History of Automobili Lamborghini SpA
Ferruccio Lamborghini was a self made millionaire, he made a fortune by building tractors from army surplus left by the Allied Forces back in 1945. He started this business from a small garage but soon was able to move to larger buildings because demand for his very powerful tractors rose.
He also started manufacturing oil burners and air-conditioning systems after his tractor plant started making lots of money, it turned out his second business also made big money so Ferruccio Lamborghini became one the wealthiest men in Italy. He could afford just about everything he wanted, including high speed GT cars like the Mercedes SL300 and Ferrari he owned alongside the Jaguar he liked very much. May be then it did not strike him that he would design the world famous cars lamborghini countach, lamborghini murcielago, lamborghini diablo and lamborghini gallarado.
But his Ferrari started giving problems with the clutch, the local workshop couldn't fix this problem so Ferruccio decided to drive to Modena and confront Enzo Ferrari himself.But Enzo, who was known for his arrogance, told this 'farmer' to take a walk, Ferruccio was furious and at that moment decided to show Enzo how he should build GT cars.Of course this is a legend, and the truth about it could be a little different, it was obvious that Ferruccio had lots of money to spare and the GT car market was still open for new things, money could still be made by building high speed, well finished cars, so it is more likely this persuaded Lamborghini to start his own company.
Automobili Lamborghini SpA was founded in early 1963, Ferruccio bought a green-field site of 90,000 square metres near Bologna, in SantAgata Bologna and work on his brand new factory started immediately. The building was erected in only eight months. This was a very modern factory using lots of open spaces and glass everywhere, but this state of the art building cost money, about 500,000,000 Lire was needed to make Ferruccios dream come true. The entire factory was surrounded by a road and in front of the main office building a nice garden was made. The large glass hall welcomed visitors and Ferruccios own office was located at the front of this central building.
But a car factory needs people, so Sig. Ferruccio Lamborghini started looking for the top men in the business and was able to recruit Giotto Bizzarrini after hed left Ferrari, to design and build a V-12 for Lamborghini. The engine was finished soon and was able to pump out about 400 Bhp at 11,000 rpm, but Ferruccio wanted a GT car and not a race car, so the engine was detuned to 'only' 280 Bhp at 7,000 rpm. Bizzarrini was made very clearly that there was no way he could make a race car for Lamborghini so he decided to leave again very soon after the final tests were completed.
By that time two members were added to the technical team at SantAgata, Giampaolo Dallara and Giampaolo Stanzani joined Ferruccio, and in early 1964 Ubaldo Sgarzi started working for the new Automobili Lamborghini SpA company. Ubaldo would remain at the firm for many years to come, and lasted even through the very rough times that were to come in the seventies.
Ferruccio had a fabulous team of engineers surrounding him to make his dreamcar, but a car has to be road tested so he made an offer to Bob Wallace he couldnt refuse. Bob Wallace became chief test driver for Lamborghini, he already had an extensive experience with racing both Ferraris and Maseratis after he moved to Italy from his origins in New Zealand.
The Lamborghini 350 GTV prototype was shown to the public on the Turin Auto Show of 1963, it was however not built in this new factory, because the tooling equipment wasnt delivered yet, so Ferruccio decided to finish this car in a closed section of his Tractor plant in Cento di Ferrara.
In 1964 the first Ferrari Lamborghini 350 GTs were able to be completed in this new plant, Touring supplied the bodywork the chassis and the engine were mounted together with the leather interior.
The future of Automobile Lamborghini Spa looked very bright during the sixties, the 350 GT was succeeded by the 400 GT and the 400 GT 2+2, but the best move Ferruccio allowed his engineers to take was the design and construction of the Lamborghini Miura. The 350 GT and 400 GT 2+2 made the Lamborghini name known throughout the world, but the Miura made it legendary and the name alone made people dream of supercars and road-ready race cars.
The Countach was shown as the successor of the Miura and together with the Espada, these two cars kept the company alive through some very troublesome times. With the futuristic Countach, Lamborghini managed to build an extreme looking car that was usable on the road, this car made the name Lamborghini enter automotive history. Even if by some strange way, Automobili Lamborghini SpA was to disappear from the market, the name would stay known as one of the most extreme Italian car builders ever.
The first problems came in 1974, just after the Lamborghini Trattrice received a major setback, a massive order for tractors was cancelled, and Ferruccio lost a lot of money over it, he already upgraded the tractor factory to be able to build the numbers required and bought most of the raw materials needed to do so. His personal fortune was still large, but he decided to sell this factory to SAME, who eventually was taken over by Fiat years later.