Edit : Lamborghini, A Different Breed
Back in the 50s, there lived a man in Italy, who had a very successful tractor business. His name was Ferruccio Lamborghini, and like any other wealthy Italian industrialist, he had a penchant for fast, expensive cars. The proud owner of a vast and stunning collection including a Mercedes Benz 300 SL and a Jaguar E-Type, he decided to gift himself the legendary Ferrari 250 GT. He liked it a lot but was also disappointed with the lack of refinement. Repeated trips to Maranello for maintenance added to his annoyance. Legend has it, that he was so frustrated with the gearbox in his 250 GT that he went to visit Enzo Ferrari personally to discuss the matter. In reply, the proud Modenan dismissed him, telling him to stick to tractors and to let him build the sports cars. At this point, he decided that there was nothing Ferrari could do which he couldn’t do better, and so began the tale of Automobili Lamborghini.
Today, Lamborghini is famous globally for producing some of the world’s fastest cars, very easy on the eyes and very heavy on the wallet. The current flagship model, the Aventador has quickly become one of the most desired cars in the world. A spectacle to see and a dream to drive, it boasts a 6.5 L V12 engine producing a mammoth 690 BHP. It goes from 0 to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds and using its pushrod-actuated double wishbone suspension, it can manoeuvre any corner without so much as breaking a sweat. The Aventador is named after a valiant bull, keeping with the long-standing Lamborghini tradition of associating itself with bullfighting. Dripping with character and typical Italian flair, it reeks of the identity Ferruccio Lamborghini worked so hard to build, right from the beginning.
The Miura, popularly known as the first supercar ever made, was truly an engineering marvel when it arrived in 1966. It looked like nothing anyone had seen before, and went faster than was thought possible. At the same time, the clutch was too heavy, the ride was unbearably stiff and it was easier to turn an 18-wheeler. Driving it would surely cause a case of arthritis, but none of it mattered one bit. Time stood still when a Miura drove by.
Much of the same followed when the Countach was launched in 1974. Featuring a striking and revolutionary design, the Countach was the first production car to feature ‘scissor doors’, which have since then become a trademark for all flagship Lamborghinis. It was again, extremely uncomfortable to drive, but became an instant icon because of its outrageous design.
The Diablo, launched in 1990, was the first Lambo capable of exceeding 200mph and was a humongous hit, not only for its head-turning looks, but for record-breaking performance as well. Automotive engineers, race car drivers and car designers were equally in awe of the machine, which was the fastest car in production at the time.
But despite the uproar over the Countach & the Diablo, Lamborghini had been suffering from financial troubles for almost half its existence. In 1998 Audi acquired Lamborghini, and soon followed the asphalt hugging Murcielago. The ‘baby Lambo’ called the Gallardo was also launched soon after, and the two along with responsible management by Audi phenomenally turned the manufacturer’s fortunes, slowly achieving unprecedented sales figures.
The Murcielago with its big V12 engine was still plagued with the typical handling issues of all the big Lambos which came before it, but stayed true to their extraterrestrial performance figures, reaching a top speed of 340km/h. Calling it understated would be a bit of a stretch, with its low, wide stance and aerodynamically designed body. However, it seemed to lack the madness of the Countach and the Diablo. Much more refined, and engineered, it was a lot more civilised than its ancestors.
And then, there was one. In early March 2013, Lamborghini unveiled the Veneno, a limited edition hypercar which looks like Megatron on steroids. A grand total of 3 Venenos were produced for sale as part of the 50th year celebrations at Lamborghini, and all were sold by invitation for a jaw-dropping $ 4.6 million before the buyers had even seen the car.
Fanaticism of this sort comes as no surprise when you take a look at some of the other recent show cars, the fighter jet inspired Reventon & the lightest Lambo ever, the Sesto Elemento. Literally translating to ‘poison’, the 740 BHP Veneno has brought back the era of the poster car, and will surely grace the bedroom walls of 14 year old boys for years to come.
The madness is back.