The car game is a funny business.

Companies come and go, they’re born again, often change hands, and some models find success, while most sink without a trace.

Just like horse racing it’s difficult to pick a winner and despite what we motor noters might say about a car, buyers often totally ignore our advice and purchase what we commonly refer to as shitboxes anyway.

Automotive history is littered with the remnants of once great marques — Hummer, Maybach, Pontiac, Saab, and of course Riley sports cars — among them.

Ferrari is generally acknowledged as the creme de la creme, the best and most aspirational of the brands — but even some of its cars have been hit and miss.

Talking of Ferrari, it’s a little known fact that if it wasn’t for grumpy old Enzo we wouldn’t have Lamborghini.

Yes, really. The guy that started Lamborghini was a wealthy Italian industrialist who had a stable of cars including a Ferrari.

He was having trouble with the clutch in his 250 GT and wanted to have an espresso and chat with Enzo about his car troubles.

The story goes that he got the shits when Enzo, who was not noted for his people skills, told him to take a hike.

In disgust, Ferruccio Lamborghini, who had made his fortune building tractors and air conditioning systems after the war, decided to start his own company.

He wanted to build a car that would be better than his unreliable Ferrari — and so Lamborghini was born in the early 1960s.

For the design Ferruccio hired a talented engineer named Giampaolo Dallara who had previously worked on a Ferrari V12 engine.

His first car, the Lamborghini 350 GTV, a two-seat coupe with a V12 engine, was launched in 1963.

Ferruccio just wanted his Ferrari fixed
First Lamborghini . . . the 1963 350 GTV.

The charging bull depicted in the company’s logo is a reference to Ferruccio’s zodiac sign, Taurus the Bull.

Various Lamborghinis have had names related to bulls or bullfighting, including the Miura, a mid-engine sports car released in mid-1960s that gained international acclaim from enthusiasts and a reputation for prestige and cutting-edge design.

The Miura was named for a breeder of fighting bulls, Don Eduardo Miura.

For mine the the four-seat Espada, produced between 1968 and 1978, was breathtaking in its audacity, with its 3.9-litre V12 and that had six side-draught Weber carbies.

But, as we said the car business has its up and downs and it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Ferrari wannabe.

Faced with financial difficulties, Ferruccio was forced to sell the company in the mid 70s.

Four years later it was bankrupt.

Ferruccio retired to his country estate to make wine and died in 1993.

Ferruccio just wanted his Ferrari fixed
Our favourite . . . the four-seat Espada

In 1980 Lamborghini was placed in the hands of receivers Patrick and Jean-Claude Mimran who went on to purchase the company in 1984.

They invested heavily in the company and expanded the model line from the Countach to include the Jalpa sports car and the LM002 high performance off-roader.

Then, in 1987, the brothers sold Lamborghini to Chrysler.

After replacing Countach with the Diablo and dropping Jalpa and the LM002, Chrysler later sold Lamborghini to a Malaysian investment group Mycom Setdco and the Indonesian group V’Power Corporation in 1994.

In 1998, it changed hands once again, this time being picked up by current owners the Volkswagen Group where it is under the control of the Audi division.

New products and model lines were introduced and as a result the brand has enjoyed increased productivity.

But, in the late 2000s, during the worldwide financial crisis, sales dropped by almost 50 percent as fortunes evaporated.

Lamborghini’s current range consists of three model lines, two of which are mid-engine, two-seat sports cars while the third one is a front engined, all-wheel drive SUV.

The V12-powered Aventador line consists of the LP 740–4 Aventador S coupé and roadster.

The V10-powered Huracán line currently includes the all-wheel-drive LP 610-4 coupé and spyder, the low cost rear-wheel-drive LP 580-2 coupé and spyder and the most powerful, track oriented LP 640-4 Performanté coupé and spyder.

With the intention of doubling sales by 2019, Lamborghini also added an SUV named Urus powered by a twin-turbo V8 with a front engine, all-wheel drive layout.

The question remains . . . is Lamborghini here to stay?

CHECKOUT: Lambo’s new SUV a ‘DAB’ touch

CHECKOUT: Lambo’s LM002 could out ranger a Range Rover

Ferruccio just wanted his Ferrari fixed

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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