Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian manufacturing magnate, founded Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. in 1963 to compete with established marques, including Ferrari.
According to legend, Sant'Agata Bolognese tractor manufacturer Ferrucio Lamborghini went to the nearby Ferrari factory in the early 1960s to complain about the clutch in his Ferrari 250GT. Treated dismissively by company owner Enzo Ferrari, Lamborghini swore he would build a better car, and hired Giampaolo Dallara and Giotto Bizzarini to produce a V-12-engined grand touring coupe clothed in a body designed by Franco Scaglione. When the 350GT reached production in 1964, its all-aluminum 3.5-liter V-12 produced an astonishing 350 horsepower. This was enough to entice 130 customers to part with their money. Quickly succeeded by the 400GT and 400GT 2+2, the upstart Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. was on the map and ready to surprise the auto world once more.
- Founded : Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy (30 October 1963) as Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A.
- Founder : Ferruccio Lamborghini
- Headquarters : Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy
- Website : www.lamborghini.com
For traditionalists, Lamborghini developed the Espada, a front engine/rear-drive four-seater. The platform also supported the more conventionally styled Islero, and both were eventually replaced by the Jarama in 1970. Meanwhile, the Miura was joined by the V-8-powered mid-engined Uracco that same year, and replaced by the V-12-powered Countach in 1974. However, by this time Lamborghini's tractor company was in financial trouble due to the cancellation of a large South American order. Beset by labor strife, residual effects of the oil crisis, and parts supply problems, Automobili Lamborghini declared bankruptcy in 1978.
The Mimram brothers of Switzerland took control of the company and continued to develop the Countach while also developing the outrageous LM002, a brutal V-12-powered SUV. In 1987, the same year it bought American Motors, Chrysler took control of Lamborghini and brought the Coutach's successor, the Diablo, to market. Seven years later, Chrysler was once again in financial trouble, and sold Lamborghini to an Indonesian investment group, Megatech. It brought in former Lotus managing director Mike Kimberley to turn things around, and by 1995, sales had quadrupled from their 1993 levels. However, the 1997 Asian financial crisis meant Megatech couldn't raise the funds necessary to underwrite Kimberley's product plans, and Lamborghini was sold to Audi, which owns it to this day. Its current lineup consists of various versions of the Murcielago and Gallardo, and a production version of the front engine/rear-drive four door Estoque concept reportedly is in the works.