Lamborghini is celebrating 50 years of making some sensational cars this year and so the story goes that Ferruccio Lamborghini, who made tractors, told Enzo Ferrari his clutches were rubbish. Enzo got miffed, punched Ferry on the nose and sent him back to ploughing his potatoes. Mr Lambo decided that the only way to get even with the man who was building the most charismatic cars in the world was to build the most charismatic cars in the world….and the rest is history, as they say.
It is arguable, of course, as to whether Ferruccio ever got close to realising his ambitions since The Raging Bull had always been the pub that everybody spoke about while drinking in The Prancing Horse.
A new act arrived in town, however, in 2003 and started putting bums on seats for the tractor maker. The pole dancer’s name was Gallardo.
Nobody could say that Ferruccio had ever made an ugly car. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Miura is a regular favourite in those ‘most beautiful car in the world’ polls. The issue seemed to be though that the only way Sant Agata felt it could beat Maranello was in the ‘mad design’ category.
Take the Countach, which apparently means ‘Eureka’ or “I found it!” - as pronouned by Archimides when he discovered the theory of water displacement. Lamborghini should have sent a team on University Challenge.
If you ever wanted people to point and stare at you, you either walked around stark naked with a spinning bow-tie or you drove a Countach. These days it will be an Aventador or a Sesto Elemento.
However, the Gallardo is ’sensible’ – for Lamborghini that is. It is also beautiful and it is one of our favourite cars ever. It is screwed together very well (courtesy of Audi) and it drives like a supercar should. That is why the tractor boys have never built so many of a particular model to come out of Sant Agata. The good news is that sometime early next year the second generation Gallardo is to be launched and word is that it will blow the competition away – we really hope that we won’t be disappointed.
Will it be better than an equivalent Ferrari? Who knows? Ferruccio and Enzo are probably trading blows at the pearly gates right now.