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Lamborghini - What's In A Name?


Classic car lovers are certainly familiar with this famous name. Where did it - and some of its iconic models - come from? Lets take a quick look at the history.

Ferruccio Lamborghini grew up in a small township in Northern Italy. He served as a mechanic during World War II and afterwards went into business building tractors out of leftover military hardware. By the mid 1950's Ferruccio's tractor company had become one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in Italy.

The wealth created by his successful business venture finally allowed Lamborghini to indulge in his childhood passion of exotic cars. He owned many different makes including Alfa Romeos, Maseratis and Mercedes, but Ferruccio definitely had a penchant for Ferraris. Although he found them beautiful, he was frustrated with the rough and noisy track-car characteristics and lack of "road luxury". It was the Ferrari that inspired Ferruccio Lamborghini to began manufacturing automobiles with the goal of creating a car with the perfect blend of luxury and performance.

The year before Automobili Lamborghini was officially incorporated, Ferruccio visited a ranch renowed for breeding Spanish Fighting Bulls. He was so impressed with the animals that he decided to emblazon them on the front of his cars, and thus the legendary raging bull emblem was born. The first two Lamborghini models were badged alphanumerically, the 350GT and it's successor, the 400GT. After that, Ferruccio went back to the world of bullfighting and his breeder friend Don Eduardo Miura for inspiration.

The industry standard for the mid-engine two-seat high-performance sports car was release by Lamborghini in 1967 under the name Miura. The fourth car to come off the production line was presented to Don Eduardo at his ranch by Ferrucciono as a symbol of admiration for his family and their line of fighting bulls. The Miura was produced through 1972 with a total of 764 built.

The Lamborghini Islero was named for the legendary Urraco-bred Miura fighting bull, Islero, that killed famed matador Manuel Rodriguez "Manolete" in 1947 after severing his femoral artery during a fight. The Urraco, a Lamborghini model that was made available from 1973 to 1979 with a build-total of 791, also carried a designation that was inspried by that bullfight.

Espada is the Spanish word for sword and is sometimes used in reference to the bullfighter himself. The word Espada graced the bodywork of one of Lamborghini's most successful models of it's time. 1217 Espadas were made during it's production run between 1968 and 1978. The Jarama, named for the famed bullfighting region in Spain, was developed from a redesign of the Islero in order to meet US safety and emissions regulations. It had a 6 year production run between 1970 and 1976 with a total of 328 built. The Jalpa, built from 1980 to 1988, also drew it's name from a famous breed of fighting bulls.

The Lamborghini Diablo, named for an infamous fighting bull, enjoyed a production run of 11 years between 1990 and 2001 that included six generational revisions and sold 2884 units. The Murcielago designation was derived from the Navarro fighting bull, Murcielago, that was spared by the matador after surviving 28 sword strokes during a bullfight in 1879. The bull was later presented by his breeder, Joaquin del Val de Navarra, as a gift to Don Eduardo Miura's brother, Don Antonio. Murceilago was subsequently brought to Miura's ranch and introduced into the bloodline by bredding him with 70 of their cows. The Murcielago was in production from 2002 through 2010 with a total run of 4,099 cars. The Reventon was also named after a famous bull that killed Felix Guzman during a bullfight in Mexico in 1943. The Reventon was only produced for a year between 2008 and 2009. There were a total of 20 built and sold at a price of $1.5 million. One additional Reventon was built and stamped 0/20 for the Lamborghini Museum.

The most produced model to date, the Lamborghini Gallardo, is named for the historic breed that was used to create the Miura line of bulls back in 1842. The Gallardo line started it all for the Miuras, and since 2003 has been the go-to model for Lamborghini fans worldwide. With over 10,000 cars built in it's first seven years of production, Lamborghini and the Gallardo show no signs of slowing down.