Lamborghini sports cars are to some the “other Italians,” fated to exist in the shadow of glamorous Ferrari. But in this article, you will learn that Lamborghini sports cars had their own identity, and on occasion even influenced Ferrari.
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Legend has it that Ferruccio Lamborghini, a wealthy self-made Italian industrialist, had mechanical trouble with a Ferrari he owned and was rebuffed by Enzo Ferrari himself when he sought to complain. In a pique, Ferruccio decided to start his own damn sports car company.
The first result of that tantrum, the Lamborghini GT 350 of 1964, a debonair two-seat coupe with a magnificent V-12 engine designed by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini. The early Lamborghinis showed Ferrari how refined a fast, powerful road car could be, but it was the Lamborghini Miura of 1966 that showed the world how startingly beautiful and technically advanced a midengine road car could be.
Lamborghini redrew the rules and created in the Lamborghini Espada of 1968 a genuine four-seat exotic, and found continued success with the Lamborghini Islero and Lamborghini Jarama -- powerful and plush 1970s grand touring models. It wasn't all smooth sailing, however. Compact supercars like the Lamborghini Urraco and Lamborghini Silhouette of the period were less than successful.
Lamborhini quickly found a way to rebound. This small and often financially challenged automaking offshoot found a way to produce not just one sports car milestone in the Miura, but a second, with the 1974 launch of the Lamborghini Countach. This wildly aggressive midengine rocket ignited an anything-goes era of ultra high performance, once again goosed Ferrari into responding, and became the poster child for the same renegade automotive spirit that drove Ferruccio Lamborghini in the first place.
We'll begin on the next page by exploring the first ever Lamborghini, the 350 GT.