April 7, 2016
Ferruccio Lamborghini was an exceedingly practical man. He was born into a family of grape farmers in 1916. Due to his early onset fascination with engines, the Italian air force employed his services as mechanic. It was in the little Greek island of Rhodes, where Lamborghini became a mechanical artist. Glossing over the fact that he fought for the axis powers, he was a stupendous engineer, of the literal sense. His specialty was re-purposing parts from various mechanical motors to fix an ailed engine. His inherent brand of improvisational engineering became his greatest asset, without it he would have never attained affluence. After the war Lamborghini opened his own automotive repair shop in the Italian mechanical Mecca of Modena. He started by fixing automobiles, motorcycles and mopeds, before zeroing in on an opportunity tailor made for his wizard-like talents. Due to the extended focus on warfare, there was an excess of war machines at the bereft of mechanized agricultural tools. Lamborghini used the surplus supplies to make tractor engines. His business increased exponentially. Eventually, mechanical surplus ran dry, so by popular demand, Ferruccio Lamborghini began making his own high quality tractor engines. His engines became so coveted, he was able to complete orders of 400 in a week. By mid-age, the Lamborghini decided to have a little fun and bought himself a fleet of high performance luxury cars, and even dabbled in racing. One of his high performance luxury cars had a persistent problem, so he took it to the factory that was coincidentally in his home town of Modena Italy. Once in the factory, Ferruccio demanded to have the CEO himself field his concerns. When he told the CEO that his cars were too stiff and loud for the road, and that the clutch was prone to spouts of inactivity (in what I am sure was a calm and quiet tone), Enzo Ferrari dismissively responded with: “the problem” was probably “the driver.” Lamborghini was livid and flush with Liras, so he decided to make his own car instead. In just under four months, he produced a mostly aluminium V12 that produced a then astonishing 350 horsepower (today engineers can accomplish well over that with half the cylinders), with the help of an ex-Ferrari engineer: Giampaolo Dallara. In 1963, Lamborghini debuted the 350 GTV at the Turin Auto show, The automaker dropped the V along with other things before sales began the following year, because Ferruccio himself was not sufficiently impressed due to impracticality. However, the production variant 350 GT was simply staggering. It was not a supercar, but it was definitely a masterpiece. It was not until two years later that Lamborghini was cemented into the automotive hall of fame. Ferruccio debuted his opus magnum in two installments. He premiered the world’s first transverse mid-mounted engine with corresponding production automobile chassis at Turin in 1965, the following year’s guests saw the original (and practical) supercar in all of its glory, the Lamborghini Miura. Unfortunately, all of Ferruccio’s companies were affected by the 1973 oil crisis. His tractor business had a huge cancellation that cost him thousands and people surprisingly stopped buying V12 supercars during the oil shortage. So the last car that Ferruccio had a hand in was the Prototype Countach shown in Geneva. After that he sold all of his stock in the company to a Swiss investor.