Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini has its own unique origin story. Depending on who you believe, the first (and more romantic) version says that Ferruccio Lamborghini was dissatisfied with the clutch on his Ferrari, and one day went to the car maker himself to complain. Enzo Ferrari didn’t have time and took offense that this man would dare tell him something was wrong with his vehicles. Finally he told Lamborghini that it wasn’t the clutch, but the driver who had the problem! This didn’t sit well with Ferruccio, so he left Ferrari’s office and vowed to make his own exotic luxury car to rival Ferrari’s.
The second version is more pragmatic. Lamborghini was a mechanical wizard with an aptitude for diagnosis and creative repair of vehicles during his WW II stint in the army. He was assigned to a station in the military that was relatively untouched by the war around, and quickly Ferruccio gained a reputation as the man who could fix almost any vehicle on the camp. When the war ended, he saw that Italy needed to rebuild, and its agricultural sector had come to a standstill when resources were diverted to the war effort. People needed to plant and have a harvest so he created the Lamborghini tractor company to sell reliable vehicles to farmers who could now focus once more on food production. His tractors were known to be reliable and in a few years Lamborghini was a wealthy man, capable of buying all the top of the line cars of his time. While disassembling his Ferrari’s clutch, he noticed it was identical to the clutch used on his tractors. However, the same part in a Ferrari cost about three times as much as in a tractor. There was money to be made and Ferruccio seized this opportunity to build his own supercar with his name heralding the brand.
The first concept car Lamborghini produced was at his factory in Sant’Agata near Bolognese. At the Turin Autoshow of 1963, the GT 350 was unveiled to the public. While its design was beautifully done when compared to its contemporaries, Lamborghini felt that it didn’t make enough of an impact and had it redesigned. This turning point from producing a supercar that could rank among the Ferraris and other brands of the day, into stepping out even further to the design edge set the trail for what Lamborghini cars are known for today. Outrageous design, bold vents, sharp edges and harder lines than its competitors are what the Lamborghini brand is now famous for.
The car that began this trailblazing trend was the Miura, named after the famous Spanish fighting bull. With the Miura’s shockingly futuristic look, the tone for the rest of the supercars that followed was set. Formerly seen as an upstart, after the Miura the Lamborghini brand was officially was a legend.
Throughout its history other notable cars followed. The Countach, first seen in 1974, showed aggressive angles and the now-distinctive Lamborghini scissor doors. Alas, the history of the company itself was not so smooth. After several years Ferruccio sold the company to other investors, and while cars still rolled out of Sant’Agata, ownership changed hands from Swiss investors, to Chrysler, then Audi—each company having its own stamp on the design and manufacture of the famous Lamborghini supercar.
Today we drive Lamborghini models like the Aventador and Huracan that are the fruit of this colorful exotic car history.