The official Lamborghini museum is a must-see for enthusiasts who want to learn more about the company’s rich heritage. And don’t let the Raging Bull’s relatively small size fool you, it’s done a lot over the past five decades. For example, did you know Lamborghini designed a luxurious, V12-powered SUV decades before super-off-roaders became popular?
Lamborghini 350 GT
Lamborghini’s family tree starts at the 350 GT, the very first Raging Bull produced. Inspired by the 1963 350 GTV concept, it used a V12 engine mounted up front, and its body was manufactured by Italian coachbuilder Touring using aluminum alloy. Inside, the 350 GT offered space for four passengers in a 2+2 configuration.
The 350 GT later spawned a more powerful model called 400 GT, and Lamborghini quickly expanded its lineup with the Miura. While today’s Raging Bulls are all mid-engined two-seaters, the spirit of stuffing a powerful engine in a lightweight body is still alive and well. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The Miura is prominently featured in the Lamborghini museum. That’s because it’s one of the firm’s most iconic classics, and because it’s celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
Launched in 1966, the Miura earned the honor of being the first car in the world equipped with a transversally-mounted V12 engine. Penned by Marcello Gandini, it became an unexpected hit that played a sizable role in positioning Lamborghini as a world-class automaker in Europe and in the United States. Today, a flawless Miura costs well into the seven digits – especially if it’s a numbers-matching car that has been restored by the company’s Polo Storico. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Lamborghini Pre-production Countach
The Countach shows up twice on this list because it changed quite a bit over the course of its lengthy production run. We suggest checking out the green car first because it’s a pre-production prototype fitted with a few oddball features, including a periscope-like slot cut into the roof panel.
It’s interesting to note that early cars boasted pure, simple lines, while later models looked much more aggressive. And, for a bit of trivia, the periscope didn’t make the transition to production because test drivers found that it reduced headroom more than it improved rear visibility. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
In hindsight, the LM002 is the predecessor of the super-SUVs that are becoming immensely popular today. Colloquially known as the Rambo Lambo, it was primarily designed to be used by armed forces but it largely failed to catch on. Military sales fell well short of the goals set by executives.
Lamborghini had spent a small fortune on developing the LM002 so it made the cabin as nice as possible, fitted a set of alloy wheels, and offered it to private buyers all around the globe. Some of the richest people in the world had a LM002 in their garage during the 1980s.
Only about 300 examples of the V12-powered LM002 were built, and the gold one displayed in the museum is the only right-hand drive model ever assembled at the factory. It’s parked next to the Urus concept, an off-roader that’s scheduled to debut before the end of the decade. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Lamborghini 25th Anniversary Countach
The other Countach in the Lamborghini museum is a later model that was built to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary in 1988. Compared with the green pre-production prototype, it features a more muscular look thanks to a full body kit that includes a deeper front bumper, fender flares, and a specific rear bumper.
The Countach got more aerodynamic over time, its interior gradually became nicer, and the displacement of its naturally-aspirated V12 engine grew from 4.0- to 5.2-liters. The last Countach was built on July 4th, 1990, and the model was replaced by the Diablo shortly after. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Lamborghini P140 prototype
The P140 project began in the late 1980s. Developed to replace the Jalpa and slot below the then-upcoming Diablo, it featured a striking look that broke all ties with its predecessor, a removable targa roof, and a brand new naturally-aspirated V10 engine mounted right behind the passenger compartment. While the P140 was set to launch with rear-wheel drive, Lamborghini hadn’t ruled out offering all-wheel drive a little later in the production run.
Lamborghini built three or four P140 prototypes, including one that topped out at 183 mph on the Nardò Ring in Italy, but the coupe was never given the proverbial green light for production. A new entry-level model didn’t arrive until the Gallardo debuted in 2003. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The Diablo is the Italian supercar that we all had posters of up in our rooms as kids. Launched in 1990 to finally replace the Countach, it took the performance and the striking design that Lamborghini had become famous for to the next level.
The Diablo was Lamborghini’s flagship model during the 1990s. Its V12 made nearly 500 horsepower in its initial state of tune, and it could hit 60 mph from a stop in four and a half seconds – a neck-snapping statistic a quarter of a century ago. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Lamborghini Miura concept
The Miura concept showed what could have happened if Lamborghini’s design department had gone retro. Presented in 2006, the coupe celebrated the Miura’s 40th anniversary by providing a modern take on its elegant, timeless lines. Most of its mechanical components were borrowed from the Murciélago.
The Miura concept was well-received by the public, but Lamborghini has repeatedly made it clear that the coupe was a simple design study and that a retro-styled model isn’t in the cards. However, the company recently introduced a limited-edition version of the Aventador as an homage to the Miura. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The Estoque concept was displayed publicly for the first time during the 2008 edition of the Paris Auto Show. It wasn’t the first four-door Lamborghini, that honor goes to the aforementioned LM002, but it was the company’s first sedan.
Rough the same size as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Estoque was fitted with a 5.2-liter V10 engine borrowed from the Gallardo parts bin and tuned to provide 560 horsepower. While the concept was a hit in the French capital, Lamborghini ultimately decided not to move forward with the development of a Panamera-fighter. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
No car embodies Lamborghini’s wild side better than the Egoista concept. Designed to celebrate Lamborghini’s 50th birthday in 2013, the Egoista looked like a jet fighter on four wheels, and it was nearly as fast as one thanks to a lightweight body and a 5.2-liter V10 engine rated at nearly 600 horsepower.
The air force-inspired treatment continued in the cabin, which offered space for a single passenger and a unique multi-pane windshield tinted orange. Only a single example of the Egoista – a word that literally translates to “selfish” in Italian – was built. Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Digital Trends recently wandered through the building, drooling over the vintage awesomeness and searching out the most stunning finds. We’ve picked out ten stand-out cars in the Lamborghini museum to whet your appetite, but we suggest you trek out to Italy and check it out for yourself.
Recently renovated, the museum is located in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, right next to the company’s factory.