The next supercar superbrand to go under our spotlight is Italian giant Lamborghini. They’ve had a fascinating history, starting with a spat with their biggest rival and taking in everything from cars unveiled without an engine to designs that changed the world. Take a seat…
Borne out of anger
Lamborghini’s story began in 1963. Their founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini had a stellar background in vehicles, if not supercars: he had been stationed on the Greek island of Rhodes during World War II doing vehicle maintenance for the Italian RAF; with supplies to the island limited, he had to cobble parts together to keep his vehicles running with whatever he could find.
After the war he became a very wealthy man, making his money in tractor factories, but Ferruccio decided to start a rival car brand after a feud with his compatriot Enzo Ferrari, who refused to give Lamborghini a spare part for his Ferrari when he brought it to the garage for repair.
However, his new venture got off to a bad start. Lamborghini’s original vision was to create luxury, powerful cars to rival Ferrari’s, but whereas Ferrari’s cars were made with racing in mind, Lamborghini’s would be solely for regular road use.
Having commissioned a former Ferrari engineer to design a prototype fitting this description, Lamborghini was furious when the engineer presented what was clearly a racing car. Lamborghini refused to pay him the 4.3m Lire due, but was forced to cough up after a bitter court battle. Ironically, Lamborghini would end up using the engineer’s despised design for the best part of half a century, until 2010.
Powered by the need for revenge on Enzo Ferrari. their first car, the 350GTV, was built so quickly that, when it was presented at the Turin Auto Show just four months after the company was started, engineers hadn’t even had chance to put the engine in. Lamborghini’s unusual solution was to put a pile of bricks in the hood and stop anyone from looking inside.
Lambo strike gold
However, by 1967 Lamborghini had struck gold. That year the Miura, widely considered to be the world’s first supercar, hit the streets. The car was hugely successful and became seen as a must-have status symbol for the rich.
It marked Lamborghini’s ascension as one of the biggest car brands in the world, but by 1973, the worldwide financial downturn and oil crisis threatened to cripple the company. The pressures took their toll on Lamborghini himself, who sold the company the following year and retired.
Dark days and recovery
It may have seemed a strange decision for Lamborghini to step away so soon after his company had become world-famous, but a few years later his decision was vindicated. Still reeling from the financial difficulties of the mid-1970s, in 1980 the company was declared bankrupt. An auction to decide its new owner attracted only one bidder, a 24-year-old businessman from Switzerland called Patrick Mimran who took over the giant along with his brother Jean-Claude.
Thankfully, Lamborghini’s fortunes were gradually turned around under a series of owners and today the company produces some of the best and most recognisable supercars around the world; its cars are unsurprisingly amongst the most coveted by supercar drivers and enthusiasts. That said, they still produce high-end tractors too. Ferruccio would be proud.
Now you’ve learnt about Lamborghini’s fascinating history, why not get behind the wheel of one? PB Supercars provide Lamborghini rental – get in touch today to arrange your hire.