Lamborghini Looks Back at 50 Years of Innovation, Pats Itself on the Back

The Italian marque never strived for subtlety.

100 Years of Innovation in Half the Time” – as a subtitle, it’s a typically bit of ballsy bravado from Lamborghini, but no one can argue with the sentiment. The new book behind those words – 200 full-color images covering every phase of its development and a lot of purple prose edited by Luca Molinari and Raffaello Porro – celebrates 50 years of engineering brilliance and is a must-have for any sports car guy looking to supe up his coffee table. It’s a big book of brags, but Lamborghini backs it all up.

The son of a grape farmer, Ferruccio Lamborghini began building tractors in 1948; in 15 years time he was a wealthy industrialist with a taste for fast cars who had several Ferraris, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos in his garage. An engineer and mechanic by trade, he decided he could do it better, and, in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini was born in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Fascinated by the world of bullfighting, Lamborghini chose a raging bull as the new company’s mascot, a suitably unsubtle gesture. 

Bold, brash, beautiful and, most important, hellishly fast, the Lamborghini 350GT made its debut in 1964. In 1966 the Miura grabbed the world’s attention and instantly became an automotive icon; today pristine examples can fetch upwards of $1.5 million at auction. The world’s coolest cats soon adopted it as their ride of choice. Miles Davis kept a .357 Magnum under the seat of his ice blue Miura, while Frank Sinatra ordered his in orange with custom wild boar skin upholstery. By 1974, Ferruccio, winded by the financial and oil crisis, decided to retire as a gentleman farmer, and the new Countach, which remained in production for 16 years, helped the company weather troubled times.

Lamborghini’s modern history hasn’t always been a smooth ride, but 1990’s Diablo stayed in production for 11 years, ushering in the first of the new era Lambos, the Murciélago, in 2001. With the Gallardo, Aventador, and now the new Huracán, the company has gone from strength to strength, reporting record sales around the world. The modern Miles and Sinatra? Kanye, with his matte black Aventador, and Rick Ross and his murdered out Murciélago. Sidearms sold separately. 

Available on Amazon.