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Lam­borgh­ini LM002

UUNLIKE WHAT MOST PEO­PLE BE­LIEVE, Lam­borgh­ini her­alded the lux­ury SUV when no one was even think­ing about it. It was prob­a­bly too early in the game. Lam­borgh­ini first built a mil­i­tary ve­hi­cle, a pro­to­type called the “Chee­tah” in 1977 for US de­fence con­trac­tor Mo­bil­ity Tech­nol­ogy In­ter­na­tional. This pro­to­type fea­tured a per­ma­nent four-wheel drive sys­tem and rather oddly, a rear mounted Chrysler V8 that re­sulted in a rather way­ward han­dling SUV. The US govern­ment how­ever was un­in­ter­ested in an SUV that wouldn’t be made in Amer­ica. And as fate were to have it, the only fin­ished pro­to­type was never tested by the US mil­i­tary, merely demon­strated to them by the Chee­tah’s de­signer, Rod­ney Pharis.

The whole de­ba­cle cost Lam­borgh­ini dearly and, among oth­ers, re­sulted in the com­pany go­ing bank­rupt in 1978. Lam­borgh­ini how­ever didn’t give up on its dream of mak­ing a high-pow­ered SUV. The LM001 soon hap­pened. An evo­lu­tion of the Chee­tah it now car­ried an AMC V8 but han­dling re­mained woe­ful and the idea was shelved.

Lam­borgh­ini’s for­tunes took a turn for the bet­ter in the 80s though as the wealthy Swiss Mir­man fam­ily took over the com­pany in 1984. Money was pumped in and Lam­borgh­ini re­booted the LM001 project, but now it was called the LM002. This time bet­ter sense pre­vailed and Lam­borgh­ini brought the en­gine to the front and the LM002 got all-wheel drive and three lock­ing dif­fer­en­tials. How­ever, Lam­borgh­ini couldn’t stop them­selves from do­ing some­thing out­landish. The en­gine in the LM002 was the huge V12, lifted straight out of the Coun­tach. It pro­duced 450 horses and revved to 6800rpm. You could even get one with a Lam­borgh­ini L804 7.2-litre marine V12. Un­veiled at the Brus­sels Auto Show in 1986, the LM002 came with a full lux­ury pack­age that in­cluded all the leather and wood you’d pos­si­bly want. All that meant that the LM002 was a heavy SUV and tipped the scales at nearly three tonnes. Spe­cially de­signed Pirelli Scor­pion run-flat tyres had to be com­mis­sioned for the LM002. And ad­ding to the go-any­where cre­den­tials of the Lambo was a 290-litre fuel tank. The LM002 quickly be­came the choice of the wealthy, fa­mous and the Saudi mil­i­tary. Sylvester Stal­lone fa­mously owned one re­sult­ing in the ‘Rambo-Lambo’ nick­name. Around 300 LM002s were pro­duced be­fore pro­duc­tion was called off.

The LM002 was an ex­pen­sive SUV and was as crazy as any­thing that the world had ever seen. Lam­borgh­ini will be hop­ing that the spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to the LM002, the Urus can at least draw on the LM002s over-the-top spirit. ⌧

Lam­borgh­ini couldn’t stop them­selves from do­ing some­thing out­landish

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