Adversaries are know to bring the best out of a person. The most fitting example of this statement has to be the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, or even better, the existence of the company which holds itself guilty of donning our bedroom walls, Lamborghini.
It all started in the year 1963, when manufacturing magnate and entrepreneur decided to treat himself to a Ferrari 250GT. On owning the Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini found the clutch on the car to be quite troublesome. He called for a meeting with Enzo Ferrari to offer his suggestion on bettering the clutch design. The fact of being advised by a tractor maker on how to better his car didn’t sit too well with Enzo Ferrari. He hastily put Ferruccio Lamborghini in his place by sending him away and advising him to stick to building his tractors and leave the sophisticated process of designing cars to more qualified people like himself.
A dejected and outraged Ferruccio decided to challenge Enzo Ferrari and build his very own sports car, which would be much better than the Ferrari. He hired a few engineers from his tractor company and formed his sports car team. The first Lamborghini sports car to be produced was the 350GT in 1964, which sported the conventional 60’s styling. It wasn’t the 350GT that put Lamborghini in the limelight it was rather the Miura, which was showcased in the 1966 Geneva convention. The Miura is known as the world’s first supercar, it sported a then revolutionary 350 horsepower, 4.0 litre V12 engine. The V12 engine was as much a performer as acoustic masterpiece. The other revolutionary aspect of the Miura was the fact that it had its engine located behind the driver’s cockpit, which would go on to be the defining factor of supercars to come. In fact so revolutionary was this layout that even Formula 1 shifted their engines behind the driver’s cockpit as compared to previously having it in front of the windshield.
The Miura’s success got Lamborghini the recognition it needed. It ticked all the right boxes for being a supercar, the mid-engined layout, the V12 screamer of an engine and the breathtaking performance. The Miura’s success lives on till date in the form of the company’s flagship supercar, Aventador. Staying true to the philosophy of the Miura, the Aventador has the mid-engined layout, and of course the screamer V12. In Fact the V12 put in the original Miura by Lamborghini was such a revolutionary engine that, the engine powering their Aventador is an evolved version of that same V12. Its astonishing how well the Lamborghini V12 was engineered, almost 50 years ago. The successors of Miura were the Countach, Diablo, Murcielago and currently the Aventador.
In 1970’s, Lamborghini wanted to ride the wave of success that Miura attained for it. It launched the Countach in the year 1973 in the Geneva International Motor Show. The Countach’s design was nothing short of ‘Revolutionary’ with sharp angles, low slung wide bodied design all translating to a radical looking ‘wedge’. The car was outright futuristic. It would be fair to say Lamborghini had known the kind of reaction the Countach would garner. Therefore they rightfully named it “Countach” which roughly translated to “wow” in Italian. Though the Countach carried over the 4.0 litre V12 from the Miura, it was later upgraded to 5.2 litres on Lamborghini’s 25 anniversary in 1988. The Countach was the icon that set the design language of modern cars and it was essentially the one which started the ‘Lamborghini bedroom poster syndrome’.
The 1990’s was a difficult time for the Lamborghini company, it was stricken with financial difficulties. As a company that believed in making the world’s most radical supercar, they had a portfolio of cars with started and ended with the Murcielago. The mid-engined V12 successor to the Miura couldn’t bring in the revenues as it was priced much higher to most people’s abilities. The reduced sales meant that Lamborghini needed assistance. It was bought over in the 1990’s by Volkswagen and the first thing the German conglomerate attended to put things right was to introduce a V10 model line positioned below the Murcielago. Thus the Lamborghini Gallardo was born. Volkswagen built on Lamborghini’s radical design and performance and topped it up with german quality and reliability to make a very formidable and reliable everyday Lamborghini. All this meant in a very short span of time Lamborghini Gallardo became the best selling car in the company’s history. The current generation successor of the Gallardo is the Huracan, which is already gathering a name for itself.
On Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary, it unveiled the ‘Egoista’ which is a single seater supercar, which can be best described as a love child between the Batmobile and a Fighter jet. True to every bit of what Lamborghini stands for with regards to design and outrageousness. Lamborghini has also unveiled the Veneno Coupe and Veneno Roadster, which is inspired by the 24 hr racing prototypes, however only 5 coupe’s and 9 roadsters will be built by Lamborghini for the lucky few who can afford to own it. For the rest of us, we will not be too disappointed to settle for the more attainable Aventador with its all carbon-fibre construction, F1 style pushrod suspension, iconic Lamborghini flip up doors and 740 pure bred Italian horses.
All Lamborghini’s are unmistakable in their identity with the razor sharp and edgy design lines only exceeded by the howling exhaust note. The current flagship of the company, Aventador stays true to the lineage of the Miura and the Countach and invokes the ‘wow’ expression every time you look at it. Achieving 0-60 mph in a staggering 2.9 secs and top speed of 217 mph, like all Lamborghinis, this one to has the go to match the show! On the 100th anniversary of Ferruccio Lamborghini, a limited edition model based on the Aventador’s chassis called the “Centenario” is up for grabs for a fortunate few who can cough up a cool $1.85 million.
It’s safe enough to say that the adversary in Enzo Ferrari saw the rise of a one of the coolest Supercar companies. It’s ironic how Enzo’s desire to build the best supercars saw him build the numero uno supercar company and his act of dismissing the suggestions of Ferruccio Lamborghini saw the rise of arguably Ferrari’s biggest rival from its own country. It’s safe to say all adversaries aren’t always a hindrance, but sometimes can spark the fuel in you and make you achieve greatness and probably make you build one of the most iconic and revered supercar company brand in the world.