In 2017 Lamborghini released the Urus, a “super SUV” with supercar performance – but this was not the first time that the carmaker had a fast off-road vehicle for sale.
In 1986 they gave the world, what is now regarded as, the father of the luxury SUV – The LM002.
It had a gigantic body, a spacious interior with big surfaces, a “bak” on the back, and – most importantly – a 5.2-litre V12 engine that it shared with the flagship supercar of the time, the Lamborghini Countach.
This powerful off-roader produced 332kW of power, 499Nm of torque, it accelerated from 0-100km/h in 7.8 seconds, and had a top speed of over 200km/h.
It could also climb up steep gradients, and it weighed 2.7 tonnes.
Equally at home in city streets as it was in dirt, gravel, and snow, the LM002 was loved by kings, actors, and racers alike – and the very first model was delivered to the king of Morocco.
An LM002 was even specially built to compete in the Paris-Dakar Rally.
History of the LM002
The story of the LM002 started long before the first model was ever unveiled at the Brussels Auto Show in 1986.
In the 1970s, an American company contracted Lamborghini to build an off-road capable vehicle that was fit for military use.
It was called the Cheetah, but the project failed and was consequently buried in the company’s archives.
The year 1981 rolled around and a heroic Lamborghini engineer, Giulio Alfieri, decided to resurrect the project and thus, the LM001 was born.
The LM001 was was an innovative concept that featured a rear-mounted engine and it was followed by the LMA prototype with a front-mounted powertrain.
The final production model of the LM002 was then unveiled in 1986.
Aerodynamics and lightweight principles were thrown out the window as Lamborghini set out to build a real off-road giant that was able to “intimidate the enemy”.
They looked to Pirelli for specially-developed tyres that gave this new type of vehicle top grip performance on both soft and uneven terrains, and Pirelli provided.
The body of the LM002 was made out of highly-rigid aluminum and fiberglass, while it was fitted with a four-wheel drive transmission, a transfer case, and three self-locking differentials – which is what gave it its outstanding off-road capabilities.
A company near Bilbao, Spain was contracted to build the new body, which was then shipped to Sant’Agata Bolognese in order for Lamborghini to complete the assembly process with the powertrain, mechanical parts, finishing, testing, and finally the delivery to the customer.
The interior design followed the same “intimidation” principles as the exterior, and it saw the addition of plenty of wood, 90-degree angles, and flat surfaces. “Leather upholstery and air conditioning were among the options available,” added Lamborghini.
Sadly, only 300 units were ever put together and getting your hands on one today will cost around $269,500 (R4,108,608).
A black model (chassis #12231), which was completely restored by Lamborghini Polo Storico, is on display at the Lamborghini museum in Italy.