The original Lamborghini SUV

22nd June 2021

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Super SUVs are commonplace these days, but back in the ‘80s they didn’t really exist at all. Lamborghini set out to change that.

 

The Urus is stonkingly quick for a big car but is also relatively easy to use due to a little German assistance. Because of this, it’s been a huge success for Lamborghini. However, it’s not the first jacked-up super SUV to come out of Santa’Agata.

 

Let’s start with a brief history of how the LM002 came into existence. It's the late '70s, Lamborghini build a prototype military vehicle codenamed ‘Cheetah’. There was only one prototype which had a Chrysler V8 slung in the middle and it didn’t get tested once.

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From that, Lamborghini created the LM001 which was similar to the Cheetah but had an AMC V8 instead. After much testing, it was determined that positioning the engine in the middle didn’t help its off-road performance at all.

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In another prototype, they built an all-new chassis and stuck the Countach’s V12 out front beneath a colossal bonnet bulge. This layout stuck and the production model, named LM002, was revealed in 1986.

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It was a machine built for off-road use, but mere mortals could specify luxuries like air conditioning, power windows and a sound system mounted in the roof. If you were particularly underwhelmed by the powerplant, the 'Rambo Lambo was even offered with a 7.2-litre marine V12 from a powerboat. Two types of tyres were available, one set for all-round use and another run-flat set for desert use.

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Lamborghini wasn’t renowned for making the most user-friendly, practical cars in its early days and the LM002 is absolutely no exception. There was no automatic option, only a dog-leg five-speed manual ‘box, the interior buttons were not exactly what you’d call ergonomically laid out, the fuel tank was a whopping 204 litres, and it would only get 5.6mpg. Sounds like fun, right?

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A Countach-powered off-roader may sound like a great idea to most of us but unfortunately and probably unsurprisingly, Lamborghini sold just over 300 of the Cathedral-sized behemoths.

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Nonetheless, it’s still Lamborghini’s first off-road vehicle and arguably the original super SUV. For that, we salute its madness.