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Reminder: Lamborghini wasn’t always horsepower and carbon fiber

With their exports from Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, Lamborghini has a reputation of supercars with aggressive style and the power to back it up. It wasn’t always this way, though, and if you trace Lamborghini history back to its roots, you get just that—farming.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/05/29/lamborghini-wasnt-always-horsepower-and-carbon-fiber

The standard story is that Ferruchio Lamborghini began building supercars because he had some kind of fight with Ferrari. Some years ago, I spent a week driving around Sardinia in a Murcielago with Lamborghini’s then-PR director. He told me that story was nonsense. The truth was that Ferruchio owned a Ferrari that needed a clutch replacement, and he decided to have the job done by his chief tractor mechanic. After all, how hard can it be? So the tech did the job, and midway through it, he came into Lamborghini’s office and put two absolutely identical clutches on Ferruchio’s desk. “That one is a Ferrari clutch. It costs nine million lire [or whatever the number was–I can’t remember]. The other one is the clutch we use in some of our tractors. It costs ninety thousand lire.” A light marked “value added” went on in Lamborghini’s head, and thus began his foray into the value-added supercar market.

Stephan Wilkinson

This is the story that I heard directly from Ferruccio as translated by his secretary, Barbara, over lunch near his winery in September 1988.
“I had a problem with the clutches in my Ferraris. I had a meeting with Enzo and told him that I had developed a strong clutch for my tractors that might be adapted to his cars. Enzo said the problem wasn’t with his clutches but with my driving and that I should stick to driving tractors. I told Enzo that I would make a clutch that worked and build a motor in front of it and a transmission behind it and build a car around it that was better than anything he built.”
The rest is history.

Jim Fox

Sure are a lot of stories here based off of bring a trailer auction vehicles.

After reading MANY articles and books, and watching many documentaries, everything points to your story being the absolute truth.

The correct name for this type of vehicle is crawler tractor. Typically tractors of any kind don’t have or need a synchromesh transmission as more often than not the gears are shifted while the vehicle is stopped. The difference in speed between the lowest and highest gears isn’t much; it’s more about the pulling power. Incidentally, the tracked vehicle was invented in Stockton California by Benjamin Holt, who was trying to combat the problem of ordinary farm tractors getting stuck in soft fields.

Incidentally Lambo still builds tractors; all be it green and carrying Deutz on the name plate in the US market. They are now owned by that parent company. If you want a Lambo for your field here you’d have to buy the Deutz then order the silver plastics in.
I’ve really wanted one to pull my Ferrari transplanter, but being only a handful of dealers state side the nearest over 4 hr from me, I haven’t done it. If I ever pull that trigger bet your but the farmer at coffee wouldn’t believe “My Lamborghini pulls my Ferrari through the field.”

@ac.egan - Interesting. So it is possible to get the Lamborghini branded parts and swap them onto a Deutz? That is pretty neat.

I’ve not actually checked but I’m guessing like most co branding things will swap. That is assuming you are willing to buy in Eros and have parts shipped across the pond.

I took this picture of my in-laws tractor in Sardinia last winter because of the name on the hood.Lamborgini|690x335