Lamborghini


The History of Lamborghini

   

Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., commonly referred to as Lamborghini, is an Italian carmaker based in the small township of Sant'Agata Bolognese. The company was founded in 1963 by manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini. It has changed ownership numerous times since, most recently becoming a subsidiary of German car manufacturer Audi AG (itself a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group) in 1998.  Lamborghini has achieved widespread recognition for its sleek, exotic designs, and its cars have become symbols of performance and wealth.
Ferruccio Lamborghini entered the car manufacturing business with the aim of producing a high-quality grand tourer that could outperform and outclass offerings from local rival Ferrari S.p.A. Lamborghini met with success in 1966 with the release of the mid-engined Miura sports coupé, and in 1968 with the Espada GT, the latter of which sold over 1,200 units during ten years of production. After almost a decade of rapid growth, and the release of classic models like the Countach in 1974, hard times befell the company in the late 1970s, as sales plunged in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. Bankruptcy crippled the automaker, and after passing through the hands of a number of Swiss entrepreneurs, Lamborghini came under the corporate umbrella of industry giant Chrysler. The American company failed to make the Italian manufacturer profitable, and in 1994, the company was sold to Indonesian interests. Lamborghini would remain on life support throughout the rest of the 1990s, continuously updating the Diablo of 1990 in lieu of a planned expanded range of offerings, including a smaller car that would appeal to American enthusiasts. Reeling from the Asian financial crisis of the previous year, in 1998 Lamborghini's owners sold the troubled carmaker to Audi AG, the luxury car subsidiary of German automotive concern Volkswagen Group. German ownership marked the beginning of a period of stability and increased productivity for Lamborghini, with sales increasing nearly tenfold over the course of the next decade.
Assembly of Lamborghini cars continues to take place at the carmaker's ancestral home in Sant'Agata Bolognese, where engine and car production lines run side-by-side at the company's single factory. Each year, the facility produces less than 3,000 examples of the four models offered for sale, the V10-powered Gallardo coupé and roadster and the flagship V12-powered Murciélago coupé and roadster. The range is occasionally complemented by limited-edition variants of the four main models, such as the Reventón and a number of Superleggera trim packages.
Automobili Lamborghini was founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, the child of viticulturists from the comune of Renazzo di Cento, Province of Ferrara, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.  After serving as a mechanic in the Regia Aeronautica, during World War II, Lamborghini went into business building tractors out of leftover military hardware from the war effort. By the mid-1950s, Lamborghini's tractor company, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A., had become one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in the country. He was also the owner of a successful gas heater and air conditioning manufacturer.
Lamborghini's wealth allowed him to cultivate a childhood interest in cars, owning a number of luxury cars including Alfa Romeos, Lancias, Maseratis, and a Mercedes Benz. He purchased his first Ferrari, a 250GT, in 1958, and went on to own several more. Lamborghini was fond of the Ferraris, but considered them too noisy and rough to be proper road cars, likening them to repurposed track cars.  Lamborghini gradually gained the impetus to create cars as he envisioned them, and decided to pursue an car manufacturing venture of his own.
In 1963, Lamborghini purchased a property at 12 via Modena, in the commune of Sant'Agata Bolognese, less than 30 kilometres (19 mi) from Cento.  Sant'Agata was deep in the cradle of Italy's car industry, meaning that Lamborghini's operation would have easy access to machine shops, coachbuilders, and workers with experience in the automotive industry.
A car was designed and built in only four months, in time for the Turin motor show in October 1963. Due to an ongoing feud with Giotto Bizzarrini over the engine's design, a working engine was not available for the prototype car in time for the unveiling; the first Lamborghini, the 350GTV went up for display in Turin without an engine under its bonnet, and received a warm response from the motoring press. According to folklore, Ferruccio Lamborghini had the engine bay filled with 500 lb (230 kg) of bricks or ceramic tiles so that the car sat at the appropriate ride height, and made sure the bonnet stayed closed throughout the show. With the initial success behind them, the Automobili Lamborghini Societŕ per Azioni was officially incorporated on October 30, 1963.
Though reviews had been positive, Ferrucico Lamborghini was unimpressed with the build quality of the 350GTV, and declared it a one-off. The car disappeared into storage for the next twenty years, until it was purchased and restored by a local collector. Using the prototype car as a starting point, the bodywork was restyled by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, and a new chassis was constructed in-house. Against Bizzarrini's wishes, the engine was detuned for the production run, developing only 280 bhp, down from the original design's 360 bhp. The refined car, dubbed 350GT, debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. The 350GT was received with equally enthusiastic response; production began shortly afterwards, and by the end of the year, cars had been built for 13 customers, sold at a loss in order to compete with Ferrari. The 350GT remained in production for a further two years, selling a total of 120 examples.
By the end of 1966, the workforce at the Sant'Agata factory had expanded to 300.  The factory continued to produce copies of the 400GT, along with several 350 GTS Roadsters, a convertible model produced by Touring. Ferruccio commissioned the coachbuilder once more to envision a possible replacement for the 400GT, based on the same chassis. Touring created the 400 GT Flying Star II, a poorly-finished, ungainly vehicle.  Facing mounting financial difficulties, Touring would close its doors later that year.
The Espada was Lamborghini's first truly popular model, with more than 1,200 sold during its ten years of production The car  was debuted at the 1969 Geneva show with the name Espada, powered by a 3.9-litre, front-mounted evolution of the factory's V12, producing 325 bhp. The Espada was a runaway success, with a total production run of 1,217 cars over ten years of production.
As a world financial crisis began to take hold, Ferruccio Lamborghini's companies began to run into financial difficulties. In 1971, Lamborghini's tractor company, which exported around half of its production, ran into difficulties.  In 1972, Lamborghini sold his entire holding in Trattori to SAME, another tractor builder.
The entire Lamborghini group was now finding itself in financial troubles. Development at the carmaker slowed; the production version of the LP500 missed the 1972 Geneva Show, and only the P400 GTS version of the Jarama was on display. Faced with a need to cut costs, Paulo Stanzani set aside the LP500's powerplant, slating a smaller, 4-litre engine for production. Ferruccio Lamborghini began courting buyers for Automobili and Trattori; he entered negotiations with Georges-Henri Rossetti, a wealthy Swiss businessman and friend of Ferruccio's, as well as being the owner of an Islero and an Espada. Ferruccio sold Rossetti 51% of the company for US$600,000, thereby relinquishing control of the carmaker he had founded. He continued to work at the Sant'Agata factory; Rossetti rarely involved himself in Automobili's affairs.
As the years passed, Lamborghini's situation became even more dire; the company entered bankruptcy in 1978, and the Italian courts took control. They first appointed Dr. Alessandro Arteses to run the company's operations, but a year later, Raymond Noima and Hubert Hahne, who was Lamborghini’s German importer, were appointed to take over the running of the company. In 1980, the Swiss Mimran brothers (Jean-Claude and Patrick), famed food entrepreneurs with a passion for sports cars, were appointed to administer the company during its receivership. During administration, the carmaker reworked the failed Silhouette into the Jalpa, which was powered by a 3.5-litre V8 that had been modified by former Maserati great, Giulio Alfieri. More successful than the Silhouette, the Jalpa came closer to achieving the goal of a more affordable, livable version of the Countach. The Countach was also updated, finally allowing it to be sold in the U.S. with the release of the LP500 model in 1982. By 1984, the company was officially in the hands of the Swiss. The Mimrans began a comprehensive restructuring program, injecting large amounts of capital into the floundering carmaker. The Sant'Agata facilities were rehabilitated, and a worldwide hiring campaign to find new engineering and design talent began in earnest.
The immediate results of the investment were good. A Countach "Quattrovolve", producing a mighty 455 bhp, was released in 1984; the fumbling Cheetah project resulted in the release of the Lamborghini LM002 sport utility vehicle in 1986. However, despite the Mimrans' efforts, the investments proved insufficient to revive the company. Seeking a large, stable financial partner, the brothers met with representatives of one of America's "Big Three" carmakers, the Chrysler Corporation. In April 1987, in an acquisition spearheaded by Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, the American company took control of the Italian carmaker. According to Jolliffe, the Mimran brothers were the only owners of Lamborghini to ever make money out of the company, having sold it for many times the dollar amount they paid for it six years earlier.
Iacocca, who had previously orchestrated a near-miraculous turnaround of Chrysler after the company nearly fell into bankruptcy, carried out his decision to purchase Lamborghini with no challenges from the board of directors. Chrysler people were appointed to Lamborghini's board, but many of the company's key members remained in managing positions. To begin its revival, Lamborghini received a cash injection and aimed to produce a car to compete with the Ferrari 328 by 1991, and also wanted the Italians to produce an engine that could be used in a Chrysler car for the American market. The decision was made to finally take the company into motorsport; the effort would be known as Lamborghini Engineering S.p.A., and would develop engines for Grand Prix teams. The new division was based in Modena.
At the time, Lamborghini was working on a successor to the Countach, the Diablo. Chrysler executives commissioned the American car-maker's own design team to execute a third extensive redesign of the car's body, smoothing out the trademark sharp edges and corners of the original design. The Diablo had been intended for release in time for September 1988, when Lamborghini would celebrate its 25th anniversary; once it was clear that mark would be missed, a final version of the Countach was rushed into production instead. The Anniversary Countach was later acclaimed as the finest version of the car to be built.
The Diablo was released to the public on January 21, 1990, at an event at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo. The Diablo was the fastest car in production in the world at the time, and sales were so brisk that Lamborghini began to turn a profit. The company's U.S. presence had previously consisted of loosely affiliated and disorganized private dealer network; Chrysler established an efficient franchise with full service and spare parts support. The company also began to develop its V12 engines for powerboat racing. Profits increased in 1991, and Lamborghini enjoyed a positive era.
In 1992, sales crashed, as the Diablo proved ultimately to be unaccessible to American enthusiasts. With Lamborghini bleeding money, Chrysler decided that the carmaker was no longer producing enough cars to justify its investment. The American company began looking for someone to take Lamborghini off its hands, and found it in a holding company called MegaTech. The company was registered in Bermuda and wholly owned by Indonesian conglomerate SEDTCO Pty., headed by businessmen Setiawan Djody and Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of then-Indonesian President Suharto. By February 1994, Lamborghini had left Italian ownership, and MegaTech took over the carmaker, its Modena racing engine factory, and the American dealer interest, Lamborghini USA. 
The Diablo would be Lamborghini's mainstay throughout the 90s, and was continuously updated throughout the various changes in ownership.  Never leaving the red despite its increase in sales, a number of company executives and consultants were let go and production overhauled in order to achieve a 50 percent gain in productivity. In 1997, Lamborghini finally passed its break-even point, selling 209 Diablos, thirteen more than it needed to be profitable.
The financial crisis that gripped Asia in July of that year set the stage for another ownership change. The new chairman of Volkswagen AG, Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Volkswagen's founder, Ferdinand Porsche, acquired Lamborghini. Lamborghini was purchased through Volkswagen's luxury car division, Audi AG.
Under German ownership, Lamborghini found stability that it had not seen in many years. In 2003, Lamborghini followed up the Murciélago with the smaller, V10-equipped Gallardo, intended to be a more accessible and more livable than the Murciélago.
The world of bullfighting is a key part of Lamborghini's identity. In 1962, Ferruccio Lamborghini visited the Seville ranch of Don Eduardo Miura, a renowned breeder of Spanish fighting bulls. Lamborghini, a Taurus himself, was so impressed by the majestic Miura animals that he decided to adopt a raging bull as the emblem for the automaker he would open shortly.
Lamborghini is structured as part of the Lamborghini Group, consisting of a holding company, Automobili Lamborghini Holding S.p.A., with three separate companies: Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., manufacturer of cars; Motori Marini Lamborghini S.p.A., maker of marine engines; and Lamborghini ArtiMarca S.p.A., the licensing and merchandising company. The group additionally contains Volkswagen Group Italia S.p.A. and Volkswagen Group Firenze S.p.A.

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