The replacement for the Lamborghini Gallardo will arrive in 2014.
The model, tipped to be named Cabrera, has been spotted testing at the Nurburgring and will launch at the Geneva motor show next year. As development on the new car draws to a close, Lamborghini has also officially ended production of the current Gallardo.
It's the latest chapter in the history of the Lamborghini Automobili company, which started as the brainchild of Italian founder Ferruccio Lamborghini.
Born in 1916, Ferruccio served as a mechanic in the Italian Royal Air Force during the Second World War before going into business building tractors based on surplus World War II military hardware.
By the mid-1950s, Lamborghini’s tractor company was growing at a rapid rate and by the time he expanded into constructing boilers and air-conditioning systems in 1960, Lamborghini had become one of Italy’s great industrialists.
With increased success brought great wealth, which led Ferruccio to purchase a fleet of sports cars – one of them a Ferrari 250GT. It was this acquisition that spawned the idea for Ferruccio Lamborghini to set up his own car company; in his opinion finding that the Ferrari was too noisy and rough for proper road cars, likening them to repurposed track cars.
Lamborghini designed and built his first car – the 350GTV – in only four months, just in time for an unveiling at the 1963 Turin motor show. Despite the favourable press reviews, the 350GTV was a one-off, with Lamborghini re-working the production model and calling it the 350GT.
Debuting at the 1964 Geneva Auto Show, the 350GT was powered by a de-tuned 270bhp 3.5-litre V12 mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The 350GT could accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.8sec and onto a top speed of 158mph – hugely impressive figures in its day. Only 120 examples were made.
Further revisions to the 350GT created the 400GT in 1965. Italian chassis engineer Gian Paulo Dallara tweaked the V12, increasing its displacement to 3.9 litres and a power hike to 320bhp at 6500rpm.
At the 1966 Geneva auto show, Lamborghini unveiled the 400GT 2+2, a stretched version of the 350GT/400GT that featured 2+2 seating with a revised roofline. Like its predecessors, the 400GT 2+2 was well received by motoring journalists, with revenue from sales of the 2+2 allowing Lamborghini to increase labour at his Sant’Agata factory to 170 employees.
During 1965, Lamborghini’s three top engineers, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani and New Zealander Bob Wallace put their own time into development of a prototype – named P400 – that they envisioned as a road car with racing pedigree, capable of winning on the track as well as being driven on the road by enthusiasts.
Despite being the antithesis of Ferruccio’s original ‘Grand Touring’ ethos, the company founder allowed his engineers to go ahead, deciding the P400 would be useful as a marketing tool, if nothing more.
A version with bodywork penned by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini debuted at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Lamborghini's first mid-engined two-seater saw favourable reaction at Geneva with the P400 going into production the following year under a different name, with Lamborghini’s newly created trademark badge taken from the toughest and smartest of fighting bulls – Miura.
Early Miuras were powered by a transversely mounted 350bhp 3.9-litre V12 derived from the 400GT. At the 1968 Turin motor show, the Italian car maker pulled the wraps off the Miura P400S, which showcased newly added power windows, optional air conditioning, bright chrome trim around external windows and power up to 370bhp at 7000rpm. The last and most famous Miura – the P400SV or Miura SV – featured a power hike up to a heady 380bhp. In total, 764 Miuras were made.