The Ultimate Guide to Lamborghini
The name is instantly recognizable, and the cars stand out in any setting. Lamborghini is one of the world’s best-known supercar brands, known for its extremely precise manufacturing methods and ultra-limited production runs. The brand is synonymous with luxury and high performance — and for costing a lot of money. The most recent model, the Lamborghini Sian, retails for more than $3.5 million.
Lamborghini is one of the brands car enthusiasts should familiarize themselves with. Appreciating Lamborghini is essential if you want to fully understand the past and present of supercar design and manufacture.
This is your ultimate guide to Lamborghini — where the brand began, where it’s going and what it takes to keep a one running.
The History of Lamborghini
Lamborghini first came on the scene in the early 1960s, with the launch of the prototype Lamborghini 350 GT.
The entire story, however, starts with Ferruccio Lamborghini, the son of Italian winemakers who first began tinkering with machinery on his parents’ vineyard in northern Italy. After returning from service as a mechanic in the Second World War, Ferruccio opened a repair shop of his own, but the business was short-lived. After an accident in a custom-built race car, Ferruccio was put off by the idea of working with cars. Instead, he looked back to his childhood of tinkering with farm equipment for business inspiration.
At the time, much of the Italian economy continued to rely on prewar surplus. The country needed agricultural and industrial revitalization in the form of new machinery — especially farm equipment, like tractors. Ferruccio’s new business, Lamborghini Trattori — the first company to bear Lamborghini’s name — became massively successful. It sold new, high-quality tractors to Italian farmers who had been relying on obsolete equipment.
By the early 1960s, Ferruccio was a wealthy businessman. Despite the years that had passed since his time as a mechanic, he had retained his enthusiasm for cars.
In 1963, inspired after purchasing a small fleet of sports cars and thinking that he could do better, Ferruccio returned to auto design.
In just four months, Ferruccio built his first sports car, the prototype 350 GTV, which would go on to debut at the 1963 Turin Motor show. Ferruccio would later rework the prototype into the 350 GT, the first Lamborghini to go to market. The 350 GT was so successful that it alone ensured Lamborghini’s early survival in the competitive Italian luxury car market.
The 350 GT was the first of several successes for the newly minted Lamborghini Automobili. Ferruccio quickly surrounded himself with some of Italy’s most talented designers and mechanics. This included Marcello Gandini, who would go on to design some of the most distinctive Lamborghinis of the 20th century, including the Miura, Countach and Diablo.
Despite Ferruccio’s early successes and business acumen, falling sales numbers — partly a result of the 1973 oil crisis, which cratered the demand for luxury vehicles — led him to plan his departure from Lamborghini. By 1974, Ferruccio had sold off his entire stake in the company, and had retired to an estate in central Italy. While he was out of the company, his name would live on. Lamborghini would continue to follow his practice of precisely manufacturing just a small number of each model the company designed.
Big risks and successes, like the Lamborghini SUV LM002, carried the brand through the end of the 20th century and into the early 2000s. That’s when the company debuted some of its best-known cars, like the Lamborghini Diablo, Murciélago and Gallardo.
The Brand Today
Lamborghini remains a name associated with luxury and high quality, and the company continues to produce some of the highest-performing luxury vehicles on the market today.
Currently, there are three Lamborghini models in production — the Aventador and Huracán, which replaced the Murciélago and Gallardo, respectively, and the Urus, the company’s second SUV.
These three cars are some of the most advanced developed by Lamborghini and feature some extremely powerful hardware. The Aventador SVJ sports a 6.5-liter, 12-cylinder engine, which generates more than 750 horsepower and more than 530 pound-feet of torque. In 2018, driver Marco Mapelli used that engine to set a new lap record at the Nürburgring, making the Aventador the fastest ever around the Nordschleife.
The cheapest of the trio, the Urus, starts at around $200,000. The most expensive, the Aventador, starts at more than twice that — a little more than $450,000.
While these cars haven’t outsold their predecessors yet, the Aventador, Huracán and Urus are some of the most popular Lamborghinis. We don’t know the exact number that have been sold, but the company did celebrate the manufacture of the 11,000th Huracán and the 8,000th Aventador in mid-2018. None of the three cars are out of production yet, so there’s no telling how high the total number of vehicles produced will be by the time they’re retired.
In 2019, Lamborghini debuted the company’s first hybrid vehicle, the Lamborghini Sián. Production was limited to 63 units — to honor Lamborghini’s founding year — all of which were already sold by the time it was unveiled. The Sián uses an electrified version of the 6.5-liter V-12 engine in the Aventador. The Sian’s engine delivers more than 800 horsepower, making it the most powerful Lamborghini in the company’s lineup to date.
Maintaining a Lamborghini
With the amount of money you’d have to spend on your Lamborghini, you probably want to keep it in the best shape possible. Maintaining a Lamborghini isn’t quite like maintaining an average car — there are special precautions you have to keep in mind. Here’s what it takes to keep a Lamborghini running in top condition.
While a modern Lamborghini’s parts are based on Audi designs — typically easy to source and not too expensive — the specialized pieces in any Lamborghini are custom-built and may need to be specially ordered. You can’t go to just any mechanic for a repair, and if you need a part replaced, it’ll cost you. With Lamborghinis, it’s normal for a transmission replacement to cost as much as $50,000.
Also, pretty much nothing about Lamborghini maintenance is simple — not even changing the oil — so you can expect to pay a premium for the little things, too, if you don’t want to do them yourself.
For these reasons, it’s also a good idea to get your car checked by an independent mechanic before bringing it in for repairs. You might think you know what’s causing a problem — but with how expensive these repairs can be, it’s a good idea to be sure what’s wrong with your Lamborghini and only repair or replace what needs to be fixed.
You’ll want to make sure you’re using the best oil possible for your Lamborghini. For newer models, the company recommends synthetic oils like Castrol Edge. Choosing the right oil, along with the proper oil additives, will be necessary if you want to reduce maintenance costs and keep your Lamborghini running for as long as possible.
Also, once you find a combination of oil, filters and additives that work well, you should probably stock up. Any high-performance luxury car — and Lamborghinis especially — will burn through their consumables fast. If you plan on changing your Lamborghini’s oil and filters yourself, you should plan on having plenty in storage.
The Ins and Outs of Lamborghini
Even after being in business for more than 60 years, Lamborghini continues to consistently design and manufacture some of the most-sought supercars in the world. The latest Lamborghinis are more popular than ever, and are on track to beat the company’s previous production records. At the same time, the brand continues to push the envelope and develop cars that are more advanced and more powerful than anything else on the market.
Lamborghini has even experimented with electric vehicles — a sign it may be preparing to bring an EV of its own into full production. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars lying around, you can have a Lamborghini of your own — if you’re ready for the maintenance that comes with ultra-high performance.