May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 19, 2016

Lamborghini LogoBrief History About Lamborghini

Lamborghini was founded in 1963 in Italy by Ferruccio Lamborghini. Ferruccio, an engineer and mechanic had previously owned a small car and motorcycle garage, then became a tractor and air conditioning manufacturer and a keen car collector. His collection also included a Ferrari which subsequently had a broken clutch. Ferruccio realised the clutch was the same one that he fitted to his tractors. Ferruccio then setup Lamborghini apparently for the following reason – the story goes, that Ferruccio approached Ferrari, asking for a better clutch to replace the broken one. Their response to Ferruccio was that he didn’t know about sports cars and that he was just a tractor manufacturer – the rest is history, as Ferruccio set about building Ferraris closest and most challenging rival – The Raging Bull – Lamborghini.

Ferruccio’s intention was to build supercars meant for road use, as opposed to Ferraris, which he felt were race cars converted for road use. A number of well known engineers and designers were employed to bring a car together and included, Giotto Bizzarrini, Giampaolo Dallara, Giampaolo Stanzani, Bob Wallace and later, Carrozzeria Touring. That cars was the 350GT, which was shown at the 1963 Turin Motor Show and in 2 years, 120 cars were sold.

In 1966 the Miura designed by Giuseppe Nuccio Bertone and Marcello Gandini was built and showcased a rear wheel drive, rear-mid mounted engine layout that is now one of the most common layouts for a supercar.

Like most car makers, Lamborghini enjoyed some good times and some not so good and in 1973 with the oil crisis, Lamborghini fell into financial problems and Ferruccio sold 51% of Lamborghini to Georges-Henri Rossetti and then the rest (49%) to René Leimer in 1974. Together the new owners built the Countach which has become one of the most popular and admired exotic cars to be built.

However, despite this new management and their investment, Lamborghini continued to struggle, due to labour issues and cancelled tractor orders and went bankrupt in 1978 with the courts taking control of the company in 1980 with Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran asked to administer the company. The Mimran brothers then bought Lamborghini in 1981. The two brothers injected a lot of money into the company and updated the Lamborghini models, managing to get the Countach accepted for sale in the USA and the LM002 SUV built. However once again, it wasn’t enough to help keep the company going and in 1987 Chrysler Corporation paid between $25-33 million to the Mimrans for Lamborghini (which was actually a profit for the brothers).

Chrysler with Lee Iaccoca leading the way, then injected another $50 million into Lamborghini. They also got involved in motorsport and then built the Diablo (albeit with a lot of work and arguing between designer Marcello Gandini and Chrysler). The 1990 Diablo was a hit and was the fastest car in production in the world at the time. But as luck would have it again, success was short lived and Chrysler decided to sell, as profits started to a fall again.

In 1993 Ferruccio Lamborghini dies at the age of 76.

In 1994 Malaysian investment group Mycom Setdco and Indonesian group V’Power Corporation then purchased Lamborghini for $40 million from Chrysler. In 1996 they brought in Vittorio di Capua, who streamlined the company and increased production, getting Lamborghini back in profit.

Despite the uplift in Lamborghini’s sales, another financial crisis, this time in Asia, lead to the sale of the company again. In 1998 the Volkswagen Group (who were buying several makes) purchased Lamborghini for $110 million, placing it under Audi management control. Another reorganisation of the company took place and since then a sleuth of cars have been built including the Murciélago, Gallardo, Reventon, Aventador, Veneno and Huracan.

350 GT & 400 GT 2+2 1964-1968

Lamborghini Miura
Miura 1966-1972

Lamborghini Espada
Espada 1968-1978

Lamborghini Urraco
Urraco 1973-1979

Lamborghini Countach
Countach 1974-1990

Lamborghini Jalpa
Jalpa 1981-1988

Lamborghini Diablo
Diablo 1990-2001

Lamborghini Gallardo
Gallardo 2003-2013

Lamborghini Murcielago
Murcielago 2001-2010

Lamborghini Reventon
Reventon 2008

Lamborghini Aventador
Aventador 2011 on

Lamborghini Veneno
Veneno 2013

Lamborghini Huracan
Huracan 2014

Lamborghini Centenario
Lamborghini Centenario 2016-2017