Today in 1963, Ferruccio Lamborghini incorporated his automobile company in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. It began as a way for him to prove to Ferrari that not only could he produce a beautiful and powerful sports car, he could create one better than theirs.
Today, his company stands as a benchmark for all other supercar manufacturers to aspire to, with unmistakable designs and undeniably beautiful engine notes. In celebration of this anniversary, here are our top 10 favorite models ever produced by the marque.
In 1985, Chief Engineer Horacio Pagani brought the Countach into the modern era. For the first time, Lamborghini built a specific model for the US. Instantly identifiable are the federally mandated front bumpers, which were quickly removed by owners upon delivery. Feeding proper air to the six carburetors had always been an issue since the intakes are behind the cockpit. Bosch fuel injection solved the problem and bumped horsepower to 414.
A decade later, horsepower was up to 510, so the Diablo needed larger cooling ducts and a giant rear spoiler. Big brakes were added and chrome trim was deleted for a sinister appearance. Without the all-wheel drive of the more expensive Diablo VT, the SV is incredibly overpowered on the track or street.
In the early 1970s, American cars were losing horsepower across the board. Federal clean air laws forced domestic sports cars to be only shadows of their former glory. Unencumbered by such statutes, Lamborghini revised the valvetrain and intake to reach 380 hp. Styling for this special edition was highlighted by new scoops along the rocker panels, and flared rear quarter panels fitted over wider wheels.
Gruppo Bertone was commissioned with designing a compact coupe around a rear transverse-mounted V8 as a more practical alternative to the Countach. The Jalpa was the result, and they can be found all over the early pages of the duPont REGISTRY. The members of our original sales staff have a fondness for this raging bull of the 1980s.
Following the trend of introducing a Superveloce edition near the end of production, the Murcielago’s engine was pumped up to 661 hp and an extensive use of carbon fiber lowered the car’s weight. With a V12 spinning to 8,000 rpm, the car was capable of 10-second quarter mile times with 60 mph from a standstill happening in only 3. The brakes are bigger than your car’s wheels, and the spoiler is large enough to double as a helipad. Like all the greats, the Murcielago went out on top.
If the Murcielago was too mundane for your tastes, the Reventon was an all carbon fiber body on top of the Murcielago’s chassis. Only 21 examples were built, and most of the wild features found their way onto the Aventador. A roadster version was also built in 2010 using the Murcielago SV engine; only 14 additional examples were built.
2014 Veneno Roadster
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Aventador was skinned and crafted into an aerodynamicist’s dream. Only nine were built, each with a sticker price over $4 million.
We were at the unveiling on Amelia Island and witnessed the state of the art in supercars. The V12 has been stretched to 750 hp and exaggerated bodywork is required to keep it shiny-side-up at top speeds. Its magnetic suspension will tame the harsh ride and dynamic steering will offer more feedback for safe cruising at three times the posted speed limit, under professional supervision on a closed track, of course.
The only SUV in their portfolio was also their first production vehicle to feature four-wheel drive. With their V12 making more power than almost all other engines of the day, what better way to have fun than build a rugged all-terrain vehicle around it? Plush interiors loaded with leather and reference level audio gave the discerning off-roader the ability to arrive in style. We like it because it had no option for automatic transmission.
The Sesto Elemento (meaning “sixth element” in Italian) is powered by a 5.2L V10 that generates 570 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The suspension, chassis, driveshaft, and body are all made of carbon fiber, bringing the total weight to 2,200 pounds. It is the lightest car Lamborghini has ever created.