Gallery: Lamborghini’s (not so) secret stash
From weird concepts to wonderful F1 cars, meet the legends of Lambo’s past
Not Lamborghini. Keen to inspire the next generation – or quench the desires of the current – they’ve bolted a two-storey glass structure onto the factory and stuffed it full of its lineage from 1963.
If you’ve got 15 euros, you can leave a meandering trail of slobber around two floors of incredibly diverse cars from Lambo’s past. After, you can grab something shiny from the giftshop then tap out a five-star Trip Advisor review.
Don’t worry if you haven’t got the means to reach the company’s Sant’Agata Bolognese factory, though. We’ve visited the museum a few times in the past and have collected samples of the ever-changing display.
Currently, the collection is sandwiched by a 350GT and Asterion, with everything else – F1 and marine engines included – acting as the meat in between.
So, click through the album above for all the info. When you’re done, you can virtually walk your way around thanks to Google Street View and pretend to be a tour guide by reciting your knowledge to your friends and family.Advertisement - Page continues below
Styled with little more than a ruler and a tea break, the brutalist aluminium-panelled SUV was the result of an aborted – and wholly incongruous – military vehicle project.
Initially a Chrysler V8 was shoved in the back, but after the US military poo-poo’d the car, the Italians trod a different path and bunged a 5.2-litre Countach V12 up front. Top Gear likes this path.
Engineers then put special Pirelli Scorpion tyres – commissioned with custom run-flat treads – at each corner, filled the cabins innards with lavish leather and sold most of the 301 run to the Middle East.
Lamborghini Diablo Roadster
For the 1992 Geneva Auto Show, Lamborghini decided to show off an open-top version of their flagship V12 Diablo. Instead of fabricating some sort of removable roof, they just slashed the lid off with what looks like a sharp samurai sword.
It was never officially sold by the factory, but that didn’t stop people really, really wanting it. Being entrepreneurial, Walter Koenig (from er, Koenig) converted a few Diablo Coupes into Roadsters along the prototypes lines. However this operation was shut down by Lambo’s lawyers in 1995, making the cars he did convert very rare indeed.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lamborghini Miura SV
Gorgeous isn’t it? This was actually one of the later Miuras, the SV. Which, to its designer’s pleasure (Gandini) was wider and featured different cam timing and altered carburettors. Those gave 15bhp more horsepower to knock out a total of 380bhp.
As the engine and gearbox were fused together, for the first time the slippery lubricants were separated, making things a lot less complicated and alleviating concerns that metal shavings from the gearbox could travel into the engine causing it to go bang.
Now, if you want a quick tip as how to recognise a normal Miura from an SV, just check out the headlights. The signature ‘eyelashes’ of the early Miuras have been singed off for the SV. You can blame American regulations for that.
Lambo isn’t short of mad conceptual eye candy, and this is its latest: the Asterion.
It’s a mid-engined two-seater coupe measuring 4.7m long, uses an adapted Aventador carbon fibre monocoque, but has a wheelbase stretched to create more interior space. It borrows the Huracan’s stunning 607bhp 5.2-litre V10, but is hooked up with an electric motor onto the transaxle and two other electric motors on the front axle. Yes, it’s a hybrid. All 907bhp of it.
Lamborghini Countach LP400
The Countach has probably been stuck on more bedroom walls than any other car. And it’s this green wedge you have to blame.
It’s the first polygonal prototype of what we now know as the Countach. It was also the first Lamborghini to be fitted with the now iconic scissor doors and has the same monstrous V12 (producing 375bhp) from the Miura. But, to save endless headaches, this time it’s fitted longitudinally.
In 1995, Lamborghini decided to do something different to work out how to replace the top-of-the-tree Diablo: a designer face off.
Two designers from opposites sides of the planet sharpened their pencils and had a draw off under the codename P147. Representing Japan, Nori Harada from Zagato. In Italy’s corner, Marcello Gandini from Bertone. He’s the man who penned the Miura, Countach and Espada.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lamborghini P147 ‘Canto’
Harada came up with the Canto. An orange, bubbly-lighted concept that leaned heavily on the design of the Diablo but had massive air intakes on the rear shoulders to feed the mid-mounted V12.
Lamborghini P147s ‘Acosta’
Gandini’s project was the Acosta, a bloated Diablo with scissor doors that never made it past the scale-model stage. It wasn’t accepted by the suits as being within the brand’s direction at the time so was never blessed with an engine.
So who won the dual? No one. The Canto had a few prototypes made but was canned in favour of the Murcielago.Advertisement - Page continues below
Lamborghini F1 Engine
You may’ve noticed this is an engine. A big engine. It’s a 3.5-litre V12 from 1991 that was used in Formula One. Yes, Formula one. When turbocharging was outlawed in 1989, Lamborghini stepped up to the plate of the pinnacle of racing with this screaming V12.
Lamborghini Larrousse Lola Formula One
This was the car the engine slotted into, a Larrousse Lola chassis. Being new to the sport, Lambo didn’t want to put the V12 into a top-tier team just in case it went pop and ruined its credibility as an engine manufacturer.
When it rolled out at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, many ears in and around the paddock agreed that it was the best sounding engine on the grid. However it was quite unreliable and Lambo pulled the plug on its F1 career in 1994 with its best finish being third place at the 1990 Japanese GP.
The Espada is arguably the Italian forefather to the Ferrari FF. A four-seat GT with space for the whole family, a large boot and a thirsty V12 up front. The design was a mash-up of the Marzal concept and Bertone Pirana, both from Gandini. With 350bhp, it had a top speed of 155mph and a squished design that looked like it’d been stepped on by a giant baby. Surely one of the coolest four-seaters of all time, no?
Lamborghini 350 GT
This is genesis. The 350GT was the first production Lamborghini, which, if you’re of the younger generation, may be a bit of a shock. It’s based off the GTV prototype but the body was redesigned by Touring and its hard-edged racing V12 was simmered down.
The 3.5-litre quad-cam V12 produces 320bhp thanks to softened cam profiles, a lower compression ratio (making it less highly strung) and by replacing the dry sump system with a conventional wet sump oil pan.
Despite the changes though, the 350 GT could still hit a top speed of 156mph, and this car cemented Lamborghini’s future: from 1964-1966 120 GTs were built.
A lot of people know the Gallardo as the ‘baby Lambo’, but this came first. It’s the P140 – the concept for a smaller V10 Lamborghini. It was initially meant to be shown alongside its bigger Diablo brother, but was orphaned so all the attention and efforts could be focused on the Diablo.
Over the years, Lamborghini has had a somewhat turbulent time in the boardroom. There have been multiple bankruptcies, which, in 1987, brought it under the realm of the Chrysler group. One of its first projects was the Countach-successor, the Diablo.
Powered by a bored-out version of the old V12, the 5.7-litre unit produced 492bhp, 428lb ft of torque and a top speed of 201mph, making it the fastest production car in the world at the time. It marked a good period for the company too, which finally managed to turn a profit thanks to its new, scissor-doored supercar.
Various iterations followed, including the VT version with the four-wheel-drive system pinched from the LM002, the 510bhp SV and the 6.0-litre, 575bhp SE with a top speed of 205mph. The one above was a special edition based on the standard 6.0. Only 40 were made, 20 in this unique gold colour and 20 in a metallic brown. Yes, brown.
Lamborghini Diablo GT2
Ferruccio Lamborghini hated racing. He was adamant that his cars shouldn’t get into motorsport as there were better ways to burn hard-earned cash. But, with the Diablo, Lambo stripped it out and officially hit the track.
Called the GT2, this racy Diablo was shown for the first time in ’98 and created to participate in the GT2 championship. It has a 6.0 engine producing 640bhp and looks bonkers with Plexiglas side windows, a full roll cage, dual snorkels and a massive wing.
A road-going version, the Diablo GT, was created a short time after. It’s still one of the world’s most hairy-chested supercars.
Lamborghini Urraco P3000
Lamborghini’s response to the Ferrari Dino. It had 265bhp from a V8, but unlike its Maranello counterpart, a 2+2 seating arrangement. Deeming it perfect for the school run.
Lamborghini Gallardo Concept S
This was a design study from the 2005 Geneva Motor Show and has one of the most anti-social cockpits ever to be fitted to a car. Based on the standard Gallardo, it’s inspired by a single-seater, has no roof and two separate compartments; one for the driver, one for their mate.
Lamborghini Miura Concept
Back in 2006, retro was all the rage. Lamborghini decided to get in on the act by having a crack at a modern interpretation of the legendary Miura. Brave. The concept follows all the classic lines of the original while bringing in modern features but, to our eyes, its proportions don’t quite sit as perfectly as the original. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and all that.
Lamborghini Gallardo Police Car
This was donated to the state police force by Lamborghini and was actually used to carry out emergency calls as well as being used for first aid and organ transportation. It’s since been replaced by a Huracan.
After the 350, came this. The larger 2+2 400GT, featuring an enlarged 4.0-litre V12 that still produced 320bhp and headlined at 155mph. Ferruccio rather liked this engine, and the last 23 350 GTs were all fitted with this larger 4.0-litre twelve. 250 400 GTs were built between 1966 to 1968, and this engine would also see service in the Espada (in both 325bhp and 350bhp format), the front-engined Lamborghini Islero and the Miura.
The Estoque concept was a mad four-door supercar with its targets locked on the Porsche Panamera and Aston Martin Rapide. It was powered by a 500bhp V10, but Lamborghini hinted that a hybrid and even diesel version could have been feasible.
During a financial crisis may not have been the most sensible time to try and launch a 200-odd grand hyper-saloon, but when did Lambo ever do sensible?
For a last-minute special to close Murcielago proceedings, Lambo birthed the Reventon. And never has so much stuff we like been diffused across so little car.
It was designed to look like an F22 Raptor Stealth fighter, had a dashboard that was a thin liquid-filled transistor (like you’d find in an aircraft), had two different displays – road and air – and lots and lots of carbon fibre. Numbers? A 211mph top speed, build run of 20, £1,000,000 asking price and one colour option. Grey.
The Jalpa was the Huracan of the 1980s. With a V8 engine, it sat below the wedgy and awkward-to-park Countach in the pecking order. Same with public perception. The Countach was the one that was plastered across bedroom walls and the Jalpa was largely forgotten about. Production was limited to only 411 examples.
The Murcielago was the first V12 supercar to emerge from Audi’s takeover and the first Lambo to inspire Kanye West to rap about them.
With a 6.2-litre V12, it continued Lamborghini’s engine heritage that started in the ‘60s. That 572bhp powered a 0-60mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 205mph. There were numerous specials, including the grey and orange LP 650-4 roadster from 2009 you see above. Only 20 of them exist.
Lamborghini Murcielago SV
The SV was a bewinged, tango-liveried behemoth with 670bhp and required as much attention (and nerve) as you could muster when placed behind the steering wheel.
Lamborghini Huracan LP580-2
Lighter, less powerful and with two fewer driven wheels, this is the driftalicious Huracan LP580-2 coupe.
Making its debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show, the RWD Huracan followed on from the 2009 special edition, rear-drive Balboni Gallardo.
The 5.2-litre V10 is slightly detuned to produce 572bhp and 398lb ft of torque – through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox with launch control – though Lamborghini assures us that 75 per cent of that 398lb ft is available from as little as 1,000rpm.
Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale
Just 150 examples of this uber Gallardo were made. Based on the Super Trofeo race car, it has a roll cage, four-wheel-drive, race harnesses and an enormous and entirely excellent adjustable rear wing from the race car.
The Veneno is a three-of-a-kind – and completely road-legal – showpiece based on the Aventador. It has the same 6.5-litre V12, boosted to 739bhp with a 222mph max. Has the same permanent 4WD, inboard pushrod suspension and carbon monocoque chassis but costs three million Euros – plus tax – and were all sold before the public even got a glimpse of them.
This is the future, the Urus SUV. It's Lamborghini's second SUV (if you count the LM002 as the first), but the first to use a blown-engine - the Urus gets a twin-turbocharged V8.
Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
The Sesto Elemento (Sixth Element in Italian) is the most feathery of featherweight supercars you could ever hope to find. Weighing in at 999kg it's less even than Mazda’s skinny new MX-5. Unlike the MX-5, though, it has the basic ingredients of a Lamborghini Gallardo underneath. That means a 562bhp V10 engine driving all four of its wheels. Combine AWD traction with a sub-tonne kerbweight, and it’ll match a Veyron to 60mph despite having half the power.