Lamborghini:  A Living Legend -- 2



Perhaps the best way to appreciate the story of Automobili Lamborghini is to go back in time and follow its development. The history of these cars demonstrates how his dream became a reality.


The factory Automobili Lamborghini opens in Sant'Agata Bolognese. The first Lamborghini prototype, called the 350 GTV debuts at the Turin Motor Show in October.


The 350 GT, a refinement of the original prototype, debuts at the Geneva Motor Show as a statement of Lamborghini's intent to be a true player in the sports car market. The vehicle features a four-cam V12 a fully synchronised five speed transmission, limited slip differential, four wheel independent suspension and four wheel disc brakes. An enthusiastic public reaction prompts production to begin.


Characterised by its 3.9 Litre engine, the 400 GT is produced as a derivative of the 350 GT. Simultaneously Lamborghini begins building its own transmissions and final-drive unit and combines this feature with the 3.9 Litre engine, revised bodywork and +2 seating to produce the 400 GT 2+2 model.

A production prototype designed by Marcello Gandini, the Miura P400, featuring a cleverly compact 3929 cc transverse V12 power train makes its second debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The car causes a stir, as its bare chassis had in Turin during the previous autumn and further establishes the reputation of Lamborghini.


Launched at the Geneva Motor Show the Islero 400 GT features an aluminium, quad cam V12 engine; all wheel independent suspension and disc brakes; comprehensive cockpit fittings and luxury interiors. Described as a businessman's car, the Islero, although shorter, is roomier than the 400 GT 2+2, and has plenty of glass area.

Described as a truly sexy new four seater, the Espada combines looks, performance and handling of a top-line sports car with comfortable and luxurious accommodation for four. Built of solid steel "unibody" construction, the Espada became one of the most admired and successful Lamborghinis.


Criticism of the Islero 400 GT design inspired an improved model in the late summer of 1969, tagged Islero S or GTS. Modifications included a reworked interior, several suspension improvements and a much more potent engine. "Mailbox slot" hot air exhaust vents behind each front wheel, a slight flare to all wheel arches and fixed triangular panes on the front portion of each door window were all additional features on the GTS model.


The Miura P400S, an upgraded version of the P400, features heavier gauge sheet steel chassis construction, rear suspension modifications, ventilated disc brakes, and reshaped combustion chambers, higher lift cams and bigger carburettors, all contributing to a stronger engine. Additional features include leather-trim steering wheel, and options for radio and air conditioning.

The functional successor to the 400 2+2, the Jarama 400 GT, is built on an all new "unibody" floor plan derived from the Espada. Its V12 engine is placed between the front wheels and the bodywork is made of steel. The car proved to be surprisingly nimble and fast. Sensible and deliberately unspectacular, the Jarama is described as more bold than beautiful.


A second revision to the original Miura P400 prototype of 1966, the P400 SV features a completely redesigned front and rear suspension, with updated tyres and rims that dictate bulging rear fenders. The new improved model offers more muscle and features a leather interior trim replacing the vinyl.

Marcello Gandini, assisted by Paolo Stanzani's engineering expertise, designed all new competition inspired sports car prototype, the Countach LP500, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The car featured high speed dynamics, high cornering limits, a handmade aluminium body and a dramatic "wedge" body profile.


Having the body design executed by Bertone in an attempt to produce a "special" look, Lamborghini unveiled the Urraco P250 at the Turin Motor Show. It was described as having a genuine beauty and a rare blend of balance, delicacy, grace, innovation and passion that seemed ageless.

The revised Jarama IS referred to as the Jarama 400GTS. The car is distinguished by its hood scoop, side fender vents, parallel parking wipers and five bolt wheels. It had more horsepower and there were significant interior improvements, including better seating, instrumentation and workmanship. It was the last front engined Lamborghini sports car.
The first Countach LP400 prototype appeared at the Geneva Motor Show.


The second Countach LP400 prototype was shown at the Paris Motor Show.


The Countach LP400 production vehicle debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The second Gandini design for Lamborghini, it stole the show and gave the company a new light. The car featured a 3.9 Litre V12 engine, tubular chassis, semi roll down side windows and bolder higher bumpers.


A replacement for the P250, the Urraco 300 was introduced and featured many improvements and detailed changes to transmission, suspension and bodywork


The Silhouette, a new vehicle based on the Urraco, is introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. It received favourable reviews due to its aggressive good looks, stunning performance and a practical day-to-day driving ability.


In an attempt to build a series of fast off-road vehicles for the Mobility Technology International Company, Lamborghini produced the Cheetah, an entry into the military market. Receiving less interest from the army than the public, the vehicle is adapted for the civilian market.


Created largely due to interest expressed by the Lamborghini fan Walter Wolf, the Countach LP400S uses much wider low profile, high tech tyres requiring alterations in the suspension geometry of the car and fibreglass fender flares.


As a follow up to the Cheetah, the LM001 went into production and was available with a rear mounted 4.7 Litre Countach V12 or a Chrysler 360 cc V8.

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