareg/Q7 platform (Ford, ‘et al.’ 2012) into a future vision for Lamborghini; although prospects for production are only in 2016, and it was the same case with the Estoque, but nothing came of it, so we will have to wait and see.

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The year further continued with a vast array of limited editions and adaptations and enhancements of the Gallardo, furthering the ferocity of the range. As ever, special editions were in a plethora with the release of cars such as the Gallardo LP550-2 Malaysia Limited Edition – MLE, LP560-4 Gold Limited Edition, LP550-2 Hong Kong 20th Anniversary, LP560-4 Bianco Rosso, LP560-4 Noctis, LP550-2 GZ8 Edizione Limitata, LP 570-4 Edizione Technica, the LP570-4 Super Trofeo, and lastly, the production version LP 560-4. (Lambocars 2000-2013) This production version was the last evolution for the Gallardo, which featured a modified design language, and would later remotely translate into its’ successor. It made use of very sharp angular air vent intakes using trapezoidal and triangular geometry in both the front and the rear end treatment of the car. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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It seems as ever, Lamborghini are quite reluctant to just up and end a series, and want to make sure the history of a range of their cars has a solid ending. This as you guessed it, means the Gallardo saw further limited editions and fine-tuning refinements before the now current replacement was announced. These last cars were to mark the end of an era, and allowed the Gallardo to come to a graceful end. The range extended to the Gallardo LP550-2 Indonesia Limited Edition, LP560-2 50 Anniversario, the LP550-2 India Limited Edition, and the Gallardo LP570-4 Squadra Corse.  (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Traditionally, after the release of a new Lamborghini or indeed a specific car in a range, the company tends to release an open top version. This was the case with the Jalpa Spyder, Diablo Roadster, Diablo VT-R roadster, Diablo SV Roadster, the Murciélago Roadster, the Murciélago LP640 and 650 Roadster as well as the Gallardo Spyder, Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, and the Reventón Roadster; you get the point, basically, Lamborghini loves to make an open top variant. (Lambocars 2000-2013) Of course, with the 2012 release of the Aventador, it was only a matter of time before the arrival of the Aventador LP700-4 Roadster in 2013. This was in essence the same car as the coupé, which had been turned into a top-less version; and even featured its own special version release in the same year. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The standard Aventador received the LP720-4 50 Anniversario as a limited edition update, which made use of a more aggressive approach in styling, and also added twenty extra horsepower over the standard 700. This of course also blossomed into an open top version, the LP720-4 Roadster 50 Anniversario Edition. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The year was far from over though, because as you can tell, the Aventadors mentioned a moment ago had the wording 50 Anniversario in the name. This is by no coincidence, as Automobili Lamborghini SpA was celebrating its’ 50th anniversary on the 11th of May. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

This would indeed amount to an extremely special year at Lamborghini, and more and more surprises were ready to take the World by storm and leave everyone in their wake absolutely breathless. It promptly started this notion with its’ brand new limited edition poison at the Geneva Auto show.

Poison, however, is not only a perfect metaphor for this insane new car, but its entire embodiment and Spanish derived name; Veneno. The Veneno, is based on an Aventador chassis, but is a completely new car in other terms. Three cars were made and sold, one red, one white, and one green, representing the colours of the Italian national flag. A fourth one was made in a metallic grey, which is just for the auto shows, and for Lamborghini’s developments. The car features a 750bhp engine, 4-wheel drive and a 2.8 second 0-60mph (+-100km/h) time, but it’s the looks that give this car such a unique feel. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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The entire car is designed to act as a large aerofoil, increasing downforce for it’s 220mph (355km/h) top speed. (Lambocars 2000-2013)  The design is revolutionary and takes Lambo to the forefront of the exotic car market. It features large intakes on the front, dressed in dry carbon, which follow the car through the side skirts, into the side intakes, and over the rear deck. Another epic innovation for this car is that massive rear spoiler, with its upright struts, and that long aeroplane-like fin in the middle, running all the way from the roofline into the geometric design of the wing. As crazy as it seems, the Veneno, although is hypercar royalty, actually got a counterpart, in the form of the Veneno Roadster. Yes, it seems Lambo cannot resist a good open top, and thus the Veneno Roadster is limited to nine units, and costs an exorbitant €3.5 Million. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

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Still in 2013, the 50 year anniversary was far from over, and in front of 1000 VIP members, and at the gala dinner at the Sant’Agata factory, Lamborghini wheeled out its brand new prototype. Designed by Walter De Silva, head of design at VW, Alessandro Dambrosio, and Stefan Sielaff; the main event of the night was the absolutely fantastical Egoista Concept car. The car is made from carbon fibre and aluminium, and the body panels as well as the wheels are made from anti-radar material finished in a matt grey colour. The canopy is made out of anti-glare glass, and cocoons the single passenger in a jet like cab, accessed by opening the canopy, and sitting on the side, and putting your legs in first, like a formula one car. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design sets forward the benchmark for all supercar concepts, and concretes the evidence that Lamborghini think as far outside the box as is possible. The ultra geometric design of the Egoista, with its use of wedgy, faceted panels, combined with an array of integrated lights, give the car the feeling of a jet fighter from the future.

11

During all the exciting events of the year, the focus on the production models, was of course of huge importance, and the Gallardo replacement was also going out for it’s practice laps, in prototype form of course. This then, brings us to this current year, 2014, although, only a few more days are left.

The year started fresh with the long awaited replacement for the Gallardo. The new, affordable entry level baby Lambo, the Huracàn. More precisely the Lamborghini Huracàn LP610-4, from which you will have deduced that it makes use of a 610bhp powerhouse, and delivers its power on all fours. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) Aesthetically, it makes use of very simple lines, and a much softer approach to the usual hard geometric design language of Lamborghini. The design is overall very nicely balanced and integrated, although at first glance, people including myself thought that it’s too controlled, and very understated for the Lamborghini brand; especially when put next to their current flagship model, the Aventador.

12

With this in mind, over the last year, I have grown to rather like the aesthetics of this new car. It’s really well refined, and as routine with Lamborghini, I am quite certain sometime this coming year we can expect to see a Spyder version. This will no doubt further enhance the visuals, and the likelihood of a Superleggera and perhaps even an SV model in the forthcoming years would be customary. Even in standard trim though, it looks great in the Italian Police force, custom built by Lambo. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

13

Another, rather intriguing addition to the one-off deck in the house of the Raging Bull was the 5-95 Zagato. As with a few previous endeavours, the design was done in-house by Zagato, and is a one-off, for collector Alber Spiess. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The design is questionable, and rather unfamiliar for Lamborghini, as the front makes a use of a few different flavours, combining the aesthetic characteristics of a Spyker, a Lotus Evora, and the intakes of an Aston Martin one-77. The side view features a characteristical Lamborghini flow, and the rear features a once again, quite unlike; round design for the taillamps. It is definitely a unique look, but as its been designed at an external studio, the idea of its’ adaptation into production models is dubious at best.

14

Lastly on the trailing edge of the year, a new GT concept car came into existence, known as the Asterion LPI910-4. This is the newest of the new, in terms of design and tech, deriving from the gates at Sant’Agata. Although it is only a concept car for now, it makes use of a hybrid engine, (Automobili Lamborghini 2014) and brings light to the idea of creating a production hybrid Lamborghini. This is not a new idea for the supercar segment, as we see this with the already available production versions of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, and LaFerrari.

15

In the styling department, the car is a little bit different from the usual, as the overall design is in the form of a luxury GT (Gran Turismo), although carries the Lamborghini aesthetic rather well. We can see influences from previous models, such as the Urus, in the front bumper area, the Miura Concept, in the DLO (Daylight opening, a.k.a, the shape of the windows, from the side), while the side intake and the long taillamps are an adaptation from the ones seen on the Veneno. Although different, the Asterion depicts a valid point as to what the future might hold for the brand; but as we’ve seen before with cars such as the Estoque and the Urus (so far), not all great concept Lambos make the final cut.

This then, concludes the year as it comes to an end, and already in the pipeline for next year we have the Huracàn LP620-2 Super Trofeo, the Reiter Gallardo Extenso, the Pirelli Edition Aventador, and if my guess is correct, and only on a speculation basis, a Huracàn Spyder.

16

 

References:

 

Ford,T., Marriage, O., Grant, K., Horrel, P., Barlow, J., Ward, P., Philip, S., and Read, D. (2012) ‘Lamborghini Urus’. TopGear (230), 32-36

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Lamborghini – TIMEline [online]. available from < http://www.lambocars.com/timeline.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Gallardo LP560-4 Bicolore –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/gallardo/gallardo_lp560-4_bicolore.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Gallardo Tricolore –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/gallardo/gallardo_tricolore.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/gallardo/gallardo_lp570-4_super_trofeo_stradale.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/gallardo/gallardo_lp550-2_spyder.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) New Gallardo LP560-4 –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/gallardo/new_gallardo_lp560-4.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Aventador LP720-4 Roadster 50 Anniversario –the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/aventador/aventador_lp720-4_roadster_50_anniversario.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Veneno –the STORY [online]. <http://www.lambocars.com/aventador/veneno.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Veneno Roadster –the STORY [online]. <http://www.lambocars.com/aventador/veneno_roadster.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) Egoista –the STORY [online]. <http://www.lambocars.com/prototypes/egoista.html>

Lambocars.com (2000-2013) 5-95 Zagato –the STORY [online]. <http://www.lambocars.com/related/lamborghini_5-95_zagato.html>

Lamborghini.com (2014) History – 1998-Nowadays [online]. available from < http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1998-nowadays/>

Lamborghini.com (2014) Aventador LP700-4 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/models/aventador-lp-700-4/overview/>

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Topgear.com (2014) Lambo Aventador J: the real story [online]. available from <http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/lamborghini-aventador-j-geneva-motor-show-filippo-perini-2012-03-13>[13 March 2012]

 

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2

Lamborghini’s roller-coaster ride to the 80’s

Lamborghini became the company we know today, through the birth of their first true supercar, the Miura; however, the legend has quite a few, although not very well known, but particularly exquisite predecessors. The first car created by Lamborghini, was of course the 1963 350 GTV (Automobili Lamborghini 2014). This was followed by the 1964 350 GT, which was the new road going version. The car also spawned quite a few variations through the subsequent next few years before the Miura in 1966. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

Just a quick year later, in 1965, came the 3500 GTZ, which was designed by Zagato and shared similar looks to the Ferrari 250 GTO. It was presented at the 1965 London Auto show, and was one of only a few models designed by Zagato. Lamborghini favoured Bertone design, and therefore was the go-to design firm for most of the designs not only of the time, but throughout its history. (Lambocars 2000-2013) In the same year, the Turin Auto show also previewed the 350 GTS, which was a convertible, but unfortunately only 2 units were ever produced. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

13500gt2

1966 saw the brand release an array of great cars, and was one of the best, and most creative periods for Lamborghini as a car company. Beginning the year with the P538, a racecar with a Lamborghini V12, which is one of the most expensive Lamborghinis today. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The 350 GT was also further enhanced into the 400 GT, and its many variations, including the 400 GT 2+2, 400 GT Monza, and 400 GT Flying Star II.

2p538

The most important car of this year, however, was of course the Miura, which was unveiled at the 1965 Turin Auto Show. Nuccio Bertone, was at that show as well, and being an expert of engines and cars, saw great opportunity for the new chassis and for Lamborghini as a whole. It is said that he approached Ferruccio and said “I’m the one who can make the shoe to fit your foot”. (Nuccio Bertone 1965 cited in Automobili Lamborghini 2014) This marked the beginning of a new era in supercar design for decades to come.

1967, orders for the Miura came pouring in, creating a massive amount of publicity for the company, as well providing a lot of cash, allowing Lamborghini to invest in the future. Lamborghini had become a symbolic name, and gained the reputation of always going further no matter what, and not adhering to conventional limitations that other companies were so bound by. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)  People took great notice of the Miura, and orders were even made by people such as Rod Stewart, Dean Martin, Saudi King Fahd, and Frank Sinatra. (Miller 2014)

3Miura

This year also saw the birth of cars such as the Marzal, created by Bertone and Gandini. This was a 4-seater, rear engined marvel, featuring the first ever gullwing doors. The vertically opening doors were adapted over time, and thus became the famous Lambo doors, which we know today to be a signature of all high end Lamborghini cars. The Miura Roadster and Islero 400 GT, a follow up of the original 400 GT were also introduced but were overshadowed by the all new Espada GT. The car featured a front-engined, 2-seater layout, and was a revolutionary wonder in terms of design and one of the most successful works of Marcello Gandini. (Automobili Lamorghini 2014)

4marzal5espada

By 1969, the Miura, had seen developments and improvements, which gave birth to the all new Miura S. Apart from its more lavish and new leather interior, the car had a higher power output, as well as electric windows. Furthermore, the Islero GT also attained an upgraded version, which became the Islero GTS although was only produced in limited numbers . (Automobili Lamorghini 2014)

By the start of the 1970’s the two main cars, were the Miura S and updated Espada GTE in the line up. Ferruccio, however, wanted an in between car, and thus the Jarama was created, a 2+2 true Italian GT car. Expectations of customers had now been of the all-out, supercar style of Lamborghini, and therefore, the Jarama became second to the brand new P250 Urraco prototype unveiled at the 1970 Turin Auto show. Again, designed by Bertone, this car had a lower price than the Miura, and featured a great power figure, and thus orders poured in. This reflected in the expansion of the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata, adding nearly half a square kilometre of extra factory floor space. (Automobili Lamorghini 2014)

6p250urraco

Also in 1970, the Miura saw a further enhancement in the form of a Jota model. A lightweight, stripped out, racing car made for the road. It was the brainchild of Bob Wallace, Lamborghini’s New Zealand test driver. The car was a hard-core street racer, which was capable of accelerating to 100km/h in a mere 3.4 seconds. (Automobili Lamorghini 2014)

Subsequently, this was followed by the last hurrah, for the Miura, in SV spec in 1971, although didn’t turn many heads at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. No, this show was absolutely and savagely stolen by the brand new, and ultimate supercar, a dream car and poster pin up; the Lamborghini Countach. With its revolutionary geometric design, flat windscreen and roof, running seamlessly into the engine hood, it was an absolutely breathtaking new and innovative design. (Automobili Lamorghini 2014) It is rumoured that even the name derived from an incident, whereby the head of Bertone design saw the car, and shouted “Countach”, which is said to translate to something like “Oh My God”, or “Bloody Hell”, to show his excitement, and surprise by the looks of the car. (Miller 2014)

8countach

Unfortunately, Italy and in fact the world, was going through some difficult times, with Labour Unions, and thus, factories, which became intolerable to Ferruccio, and subsequently sold off the majority of the company to Swiss Georges-Henri, and the remaining shares to Rene Leimer in 1972. This meant that Ferruccio, the founder, creator, and legendary visionary, the backbone of the company was now out. (Automobili Lamorghini 2014)

The company continued onward, and released a special edition of the Jarama, called the S, and production of the Urraco P250 began. The Espada also saw a further developed model come into production, this time being the series III GTE, although would become the very last 4-seater Lamborghini for decades to come.

The Countach LP400 was debuted in 1973 and managed to be the only thing keeping up sales for the company for years to come, although, was also considered too lavish and excessive, as the Arab-Israeli War created a concern over petrol supplies. This event, also gave birth to the Urraco P200, a toned down 2-litre derivative, and the P300, the 3-litre version, of the previous P250. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

In 1974, Bertone, made a design study car, named the Lamborghini Bravo, destined to become the successor of the P300 Uracco. It was essentially a simplified, futuristic version of the Countach, and the later Countach actually ended up adopting the wheels. (Lambocars 2000-2013) The car remained a one off, but from it, bloomed a new joint project with Lamborghini, to create a Urraco with a removable roof, this car became the Silhouette P300. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

9bravo

Times were looking rough by this stage and with commercial complications, sales were dropping. Wanting to keep up the cash flow and to make better use of the equipment, Lamborghini went into collaboration with BMW Motorsport in 1976, to produce a mid-mount engined supercar, however this companionship diminished by 1977. In a desperate move, the owners decided to try and get a contract from the US Military, to manufacture an off-road vehicle. They strayed away from the norm, and designed the first off road Lamborghini, for “MTI” (Mobility Technologies International), known as the Cheetah. This car however, faced a lot of complications with manufacturing, legal implications, and quite a few physical qualities and did not become a successful idea, and therefore the entire project was dropped. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

10cheetah

By 1978 the only car Lamborghini was producing was the Countach LP400S, which came as a development of the standard Countach. Essentially two special cars were prepared in 1976, one of them for a Walter Wolf, which eventually became the ‘prototype’ for the Countach S. By the time Mr Wolf had his third custom built Countach, he convinced Lamborghini to produce ‘his’ modified car. Although not following the exact specifications of the Wolf Countach, the S did make use of the same 5.0- litre engine, and Pirelli P7 tyres, however needed a full suspension redesign by Dallara. ( Lambocars 2000-2013) The car was also fitted with large wheelarch extensions, new interior and a new front spoiler. An extremely popular part, was the Wolf spec rear wing, which only became available later on.

Enthusiast though, believe the car changed from the original beautiful, elegant, curved and simple lined car, to a faceted brutal  geometric machine, with wide arches and excessive scoops. Apart from the styling, the 400S had in fact actually decreased in power, as opposed to the standard 400 model, so for this reason production continued for both models. ( Lambocars 2000-2013)

11coutachlp400s

In 1980, however, things were not looking good for Lamborghini. Still a strong believer and supporter of Lambo, Bertone came up with a new concept car. This car was the Athon, and designed by Marc Deschamps, the successor of Gandini, the car was an instant hit with press and the general public. This got people talking and hyping about Lamborghini, but unfortunately it was not to be.  It was an exquisite futuristic open top concept, but was a one off, with no follow up, and now resides in the Bertone museum. (Lambocars 2000-2013)

12athon

The company came closer and closer to bankruptcy, and liquidation, and by February of 1980, it was put into receivership and declared bankrupt. The only received revenue was from the two most important Lamborghini dealerships in the world, for up front orders. At this stage, the court ordered the company to be put into the trust of Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimram, two supercar loving brothers with a sugar empire . In May 1981, the company got sold to Mimram and was promptly renamed ‘Nuova Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini’. (Lambocars 2000-2013) With new ideologies and the availability of financial backing, a reconstruction was set out and things were about to get a whole lot better for Lamborghini throughout the 1980’s. ( Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

 

 

References: 

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1963-1964 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1963-1964/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1965-1966 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1965-1966/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1967-1972 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1967-1972/>

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1972-1980 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1972-1980/>

Lambocars (2000-2013) timeline [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/timeline.html>

Lambocars (2000-2013) Zagato – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/prototypes/3500_gtz_by_zagato.html>

Lambocars (2000-2013) 350 GTS – the STORY [online]. available from <http://www.lambocars.com/classic_gt/350_gts.html>

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Miller, A. (2014) ‘18 things you didn’t know about Lamborghini’ Supercompressor [online]. available from <http://www.supercompressor.com/rides/18-thigns-you-didn-t-know-about-lamborghini-italian-supercar-facts>

 

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The heritage of Lamborghini

In order to understand how “Automobili Lamborghini” came to be, we need to know the history of the man behind the company. This man was none other than Ferruccio Lamboghini, born in 1916 in the beautiful town of Modena, Italy (Lamboweb 2014). He was born a Taurus, which actually set the bull as the logo for his company. (Todayifoundout 2013)

At the time of World War II in the early 1940’s, Lamborghini joined the army and was stationed at the Greek, Rhodes island. Being situated just South-West of Turkey, fortunately this area was very calm during the war, almost isolated from the rest of world. It was here that Lamborghini became known as a wizard at mechanical improvisation, he was a genius at repairing all the broken cars, trucks and motorcycles which had to be done using reused part, and on the spot. (Lamboweb 2014)

After World War II, he returned to his hometown of Modena, and opened up a small car and motorcycle repair shop. Soon enough he realised that there was a massive demand for tractors in the area, which came with the post-war agricultural upswing. Surely enough, Lamborghini started to build himself a name in the tractor manufacturing business. It turned out to become an extremely successful business and soon enough expanded the brand to heaters as well as air conditioners. By 1960 and before his fiftieth birthday (Automobili Lamborghini 2014), he was very wealthy and successful, he had made a name for himself in the industry and owned a collection of super cars.

Lamborghini, however, was never really satisfied with the quality of the cars that he owned. Coming from a mechanical background it wasn’t long until he was taking apart his cars, checking how they worked, how they were built, what chassis and electronics they used, and he decided to make his own supercar, a better supercar. This meant taking on the likes of brands such as Ferrari, Jaguar and Maserati. (MacKenzie 2013)

Naturally, people thought he was mad, and there are several stories as to how this whole idea came to be. The most popular is that, Lamborghini became annoyed that his Ferrari was constantly breaking down, because Ferrari mainly made road cars to support his racing legacy financially, and wasn’t too concerned about the road cars. This sparked an argument between Ferrari and Lamborghini, and he decided to take on Ferrari to show him what a real supercar is meant to be.

Ferruccio

Following this incident, Lamborghini decided to bring his supercar company to fruition and founded ‘Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini’ in 1963, and bought a large plot in Sant’Agata, Bolognese to become the official home of the Lamborghini brand. Just a mere 25 kilometers from the city of Bologna, he built an ultra modern factory, with the best facilities for this purpose, and was unrivaled at the time for automotive manufacturing. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014). Although, he had created such an extravagant manufacturing plant, Lamborghini didn’t like to be too far from the action. He built the management offices right next to the Factory building, so he could personally monitor the factory floor and work on the cars himself, to make sure all the cars were up to his standards.

Between setting up shop in the spring of 1963, and the very first official presentation, Lamborghini didn’t have much time. The Turin Auto Show was in the beginning of November in 1963, looming upon them quickly, this meant only a few months to come up with the ultimate supercar of the time. Lamborghini knew this was an enormous challenge, but also knew exactly what he wanted, and therefore got the best people for the job. Giotto Bizzarini, had designed the most recent Ferrari engines of the time, and created the best V12’s in the world, and quickly became the man in charge in terms of engine development at Lamborghini. For this endeavour he also hired Giampaolo Dallara, and Giampaolo Stanazini, two young, abitious and promising upcoming engineers to oversee production and the manufacturing of the rest of the car. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014).

In just a mere 7 months, after the opening of the factory, the first masterpiece was born. In the shape of a concept show car, ready for its debut and ready to put Lamborghini into the history books as a supercar company, the Lamborghini 350 GTV prototype was born. Designed by Franco Scaglione, the car was a sleek Gran Turismo car, and although it was a brilliant first attempt at a car, some critics called it “overdesigned” and “Batmobile”. (MacKenzie 2013)

350gtv

After receiving these comments and not exactly reaching the expectancies of Ferruccio, the car was then sent to the Carrozeria Touring design firm in Milan for some tweaking Felice Bianchi Anderloni. (MacKenzie 2013). In the next year, 1964, following its first ever debut, a road going version of the car came into production, named the 350 GT. With only 120 350 GT’s built, the car was quickly was succeeded by the new 400 GT. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

350gt

In 1963 Lamborghini told Italian journalist Athos Evangelisti that; “In the past, I bought some of the most famous GT cars, and found several flaws. They were either; too hot, not very comfortable, not fast enough, or not finished to perfection. Now I want to make a flawless GT. Not a technical marvel, just a very normal, very conventional, perfect car.” (Lamborghini 1963 cited in MacKenzie 2013)

The 400 GT featured a four litre engine, and made use of the first in-house Lamborghini designed gearbox. This car was then developed from a 2 seater GT car, into the 400 GT 2+2, with two extra seats behind the normal ones and reaching a production figure of 273 units. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014).  The cars got the attention of the numerous European and American publications and received great reviews. Word got out of the success and quality of Lamborghini and customers soon enough started to take notice (MacKenzie 2013).  It was these exquisite cars that got the wheels spinning for Automobili Lamborghini, and became the founding roots of the brands’ rich supercar heritage for decades to come.

400gt

Lamborghini started to thrive by 1965, and everyone started to take notice of the beautiful GT cars rolling out of the assembly line. Lamborghini always wanted to make flawless “normal” road going cars and wasn’t interested in concept cars (MacKenzie 2013). This however didn’t deter his two enthusiastic engineers. Getting their inspirations from racing cars of the time, they had been coming up with all sort of new, interesting, innovative and exciting ideas. Their idea was to fit the 400 GT 4 litre V12, transversely, in the middle of the car, behind the cab. This was a revolutionary idea, however, to the surprise of the engineers the 400TP project, was approved and given the go ahead, by Ferruccio. (Automobili Lamborghini 2014)

Thinking that the car would never get more sales than fifty units, Lamborghini thought that it would make for great advertising for the company. Although a great visionary and innovator, even Ferruccio, couldn’t see the potential of this new way of building a car, and the legend that it was to become. This car was of course the almighty Miura; and keeping up to its name, it certainly charged forward with the strength and prowess of the famous Miura Bull. Selling over 500 units, (MacKenzie 2013) the car became a legendary supercar, and the first real predecessor to all modern supercars. Lamborghini had thus created the basis for the future and continuous success for his world renowned supercars.

Miura

 

References:

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1963-1964 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1963-1964/ >

2014 Automobili Lamborghini (2014) History 1965-1966 [online]. available from <http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1965-1966/>

Lamboweb (2014) History [online]. Available from <http://www.lamboweb.com/History.htm>

MacKenzie,A. (2013) ‘50 years of the Raging Bull: A Lamborghini retrospective’ Gizmag [online]. available from <http://www.gizmag.com/lamborghini-history-50-year-anniversary/26808/>

Todayifoundout (2013) Lamborghini cars were a result of a tractor company owner being insulted by the founder of Ferrari [online]. Available from <http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/03/lamborghini-cars-were-a-result-of-a-tractor-company-owners-frustration-with-ferrari/>

Images:

Good-wallpapers.com (2009-2014) available from <http://good-wallpapers.com/pictures/11143/Lamborghini%20350%20GTV%201963.jpg> [12 July 2011]

Lamborghini.com (2014) available from http://www.lamborghini.com/en/history/1965-1966/

Seriouswheels.com (n.d) available from <http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-1960-1969/1968-Riva-Aquarama-Lamborghini-350-GT-1-2560×1600.jpg>

Sevenroadsclub.com (n.d) available from <http://sevenroadsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/autowp.ru_lamborghini_400_gt_2_2_17.jpg

wewebcars.com (2010) available from <http://www.wewebcars.com/images/news/Lambo-history-Ferruccio-Lamborghini-3_1784.jpg> [16 July 2013]