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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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August 2012 Issue
 
ARTICLE
Ferrari's Competitor - Lamborghini
By Robert McLellan
 

The story is told that Ferrucio Lamborghini owned a Ferrari that started giving him problems. The problems could not be solved by the local repair shop so he took it to Modena and confronted Enzo Ferrari himself. Enzo Ferrari, a man known for his arrogance, told Ferrucio that the problem was not with the car but rather with the "farmer".

Insulted, Ferrucio decided to build his own car and began Automobili Lamborghini SpA, founded in 1963 at SantAgata Bologna. He used his birth sign, Taurus the bull, as a symbol for his cars and most of the models were named in connection with bulls. He employed some ingenious people to design his cars, such as Giotto Bizzarrini (who had designed the Ferrari 250 GTO), Giampaolo Dallara (chassis designer), Paolo Stanzani (engineer), Bob Wallace (test driver) and Franco Scaglione (designer). With such expertise and sufficient funding, the first car called the 350 GTV, debuted at the 1963 Turin motor show and immediately became the star of the show. It featured aluminum bodywork and an all-alloy V12 with 4 camshafts, more advanced than any contemporary Ferrari.

In March of 1964, Lamborghini's first production car arrived and was named the 350 GT. The 350 GT was succeeded by the 400 GT and the 400 GT 2+2. When the Miura was introduced, a true super-car which combined exotic looks (by Marcello Gandini of Bertone) and spectacular mechanical design — low center of gravity, mid-engined and V12 power. Then the Espada and Urraco models were added.

In 1972, Ferrucio sold Automobili Lamborghini SpA to Georges-Henri Rossetti, a friend and wealthy Swiss businessman. Production was stopped for two years at that point. Then in 1974 the spectacular successor to Miura, the Countach was introduced. With its space-age appearance, exotic sound and power, it became a trademark of Lamborghini in the next 25 years. Chrysler took over Lamborghini in 1987 and spent an excessive amount of money developing the Diablo only to sell the company to the Indonesian Megatech in 1994. Not long after that it was transferred to a Malaysian company, Mycom Setdco and then a Indonesian company, V'Power. When Lamborghini asked Volkswagen's group boss, Ferdinand Piech, for Audi V8 engines and Quattro drivetrains, Piech bought the company in 1998. Since then, Audi has made a serious investment to modernize the Sant'Agata factory and created the new Murcielago. Its high quality standards and testing procedures improved the a new generation of Lamborghinis, making them far more reliable and user friendly than in the past. A new Lamborghini then arrived in the form of the Gallardo, establishing itself as a worthy competitor to Ferrari.

 
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The Automotive Chronicles, August 2012
 
 
 
 
 
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