Lamborghini is an Italian exotic car maker known for its powerful V12 engines. [...]
The owner's personal funds allowed him to venture into the car business by developing the 350GTV, which was completed in just four months and unveiled at the Turin auto show in 1963. The response from the media was very positive even without an engine under the hood.
More work on the 350GTV resulted in a production model called 350GT and sold from 1964 to 1966 (120 units). It didn't prove profitable, however, since Lamborghini had to sell it below cost in order to be able to compete with Ferrari. From 1965 to 1970, the 350GT went under the knife of legendary designer Gian Paolo Dallara and evolved into the 400GT and 400GT 2+2.
The Miura (or P400) made its debut in Turin in 1965. Its mid-mounted engine and Bertone-penned body became the foundations of high-performance two-seaters as we know them now and elevated Lamborghini all the way to the top of the supercar world.
In 1970, the automaker began working on a replacement, the Countach LP400. The first sample was delivered four years later.
Despite its technical achievements, Lamborghini still couldn't make a profit. In a precarious economy, this led the company to file for bankruptcy in 1978. The Italian government subsequently appointed the Mimran brothers (Jean-Claude and Patrick) as the new bosses, who put the train back on the rails and helped the Countach LP500 launch in the United States in 1982, followed by a 449-horsepower Quattrovalvole version two years later.
In April 1987, Chrysler bought Lamborghini for $33 million in order to supply engines to Formula 1 teams. Meanwhile, the Countach's successor was in the works. When the Diablo made its first public appearance in 1990, it was the fastest production car in the world.
For all the praise it received, however, the Diablo proved too expensive for American customers. Chrysler executives wanted to make more money, so they ended the marriage by selling Lamborghini to MegaTech in 1994.
The introduction of the Diablo SuperVeloce the very next year was met with strong sales, but once again, it didn't turn Lamborghini into a profitable business. That's when Vittorio di Capua left Fiat and took over as president. His impact was immediately felt and the long-sought profits followed in 1997.
Unfortunately, the financial crisis in Asia right at the same time forced Lamborghini to change hands yet again. Volkswagen acquired the brand for a cool $110 million.
In 2001, after a long hiatus, a new Lamborghini hit the market, namely the 572-horsepower, V12-equipped Murciélago. The more affordable, V10-powered Gallardo came in two years later, and by the end of the decade, several editions of the Murciélago and Gallardo had been launched. The former stopped being produced on November 5, 2010 after selling 4,099 units.
Today, the Lamborghini portfolio still includes the Gallardo. The Aventador was added in 2011.