RAC Cars News

#WeLoveCars

The Story Of Lamborghini

By raccars Published

Image Source

Lamborghini might be considered quite the upstart among more established Italian sports car firms. The company was born in 1963, compared to 1910 for Alfa Romeo, 1914 for Maserati and 1929 for Ferrari. Nonetheless, it seems Lamborghini grew up quickly, and is now playing in the same field as the older boys.

Ferruccio Lamborghini started his company as a direct challenge to Ferrari. The son of two Italian peasants, he was born in 1916. After the end of the Second World War, he began manufacturing tractors and soon diversified into other business. Pretty quickly, Ferruccio Lamborghini became a very wealthy man. Along with his business ventures, he had a passion for cars and built up quite a collection of exotic metal.

Italian cars were a particular favourite, including a series of Fiat Topolinos, into which he installed increasingly larger engines. 1948 saw Ferruccio enter the Mille Miglia race in a Topolino, and exit the race by crashing into the wall of a Turin restaurant. This experience somewhat dampened his enthusiasm for racing but not for car collecting. After Lancias, Alfa Romeos and Maseratis, Ferruccio ended up with a Ferrari threesome: a 250GT, a 250GT Berlinetta and a 250 GT 2+2. However, he was unimpressed with both the performance and the unreliability of the cars, sentiments he expressed publicly and which led him into a dispute with Enzo Ferrari, who claimed Lamborghini was more suited to driving tractors.

After making some modifications to his Ferraris in an attempt to improve what he saw as their shortcomings, Ferruccio decided he could do better and, in 1963, put his considerable fortune into making cars under his own name. First he built a very modern factory in Bologna and, amazingly, accomplished the launch of his first car within six months. The gorgeous 350 GTV was launched at the 1963 Turin Auto Show. The automotive world was impressed.

It was followed by a whole line of increasingly excellent cars, including the much acclaimed Miura in 1966. He kept costs down by repurposing components from his tractor industry but made his cars more luxurious than rivals from Ferrari.

By the 1970s, however, the company was experiencing financial difficulties. A Swiss industrialist bought a controlling stake in the firm and allowed Ferruccio to continue to steer the ship but by 1974, he had had enough and retired to rural Umbria to farm and grow wine. Lamborghini died in 1993 but the company he founded continues, through various changes of ownership and even bankruptcy in 1978. It is currently a part of the VW Group.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars