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Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini – Funo di Argelato (I)

Whilst the Lamborghini factory museum at Sant’Agata da Bolognese is well known, and is a place that many enthusiasts have visited since it opened over 15 years ago, fewer are aware that there is another museum dedicated to the marque. It’s not that far from Sant’Agata, situated in Funo di Argelato, a few miles north east of Bologna and quite easy to find, a couple of miles off the main A13 autostrada heading towards Padova (Padua) and Venezia. I picked up a leaflet about it soon after its 2014 opening, which is how I found out about it, and obviously wanted to go, but the difficulty had been that it was not open on a Sunday and so although I had been in the area every year, to attend the Auto e Moto d’Epoca event in Padova, it only had been Sundays that were available for a visit. But a return to Bologna a few weeks later, to include the Bologna Show gave me the chance to stop by and see what was on show. Whilst the museum only opened in its present guise in 2014, the collection dates back almost 20 years before that time as the Centro Polifunzionale Ferruccio Lamborghini in Dosso, opening just two years after the 1993 passing of Ferruccio Lamborghini. It soon became apparent that this family owned museum was simply too small for the ever-growing collection of vehicles and artefacts associated with Ferruccio’s life and work, hence the move to much larger premises. The impact of the company is evident as soon as you arrive at Bologna airport, as the factory has a display area in the arrivals part of the terminal, and there are usually a couple of the latest models on display. That was the case on this occasion, too with both Aventador and Huracan on show.

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If you think that the two Lamborghini museums might be quite similar, then think again, as this one, created and owned by Tonino Lamborghini, to celebrate the figure of his father, his creations and the myth of the raging bull. As such, within the 9000 square metres of display space, there is a reconstruction of Ferruccio’s first personal office, with many of his personal effects and official documents as well as both cars owned by the family and examples of those produced for sale, along with far more of the other products that have born the Lamborghini name, a fascinating array of prototypes and other memorabilia. This is a comprehensive display which gives real insight into far more of the history of the company than you will get at Sant’Agata.

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TRACTORS

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in Renazzo, in the Ferrara province, on April 28th, 1916. The eldest of five sons, he grew up on his family farm where his father tried to pass on his passion for land-work and agriculture culture. But Ferruccio had a totally different take on his future, with a clear talent for engines and cars. After primary school, Ferruccio attended the professional training institute, ‘Taddia Brothers’, a  melting pot of Centenese entrepreneurs. Once he got his school license and despite the opposition of his father – who was willing to pass him the management of the farm – he started training in the workshop of a local master blacksmith, who shared with him the iron working and welding secrets. From a young age, he proved himself headstrong and stubborn, so he finally managed to get hired by cavalier Righi, owner of the most important workshop of Bologna. At that time the workshop was commissioned for the maintenance of the Army’s vehicles: this period, even though short, would prove to be of great importance for the experience and competences of Ferruccio. After the Bolognese adventure, at 18 years old he opened a workshop in Renazzo with his lifelong friend Marino Filippini, who he had already worked with at Righi’s and who many years later would be employed in one of his factories. Always animated by passion and bravery, when he could, he would buy an old used car or motorbike that, once fixed up, could easily be seen driven through the dusty country roads. These were carefree and intense years that left a lasting mark in the character and personality of Ferruccio, though they were abruptly shattered by the outbreak of the war. Ferruccio was sent to the isle of Rhodes, in the Aegean Sea, then Italian territory, and assigned to the ’50th Autoreparto Misto di Manovra’, reporting directly to the High Command Armed Forces of the island. Known as the ‘Autocentro’, this unit was responsible for the maintenance and repair of all military vehicles on the island. Ferruccio immediately realises the unique opportunity he has come across: to work with the most sophisticated tools of Italian and foreign mechanical industry. Soon after Ferruccio is made head of the workshop department but it is first and foremost his extraordinary intuition that consistently brings him to the centre of any situation and makes him one of the most popular around. The bravery and talent of Ferruccio in the engines area lead him to popularity and to the total trust of the Commander, who also lends him his personal car to repair the brakes. Island life continues, marked by the tragedy of war until September 8th, 1943, when all staff of the ‘Autocentro’ ran away from the city. But Ferruccio could not stay away from engines for too long and he returned to Rhodes in civilian clothes. After doing a series of odd jobs, he later opened a small workshop with the permission of the same Germans who preferred to take advantage of his mechanical skills rather than imprison him. In 1946, a year after the war ended, he was free to return to Italy, but he was not alone. In Rhodes, Ferruccio met Clelia, an Italian girl from Ferrara, who he madly fell in love with. At that time Ferruccio had clear ideas for his future: he wanted to get married and exploit the incredible opportunities starting out in his Country, which was just wriggling away from war and where a new air of freedom and enterprise was evident.

Back to Italy after the war, a number of things came together in Ferruccio’s mind which led to the foundation of his company. Away from the main roadways and infrastructure, the Centese area emerged from the conflict in better shape than many other areas, but that agriculture, which for centuries had been the major source of income in the area was now in crisis. With a mix of the libertarian euphoria, the Italy-after-war redemption spirit, and somewhat simplified bureaucracy required to begin industrial activities to boost employment, Ferruccio decided to test his technical and mechanical knowledge and to exploit an emerging market for agriculture automation at scale. At the time the Italian market was dominated by Fiat, Landini, Motomeccanica, all of whom were still producing vehicles with petrol engines. Ferruccio thus thought there was plenty space for technological improvement. At the end of 1947, he decided to produce an economical yet powerful tractor dedicated to the peasants of the ‘Bassa’ with their small farms. He purchased all kind of cheap surplus war equipment, improved the engine and the fuelling system, with an innovative fuel system which allowed the engine to be started on petrol then switched to diesel and produced a very simple internal frame: and so the ‘Carioca’ tractor was born, introduced to the public on February 3rd, 1948, the day dedicated to Saint Biagio, patron saint of town of Cento. There were a couple of examples on display here.

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The Carioca was an instant success, attracting lots of interest from the local farmers who admired, evaluated and went on to buy his tractors. Ferruccio decided to expand production. His father came to his aid, and by giving the bank the farm as collateral, Ferruccio was granted a loan from the ‘Cassa di Risparmio di Cento’ and purchased a thousand Morris engines, 6-cylinder 3,500 cc diesel powered, hired more workmen and started production of the L33, the evolution of the ‘Carioca’. In 1950 annual production reached 200 pieces, the company employed 30 workers and administration was carefully managed by Annita, whom Ferruccio had married a few months earlier. In 1951 he had to move to a larger structure and he bought a 10,000 square metre field, once a racetrack area and the first real production company was born: ‘Trattori Lamborghini’. This is one of those 1951 L33 tractors.

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During the early 1950s, Lamborghini evolved from being a small-time manufacturer to one operating at industrial scale. The number of employees increased with the rise in production, and the name of Ferruccio became known beyond Italy. though the atmosphere in the company remained cheerful and relaxed. The sales network was born during these years. Initially Ferruccio tried finding the main customers, personally creating the distribution chain and meeting agents at the trade fairs. His production unit required more and more space. The plant grew almost continuously: it was just before the economic boom and Ferruccio once again hit the mark, with his uncanny ability to understand what people want a minute before the competition does. This was evidenced by the fact that for some years he had been producing tractors with Diesel engines and he soon obtained the license from MWM (Motoren Werke Mannheim) to produce these engines in Italy. In 1952 the Italian government issued a new law granting loans to farmers for the purchase of farm machinery provided that it is produced domestically, which drove up production. New products continued to be developed and soon  ‘Lamborghini Trattori’ had 400 employees and was producing 25/30 units a day. In 1952, the new models DL 15, DL 20, DL 25 and DL 30 were presented, followed the next year by the DL 40 and DL 50. 1955 saw the introduction of the first Lamborghini crawler, the DL 25 C, followed by the DL 30 C in its characteristic yellow colour.

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New designs continued to appear in the 1960s, and there were lots of different models shown here, including the 2R, smaller 1R, this 1962 2R which was air-cooled and the 5CTL.

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Thanks to a notable increase in sales, in 1968–69 Lamborghini Trattori adopted a strategy aimed at improving both the technical quality of its tractors and the production volumes. Lamborghini tractors were the first in Italy to be fitted with a synchronised gearbox as standard, and the range was further extended with high-power models such as the R. 480. In 1973, whilst still retaining its own brand name, Lamborghini Trattori was sold off and joined the SAME Group. Several of these 1970s models were on show here, including the C230S, the R340 of 1978, a lot of which were made, the R340 DT and this C452L. A new range of machines came out in 1983, with highly innovative features and modular water-cooled engines. From the end of the 1980s, electronic injection adjustment and new ECUs were introduced on the tractor range, while the new high-power “RACING” range (1991) adopted the “Electronic Power Shift” transmission.

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DIVERSIFICATION

By the early 1960s, Lamborghini Trattori was a clear leader in their sector: the models launched on the market enjoyed great success; the name of Ferruccio became known worldwide and he obtained important personal rewards. In 1959 during a trip to the United States, Ferruccio Lamborghini visited a few companies that produced burners for domestic heating and immediately thought of the Italian situation. As a result of the economic boom and the house, with all its comforts, had become the most common evocative dream at the time. He noticed that the burners were a trend for the future, intended to replace coal-fired boilers for heating. Following what turned out to be an accurate evaluation he figured he could withstand competition in this field and embarked on the burner adventure. He hired the best available technicians and in less than a year he built a new plant in Pieve di Cento, ‘Lamborghini Bruciatori Condizionatori’.

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ROAD CARS

But challenges would continue. This was a period of intense change and evolution that pushed Ferruccio to think about his long-held passion for cars. At the end of 1962, he called his staff together to announce his desire to start building cars. His selection of project manager fell on the engineer Gian Paolo Dallara, a young designer with an excellent technical background, and he commissioned Scaglione to design the bodywork for his new GT car, Ferruccio had a clear idea of what he wanted: a V12 engine with four camshafts in the head, two valves per cylinder, six twin-choke carburettors and dry sump lubrication. As he had already done for other products, he hired the best technicians from the competition including Giotto Bizzarrini, who for four years had worked at Ferrari and who had been  involved in the development of models such as the 250 GT 2+2 and GTO. He purchased a field in Sant’Agata Bolognese and the technicians started working in a nearby workshop, whilst the factory was built, the start of  ‘Lamborghini Automobili’. As a badge for the new company he chose the Bull: warrior, stubborn, never tamed, just like his zodiac sign. A prototype was was indeed first presented in Turin, and then at Geneva. Lamborghini wanted to exhibit his new car, which was to be called the 350 GTV, at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. As development work proceeded, though, Dallara and Stanzani quickly realised that the Lamborghini 350GTV was not properly designed for mass production, so they proceeded along parallel lines: it was necessary to detune the original Bizzarrini engine; and to redesign the original Bizzarrini chassis for street use. The original Bizzarrini-designed 3.5 litre V12 was essentially a race motor, potentially developing 400 hp at 11,000rpm. In order to fit his grand touring car with a smoother, more pleasant, longer-lasting engine, that was “good for 40,000 hard miles between services” Ferruccio had Dallara and Wallace detune a version of this prototype “GTV” motor for street use. This first “detuned” L350 engine was tested on October 3, 1963. The result was a very capable 270 bhp power plant that could reach 254 km/h (158 mph). While this 350 GT design work continued, the prototype was rushed to completion for the upcoming October 26 press meeting and the subsequent launch at the Turin Auto Show on the 30th. The Lamborghini 350GTV was shown at the Turin Auto Show with the original Bizzarrini “racing” V-12 engine—with its downdraft webers, rear distributors, etc.—displayed alongside as it was not “adapted to the chassis.” The car was a “non-runner” with the suspension arms simply tack-welded in place and the engine not installed, and what you see here is as the car was presented at that Turin Show. The functional Lamborghini 350 GTV was restored many years ago and currently resides in a private collection, so what is seen here is a light blue metallic mock-up of the prototype.

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Lukewarm reaction to the car caused Ferruccio to postpone plans for immediate production and to move on to the new 350 GT design. In March 1964, only 5 months after the debut of the GTV in Turin, the “redesigned GTV”— now called the 350 GT— was debuted at the Geneva Auto Show It was greeted with sufficient enthusiasm that Ferruccio decided to proceed with production at Sant’Agata in May 1964. The production 350 GT had an all-aluminium alloy V12 engine mated to a five-speed ZF manual transmission. It had an aluminium body (some had steel bodies), a Salisbury differential, four-wheel independent suspension, and vacuum servo-assisted Girling disc brakes all round. The 350 GT could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, and from 0 to 100 mph in 16.3 seconds, and go on to reach a top speed of 158 mph. The 350 GT shared a number of features with the 350 GTV prototype, including a four-wheel independent suspension, quad-cam V12, and an aluminium body. A number of revisions and refinements were made due to the suggestions of the Neri and Bonacini racing development shop, and test driver Bob Wallace. Fixed headlights replaced the prototype’s rotationally hidden variety, and twin-barrel side-draught Weber 40 DCOE 2 carburettors reduced the height of the engine, thereby negating the clearance problems of the GTV prototype, and giving the car the exceptionally low hood line Ferruccio desired. As was the case with the motor, Bizzarrini’s GTV “racing” chassis design was the basis of Dallara’s 350 GT “street” chassis. Using far heavier materials, Dallara created an extremely strong chassis from square-section tubing which provided easy entry and exit through the doors, aided in the quietness of the car, and provided a solid platform on which to mount the body, much like the Aston Martin DB4. The suspension was fully independent, with unequal-length wishbones and concentric coil-spring-damper units. The rear suspension wishbones were offset towards the spring mountings to resist driving and braking torque, which provided superior handling. Quality control of the early 3.5 litre engines was very high. Each one underwent tests for 24 hours on a Schenk Walge dynamometer, being run for the first 12 hours under electric power, and then with gasoline at increasing speeds. A detailed analysis was made of its behaviour before installation in the car for at least 500 km of mixed-test running by Wallace. The manufacture of the bodies was entrusted to Touring of Milan, who used their patented Superleggera method of construction to fix aluminium alloy panels directly to a tubular structure. The first 350 GT frame was fabricated by Neri and Bonacini, who continued to act as Lamborghini’s chassis supplier until production of the 350 GT was underway, when the job was turned over to Marchesi. Chassis and bodies were mated at Touring, which then delivered the complete assemblies—with even the bumpers in place—to the Lamborghini factory. The first 350 GT chassis and body, delivered to the Lamborghini factory on March 9, 1964, was named No. 101 (Touring No. 17001). That same month No. 101 debuted at the Geneva show. The first customer delivery of a 350 GT was No. 104 (Touring No. 17004), delivered on July 31, 1964. Lamborghini produced 120 of their 350 GTs before replacing it with the larger-engined Lamborghini 400 GT in 1966. Many 350 GTs were subsequently fit with the larger, 4.0 litre, engine. The first 400 GTs were essentially just the older 350GT featuring an enlarged, 3929 cc V12 engine, with a power output of 320 bhp and recognised by the change to twin circular headlights from rectangular units. Twenty-three of these cars were built, with three featuring aluminium bodywork, and then at the 1966 Geneva Show, Lamborghini presented a revised version, called the 400 GT 2+2, which had a different roofline, and minor sheetmetal changes compared to the earlier cars, still with the Carrozzeria Touring bodywork. The larger body shape enabled the +2 seating to be installed in the rear, where the 350GT only had room for luggage or +1 seating, without changing the wheelbase. The 400 GT 2+2 also had a Lamborghini designed gearbox, with Porsche style synchromesh on all gears, which greatly improved the drivetrain.  224 examples of the 400 GT 2+2 were built from 1966 to 1968, when it was replaced with the Islero,

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Now, this is not quite the story that legend would have us believe. The one often related is that Lamborghini had bought a Ferrari, a 250 GTE, and that he had a number of problems with it, including the clutch, and as he was not the only one, in a fit of pique, he went over to Maranello, and demanded a meeting with Enzo Ferrari, to complain. The meeting did not go well, and Enzo told him in no uncertain terms to stick with his tractors. It is claimed that enraged by this, Ferruccio decided to build a better car than anything that Enzo was creating, and this is the reason for moving into car production. It would seem very likely that there is an element of truth to this, though Ferruccio was too shrewd a business man to make judgments based purely on emotion. Anyway, there was an example of that very car, a 1962 250 GTE on show here, Ferruccio’s personal car.

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The next Lamborghini model to appear was the now legendary Miura, a car some will say was the first true supercar. For sure, this car, produced between 1966 and 1973, is widely considered to have instigated the trend of high performance, two-seater, mid-engined sports cars. When released, it was the fastest production road car available. The Miura was originally conceived by Lamborghini’s engineering team, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace who in 1965 put their own time into developing a prototype car known as the P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree – one which could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three men worked on its design at night, hoping to convince Lamborghini such a vehicle would neither be too expensive nor distract from the company’s focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini gave his engineers a free hand in the belief the P400 was a potentially valuable marketing tool, if nothing more. The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars. The V12 was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the Turin Salon in 1965. Impressed show-goers placed orders for the car despite the lack of a body to go over the chassis. Bertone was placed in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before its debut at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine would fit inside its compartment. Committed to showing the car, they decided to fill the engine bay with ballast and keep the car locked throughout the show, as they had three years earlier for the début of the 350GTV. Sales head Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see the P400’s power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the highlight of the show, immediately boosting stylist Marcello Gandini’s reputation. The favourable reaction at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by the following year. The name “Miura”, a famous type of fighting bull, was chosen, and featured in the company’s newly created badge. The car gained the worldwide attention of automotive enthusiasts when it was chosen for the opening sequence of the original 1969 version of The Italian Job. In press interviews of the time company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini was reticent about his precise birth date, but stressed that he was born under the star sign Taurus the bull. Early Miuras, known as P400s (for Posteriore 4 litri), were powered by a version of the 3.9 litre Lamborghini V12 engine used in the 400GT at the time, only mounted transversely and producing 350 hp. Exactly 275 P400 were produced between 1966 and 1969 – a success for Lamborghini despite its then-steep price. Taking a cue from the Mini, Lamborghini formed the engine and gearbox in one casting. Its shared lubrication continued until the last 96 SVs, when the case was split to allow the correct oils to be used for each element. An unconfirmed claim holds the first 125 Miuras were built of 0.9 mm steel and are therefore lighter than later cars. All cars had steel frames and doors, with aluminium front and rear skinned body sections. When leaving the factory they were originally fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72). The P400S Miura, also known as the Miura S, made its introduction at the Turin Motorshow in November 1968, where the original chassis had been introduced three years earlier. It was slightly revised from the P400, with the addition of power windows, bright chrome trim around external windows and headlights, new overhead inline console with new rocker switches, engine intake manifolds made 2 mm larger, different camshaft profiles, and notched trunk end panels (allowing for slightly more luggage space). Engine changes were reportedly good for an additional 20 hp. Other revisions were limited to creature comforts, such as a locking glovebox lid, a reversed position of the cigarette lighter and windshield wiper switch, and single release handles for front and rear body sections. Other interior improvements included the addition of power windows and optional air conditioning, available for US$800. About 338 P400S Miura were produced between December 1968 and March 1971. One S #4407 was owned by Frank Sinatra. Miles Davis also owned one, which he crashed in October 1972 under the influence of cocaine, breaking both ankles. The last and most famous Miura, the P400SV or Miura SV featured different cam timing and altered carburettors. These gave the engine an additional 15 hp to a total of 380 hp. The last 96 SV engines had a split sump. The gearbox now had its lubrication system separate from the engine, which allowed the use of the appropriate types of oil for the gearbox and the engine. This also alleviated concerns that metal shavings from the gearbox could travel into the engine with disastrous and expensive results and made the application of an optional LSD far easier. The SV can be distinguished from its predecessors from its lack of “eyelashes” around the headlamps, wider rear wings to accommodate the new 9-inch-wide rear wheels and Pirelli Cinturato tyres, and different taillights. 150 SVs were produced. There were three examples of the car on show here, including an SV, as can be identified by the absence of the “eyelashes” around the headlights, which was Ferruccio’s personal car.

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The Espada, a 4-seat grand touring coupé, arrived in 1968. The car was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Gandini drew inspiration and cues from two of his Bertone show cars from 1967, the Lamborghini Marzal and the Jaguar Piraña. The name “Espada” means “sword” in Spanish, referring to the sword that the Torero uses to kill the bull in the Corrida. During its ten years in production the car underwent some changes, and three different series were produced. These were the S1 (1968–1970), the S2 (1970–1972) and the S3 (1972–1978). Each model featured interior redesigns, while only minor details were changed on the exterior. The Espada was launched at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show. The original design of the dashboard was inspired by the Marzal concept car, and featured octagonal housings for the main instruments, topped by an additional binnacle for the secondary gauges. Wheels were Campagnolo alloys on knock-off hubs, of the same design seen on the Miura. The tail lights were the same units mounted on the first series Fiat 124 Sport Coupé. 186 were made up until January 1970. At the 1970 Brussels Motor Show Lamborghini unveiled the Espada S2. Outside the only change was the deletion of the grille covering the vertical glass tail panel. Inside changes were more radical: all-new dashboard, centre console and steering wheel were installed. The instrument binnacle was of a more conventional rectangular shape, with round gauges. A wood-trimmed fascia extended along the entire width of the dashboard. Power output increased to 350 PS (345 bhp) due to a higher 10.7:1 compression ratio; the brakes were upgraded to vented Girling discs. Power steering was offered as an option. 575 Series II Espada were made, making it the most popular and desirable variant. The Espada S3 was launched in 1972. Its 3.9 litre V12 engine produced 325 PS (321 bhp) With the second redesign the dashboard changed to a aluminium-trimmed cockpit that kept all instruments and most controls (including the radio) within easy reach of the driver. Newly designed wheels on five-stud hubs replaces the earlier knock-off wider wheels fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 215/70WR15 CN12 tyres, making the Espada S3 instantly recognisable; other exterior changes included the square instead of hexagonal mesh grille and tail lights from the Alfa Romeo 2000 replacing the previous Fiat-sourced ones. In 1974 a Borg Warner automatic transmission became available. From 1975 large impact bumpers had to be installed to meet United States safety requirements; some people consider cars produced with them as a separate fourth series, but Lamborghini did not officially change the model designation. In total, 1217 Espadas were made, making it the most successful Lamborghini model until the expansion of Countach production in the mid-1980s. As well as a production example, seen here is the 1967 Prototype Espada which still had the gull-wing doors seen in the Marzal concept car.

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Also dating from 1968 was the Islero, and there were a couple of examples of the model here. This was the replacement for the 400GT and made its debut at the 1968 Geneva Auto Show. The name Islero comes from a Miura bull that killed matador Manuel Rodriguez “Manolete” on August 28, 1947. Since Carrozzeria Touring, the company that designed Lamborghini’s chassis, was bankrupt, Carrozzeria Marazzi was the next logical choice as it was funded by Mario Marazzi, an old employee of Touring. The new design was essentially a rebody of the 400GT, but the track was altered to allow for wider tires and while the Islero’s body suffered from a lack of proper fit between the panels, its good outward visibility, roomier interior, and much improved soundproofing made it an improvement over previous models. It had a 325 bnp 3929 cc V12 engine, a five-speed transmission, fully independent suspension, and disc brakes. Its top speed was rated at 154 mph (248 km/h) and acceleration from zero to 60 mph took 6.4 seconds. Only 125 Isleros were built before the release of an updated model, dubbed the Islero S, which was released in 1969. The engine in this model was tuned to 350 bhp, but the torque remained the same. There were quite a few styling changes, including brightwork blind slots on the front wings, an enlarged bonnet scoop (which supplied air to the interior of the car, not the engine), slightly flared wings, tinted windows, round side-marker lights (instead of teardrops on the original), and a fixed section in the door windows. Various other changes included larger brake discs, revised rear suspension and revamped dashboard and interior. The top speed of the S improved to 161 mph (259 km/h) and acceleration from zero to 60 mph 6.2 seconds. Only 100 examples of the Islero S were built, bringing the production total of the Islero nameplate to 225 cars. Ferruccio Lamborghini himself drove an Islero during that era – as did his brother Edmondo. The car is also famous for its appearance in the Roger Moore thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself and in Italian Vedo nudo (first movie novel, Islero 1968, as the car of Sylva Koscina). Production ceased in 1970.

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The car which replaced it was the Jarama. As Lamborghini sales started to gain momentum they wanted to increase their penetration of the US market, and the Islero had been conceived for this task but as American regulations evolved, it became clear that it would make more sense to replace the car rather than to try to update it, which is why the Islero had a relatively short production life.  Introduced in 1970 at the Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini built the Jarama to meet U.S. standards using a version of the Espada chassis that had had its wheelbase shortened by 10.7 inches. The Jarama was heavier than the Islero, though it claimed the same top speed of 162 mph, using the same 3,929 cc Lamborghini V12 engine as was found in the Islero and Espada. This was fitted with Six Weber carburettors and sent power to the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual transmission.  Two different models were made, the original GT (1970–1973) model which produced 350 bhp, and the GTS (also known as Jarama S) (1972–1976) that produced 365 bhp. The GTS featured a few minor body modifications including a bonnet scoop, exhaust vents in the wings and new wheels. A redesigned dashboard, power assisted steering, removable roof panels, and a Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmission also became available as options. Early Jaramas featured magnesium alloy wheels from the Miura. A total of 328 Jaramas were built. As well as a standard Jarama S, seen here is an RS Jarama SVR prototype. This was perhaps inspired by the orange Jarama Bob created by the late Bob Wallace. For sure this yellow car takes the track inspiration a few notches higher with aluminium bodywork  a massive rear wing, stripped down interior, fixed headlights and a new engine cover up front and power increased to 380 bhp.

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The end of the 60s marked the beginning of a new era inside the factories. For the first time ‘Lamborghini Trattori’ was hit with a serious crisis that affected many sectors of the Italian economy. In the earlier years ‘Lamborghini Trattori’ carried out a radical transformation of the product that engaged most of the company from both a financial as well as organizational point of view. The number of employees doubled and a very large order from the Bolivian state was approved. But the political situation in the Southern American country suddenly changed following a coup-d’etat and the new government cancelled the order. As a result in 1970 there were 5.000 tractors ready with no buyer. Like most companies in the 1970s, Lamborghini had a strong presence of the trade unions and was hit by strikes. Ferruccio became very disoriented. In the Spring of 1971 the crisis seemed to slowly recede, but it came at a high cost. The buildings, and only the buildings, were sold to FIAT, who was interested in gaining an opening in an area such as Cento, already rich in highly specialised manpower. Each employee was given a choice to either go to FIAT or to follow Ferruccio in the new company located in Pieve. In fact in 1970 ‘Lamborghini Burners’ was transferred to Dosso, where a modern and large facility had been completed, designed to accommodate the increased production of air conditioners, boilers and burners: ‘Lamborghini Calor’. With the newfound liquidity gained by the sale of the tractors originally made for Bolivia, without carrying the high management costs and thanks to the support of the loyal workers, Ferruccio seemed reborn, but his troubles were far from over and in 1973 he decided to sell ‘Trattori’ to Same, to whom he had handed over management a year earlier. The year before, in 1972 he had taken another drastic decision, selling  51% of the shares of ‘Lamborghini Automobili’, a prescient move, perhaps, as the 1973/74 ‘energy crisis’ would have a profound effect on makers of high end luxury and sports cars.

Although Lamborghini had first shown a replacement for the Miura in 1971, and shocked everyone to at least the same extent as they had in 1966, it took time to get the new car, the Countach, into production. When it did, it was known as the the LP400 and had a 3929 cc engine delivering 370 hp. The first production Countach was delivered to an Australian in 1974. Externally, little had altered from the final form of the prototype except at the rear, where conventional lights replaced the futuristic light clusters of the prototype. The styling had become rather more aggressive than Gandini’s original conception, with the required large air scoops and vents to keep the car from overheating, but the overall shape was still very sleek. The original LP400 rode on the quite narrow tyres of the time, but their narrowness and the slick styling meant that this version had the lowest drag coefficient of any Countach model. The emblems at the rear simply read “Lamborghini” and “Countach”, with no engine displacement or valve arrangement markings as is found on later cars. By the end of 1977, the company had produced 158 Countach LP400s. In 1978, a new LP400 S model was introduced. Though the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model (350 bhp), the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tyres were replaced with 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 tyres; the widest tyres available on a production car at the time, and fibreglass wheel arch extensions were added, giving the car the fundamental look it kept until the end of its production run. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which, while improving high-speed stability, reduced the top speed by at least 16 km/h (10 mph). Most owners ordered the wing. The LP400 S handling was improved by the wider tires, which made the car more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original, while others prefer the more aggressive lines of the later models, beginning with the LP400 S. The standard emblems (“Lamborghini” and “Countach”) were kept at the rear, but an angular “S” emblem was added after the “Countach” on the right side. 1982 saw another improvement, this time giving a bigger, more powerful 4754 cc engine. The bodywork was unaltered, however the interior was given a refresh. This version of the car is sometimes called the 5000 S, which may cause confusion with the later 5000 QV. 321 of these cars were built. Two prototypes of the 1984 Countach Turbo S were built by Lamborghini, of which one is known to exist. The Turbo S weighed 1,515 kg (3,340 lb), while its 4.8 litre twin-turbo V12 had a claimed maximum power output of 758 PS and a torque output of 876 N·m (646 lb·ft), giving the car an acceleration of 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 335 km/h (208 mph). A turbo adjuster, located beneath the steering wheel, could be used to adjust the boost pressure from 0.7 bar to 1.5 bar at which the engine performed its maximum power output. The Turbo S has 15″ wheels with 255/45 tyres on the front and 345/35 on the rear. In 1985 the engine design evolved again, as it was bored and stroked to 5167 cc and given four valves per cylinder—quattrovalvole in Italian, hence the model’s name, Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole or 5000 QV in short. The carburettors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better breathing—unfortunately this created a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some body panels were also replaced by Kevlar. In later versions of the engine, the carburettors were replaced with fuel injection. Although this change was the most notable on the exterior, the most prominent change under the engine cover was the introduction of fuel injection, with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, providing 414 bhp, rather than the six Weber carburettors providing 455 bhp. As for other markets, 1987 and 1988 model Quattrovalvoles received straked sideskirts. 610 cars were built. Production ceased in 1990.

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The Countach was definitely not the car to bet the business on in the mid 1970s a time of restricted fuel supplies and the resulting austerity exacerbated by industrial unrest across Europe. What was needed was a smaller, cheaper and more economical car. Luckily, Lamborghini had one of these, as some years earlier Ferruccio had contemplated something along these lines, powered by a V8 engine, to rival the smaller Ferraris. The result was the Urraco, first seen at the 1970 Turin Show. It was styled by Marcello Gandini, and engineered by Paolo Stanzani. It was launched with a 2.5 litre V8 engine, engineered to be cheaper to build, with belt-driven camshafts, situated within a steel monocoque structure suspended on McPherson struts. It reached the market before the rival Maserati Merak and Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino, which should have given it a big advantage. But it did not. For a start, it was deemed not powerful enough, so even before the difficulties of the late 1973 Fuel Crisis, the car did not sell well at all. The solution was to add more power, and this came when the engine was enlarged to 3 litres, with four chain-driven cams, which took power from 220 bhp to 265 bhp. A roll-hoop across the back of the cabin improved rigidity, and more powerful brakes were fitted. It sold better, though never in the sort of volume that had been anticipated, and the addition of an Italian market tax special P200 did not help much, either. Just 66 of these were built, whereas 520 of the original P250 models found buyers, and 190 of the more powerful P300s added to the total before production ceased in 1979. There are examples of both the P250 and the P300 here as well as the body of one of the early styling mules.

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Also on show was a one-off prototype, based on a US spec Urraco P300, modified for research,  which led to the production Silhouette. Launched in 1976, the Silhouette was a heavily revised car, with removable targa roof panels, and further differences from from the car seen here.

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Both the Silhouette and the Urraco were replaced by the Jalpa in the early 1980s, and one of two prototype Spider versions ever produced, and the only known survivor, was here. Like most Lamborghini models, the name  came from a famous breed of fighting bulls. This was not an all-new car, but a heavy update of the Urraco. It featured a 3.5-litre version of the transverse V8 engine used in the Silhouette, which gave it a power output of 255 hp at 7,000 rpm and 225 lb⋅ft (305 N⋅m) of torque at 4,000 rpm in European specification. Lamborghini claimed the Jalpa could accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.0 seconds, to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 19.1 seconds and a 1/4 mile time of 15.4 at 148 km/h (92 mph) with a top speed of 249 km/h (155 mph), Curb weight was 1,510 kg (3,329 lb). The performance of the Jalpa was comparable to the entry-level Ferrari 328. When the car was sold in 1981, the plastic components (bumpers, air intakes and engine cover) were black, and the car carried over the rectangular taillights of the Silhouette along with the targa top body style. This was changed in 1984 when round taillights were fitted and the black plastic parts were replaced by parts in body colour. A rear wing like on the Countach was optional. In 1988, after falling sales, the company’s new owners, Chrysler, decided to end Jalpa production despite its being Lamborghini’s second most successful V8 car to date (after the Urraco), having sold 410 units.

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Something of a departure for Lamborghini was the next model to appear, the LM002, the brand’s first four wheel drive model. Although it was not introduced until 1986, its origins go back nearly a decade before that. Lamborghini built its first military vehicle, a prototype vehicle codenamed the “Cheetah“, in 1977. Lamborghini had designed the vehicle with hopes of selling it to companies in the oil exploration and production industry. The original Cheetah prototype had a rear-mounted Chrysler V8 engine. The only finished prototype was never tested by the US military, only demonstrated to them by its designer, Rodney Pharis. It was later sold to Teledyne Continental Motors by MTI and is apparently still in the US. This led Lamborghini to develop the LM001, which was very similar to the Cheetah, but had an AMC V8 engine. It was finally determined that the engine being mounted in the rear caused too many unfavourable handling characteristics in an offroad vehicle, and the LMA002 was built with an entirely new chassis, moving the engine (now the V12 out of the Lamborghini Countach) to the front. After much testing and altering of the prototype, it was finally given a serial number and became the first LM002. The production model was unveiled at the Brussels Auto Show in 1986. It was dubbed the “Rambo-Lambo”. Civilian models were outfitted with a full luxury package, including full leather trim, tinted power windows, air conditioning, and a premium stereo mounted in a roof console. In order to meet the vehicle’s tire needs, Lamborghini commissioned Pirelli to create the Pirelli Scorpion tires with custom, run-flat tread designs. These were made specifically for the LM and were offered in two different tread designs, one for mixed use and the other for sand use only. These tyres could be run virtually flat without risk and could handle the desert heat, the loading, and the speeds of the LM. The LM002 was fitted with a 290-litre fuel tank. For those requiring even more power, the Lamborghini L804 type 7.2 litre marine V12, more commonly found in Class 1 offshore powerboats, could be specified. In 1988, Lamborghini sent an LM002 to a team of special engineers with the intention of making it capable of participating in the Paris Dakar Rally. They stripped it of anything that added unnecessary weight and gave it an upgraded suspension, engine modifications which brought it to 600 hp, full roll cage, plexiglas windows, and GPS equipment. Funding ran out before it could officially be entered in competition, although it did participate in the Rallye des Pharaons in Egypt and another in Greece, both times driven by Sandro Munari. Seen here, is a partly clad chassis partly for the LM002 but actually showing Cheetah styling.

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At a time when the company was financed by the Swiss-based Mimran brothers, Lamborghini began development of what was codenamed Project 132 in June 1985 as a replacement for the Countach model. The brief stated that its top speed had to be at least 315 km/h (196 mph). The design of the car was contracted to Marcello Gandini, who had designed its two predecessors. When Chrysler bought the company in 1987, providing money to complete its development, its management was uncomfortable with Gandini’s designs and commissioned its design team in Detroit to execute a third extensive redesign, smoothing out the trademark’s sharp edges and corners of Gandini’s original design, and leaving him famously unimpressed. In fact, Gandini was so disappointed with the “softened” shape that he would later realise his original design in the Cizeta-Moroder V16T. The car became known as the Diablo, carrying on Lamborghini’s tradition of naming its cars after breeds of fighting bulls. The Diablo was named after a ferocious bull raised by the Duke of Veragua in the 19th century, famous for fighting an epic battle with ‘El Chicorro’ in Madrid on July 11, 1869 In the words of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, the Diablo was designed “solely to be the biggest head-turner in the world.” The Diablo was presented to the public for sale on January 21, 1990. Its power came from a 5.7 litre 48-valve version of the existing Lamborghini V12 featuring dual overhead cams and computer-controlled multi-point fuel injection, producing a maximum output of 499 PS and 580 N·m (428 lb/ft) of torque. The vehicle could reach 100 km/h in about 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 202 mph. The Diablo was rear-wheel drive and the engine was mid-mounted to aid its weight balance. The Diablo came better equipped than the Countach; standard features included fully adjustable seats and steering wheel, electric windows, an Alpine stereo system, and power steering from 1993 onwards. Anti-lock brakes were not initially available, although they would eventually be used. A few options were available, including a custom-moulded driver’s seat, remote CD changer and subwoofer, rear spoiler, factory fitted luggage set and an exclusive Breguet clock for the dash. The Diablo VT was introduced in 1993. Although the VT differed from the standard Diablo in a number of ways, by far the most notable change was the addition of all wheel drive, which made use of a viscous centre differential (a modified version of LM002’s 4WD system). This provided the new nomenclature for the car (VT stands for viscous traction). The new drivetrain could direct up to 25% of the torque to the front wheels to aid traction during rear wheel slip, thus significantly improving the handling characteristics of the car. Other improvements debuting on the VT included front air intakes below the driving lamps to improve brake cooling, larger intakes in the rear arches, a more ergonomic interior with a revised dashboard, electronically adjustable dampers, four-piston brake calipers, power steering, and minor engine refinements. Many of these improvements, save the four-wheel drive system, soon transferred to the base Diablo, making the cars visually nearly identical. Further updates would follow before the car gave way to the Murcielago in 2001. The Diablo sold in greater numbers than its predecessor with 2898 examples being made during its 11 year production life.  The example seen here was one of the late cars, with the earlier covered headlights now replaced – following a regulation change – by the glass-covered ones.  The Diablo was the last Lamborghini mode that Ferruccio would see launched before his death in 1993, and although no longer involved with the company which bore his name, he is said to have been favourably impressed by it.

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Final example of something car-production related was this wire-frame for the current Aventador  model.

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LAMBORGHINI FAMILY CARS

Several of the cars and motor bikes which were owned by the Lamborghini family were presented here. Oldest of these was the 1948 Fiat Barchetta Sport which Ferruccio converted himself, complete with its engine upgraded to 650cc and which he then entered in the Mille Miglia.

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This 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C SSS belonged to Annita Borgatti Lamborghini, Ferruccio’s wife.

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Whilst this 1957 Alfa 1900 Super was Ferruccio’s car, and is the last of 4 Alfa 1900 models that he bought.

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There were a trio of cars that had belonged to Tonino, his son, and these included a 1964 Ford Mustang, a 1969 VW/Porsche 914 and a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina.

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There was one further cars here which belonged to Annita, a mildly customised 1954 Fiat 500C and there was also a much later 1971 Innocenti Mini 1001.

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This rather smaller machine was created in 1955 for Tonino. It has a DEM Engine and 3 gears and a top speed of 70 km/h.

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Among the motor bikes on display were this Benelli 125cc as well as a rare Maserati bike.

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These scooters were also on show.

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THE TONINO LAMBORGHINI COLLECTION

There is another room in the museum and this one focuses more on Ferruccio’s son, Tonino and the output from the Tonino Lamborghini Group. With the original companies, the ones created by Ferruccio sold off, his son Tonino created his own in the 1980s and decided to concentrate on goods associated with luxury and fashion and there are a number of examples in this hall, with quite an eclectic mix of vehicles and other memorabilia including several display cases with an array of models of Lamborghini cars. Tonino Lamborghini Group started with men’s accessories and watches. It took people some time to come to know the brand, long associated with cars and tractors, and the historical heritage of the family, but for these fashionable luxury products, but Tonino persevered, and over three decades has built up quite an empire. The Tonino Lamborghini Group operates globally and actively produces a range of hospitality and luxury goods, like watches, sunglasses, and mobile phones, to name but a few. It still works with mechanics, as this is “in the DNA”. Golf carts became a speciality of the company and a number of them from the early 1990s were on show here including a very special one that was created specifically for Pope John Paul II. Apparently, the Vatican police has four Lamborghini golf carts in use to patrol St Peter’s Square.

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Not long after this, the company looked at city transport, creating the Town Life, an Italian microcar. A subsidiary of the Tonino Lamborghini Group was created, Town Life SpA, though this was sold in 2001. The first vehicle was first displayed at the 1999 Bologna Motor Show by the Tonino Lamborghini Group. A company, Town Life S.p.A., was created to manufacture this car, and a plant was purchased from the bankrupt ISO company in Magione. Two versions were available: the Ginevra has a 505cc petrol or a 505cc diesel engine, and the Helektra which comes with an electric motor. Both coupe and convertible version of this fibreglass body vehicle were listed as available. They can be driven by people as young as 14 in Italy using a moped license. A high performance version, the Ginevra GTB Sport, was announced in 2006.

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This Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II is another of the cars which belonged to Tonino, and is completely in keeping with his luxury brand image and other cars in this hall included one of the retro-styled Ford Thunderbirds from the Noughties, a Range Rover Classic and a Jeep.

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Completing the displays in this room is another 1948 Carioca Tractor

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IN THE AIR AND ON WATER

Two very special items also feature, showing Ferruccio’s interest in all forms of travel. Older of the pair dates from 1965 and is a prototype helicopter, one of two that were created. At that time, helicopters were rare in Italy and the only ones that were seen were made in the US. This one is not unlike the latter – and far better known – Bell in its design. It never entered production.

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Ferruccio Lamborghini had Riva create a one of a kind Aquamara boat in 1968 just for him, naturally boasting two massive V12 engines instead of the regular V8 units from GM. Unfortunately this specific Riva Aquamara was sold in 1989, so it is no longer owned by the Lamborghini family. However, after it was acquired by a collector in 2010 this amazing boat was painstakingly restored over a period of two years and there is a scale model of it here. The real boat did make a visit to the museum, but it is not part of the permanent display. But what is constantly shown inside the museum now is the massive, red painted offshore powerboat  Lamborghini marine engines are world famous for powering many championship offshore powerboats over the years, and this red unit was a functional winner back in her heyday in the earl 1990s. This UIM Class 1 Achilli Motors number 103 from 1992 , all aluminium in construction, is 13.5 m long, and powered by 2 V12 engines of  8171 cc, The boat holds as many as 11 world records.

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This is a truly fascinating place, well worth a visit. More details are available from the museum’s own website: https://www.museolamborghini.com/en/the-museum/

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