Lamborghini was just another case of sticking it to Enzo Ferrari. The Italian brand was founded in 1963, after Ferruccio Lamborghini’s criticized one of Ferrari’s creation, and received a stingy reply: he’s just a tractor manufacturer, hence his opinion on sports cars is null.
Lamborghini Automobili S.p.A. started with V12 grand tourers — cars that were not only powerful, but also refined, and comfortable, and featured exquisite cabins. Basically, the 350 GT and 400 GT reflected what Mr. Lamborghini didn’t like in Ferraris.
Three years later, the Miura was born. It was the first street car to offer a mid-engine layout — a setup used exclusively in motorsport until that point. After the first two attempts, with front-engined models —350 GT and 400 GT — Miura came as a real breakthrough, a bold move that is now perceived as being the primal definition of a modern supercar.
The next four models — Espada, Islero, Jarama, and Uracco — Lamborghini returned to the conventional FR (front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout) powertrain clad with 2+2 coupé bodies. Uracco even gave up on the V12 power mill, for a V8.
And then, in 1974, the Countach arrived; a car so different that it was named after an exclamation of astonishment. Countach was so wide, it had to have doors opening vertically — scissor doors, informally known as Lamborghini doors.
Between 1975 and 1990, Lamborghini tried to experiment with different body types, like targa (1976 Silhouette; 1981 Jalpa) and SUV (1986 LM002). The 1990 Diablo was a Lambo model true to form, featuring a V12 mid-mounted engine.
Diablo’s sales figures were a strong confirmation that this was the winning setup for Lamborghini, so all the products — to this day even — have been configured as mid-engine and all-wheel-drive.
Although the Lamborghini name thrived through different eras, Ferruccio's involvement stopped in 1974. After the tractor manufacturing business plunged into bankruptcy (due to foreign political affairs), and the sports cars branch received a heavy hit in sales after the 1973 oil crisis, he exited the industrial world, returning to his farming roots.
Lamborghini was bought in 1987 by Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran — Swiss food entrepreneurs with a passion for sports cars. Their business plan included expanding the lineup with an entry-level, and an off-road high-performance vehicle.
Unfortunately, in the 80s the fun-killing SUV/crossover pestilence didn’t exist, so all their effort (read: investment) wasn’t enough to kick up the sales. It was passed to Chrysler in 1987 and ended in Volkswagen Group’s yard (under Audi) in 1998, where it remains to this day.