Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. is an Italian automaker that produces high-end, mid-engined supercars that are often noted for their wild styling and challenging handling dynamics, though the latter characteristic has been tamed to a large extent in recent years.
In a manner of speaking, Lamborghini exists because of poor customer service. The automaker was founded in 1963 after wealthy industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini purchased a Ferrari 250GT...
coupe and found himself dissatisfied with what he perceived as the car's lack of refinement and frequent maintenance requirements. After his complaints were ignored by then-Ferrari chief Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini set out on his own to create the ideal grand touring car, and so Lamborghini was born.
After an initial pair of well-received front-engined, four-passenger models, Lamborghini debuted the radical Miura in 1967, which featured a powerful mid-mounted V12, rapid acceleration and extreme styling. Designed by Lamborhini's engineering team in their spare time and against the wishes of Ferroccio Lamborghini, who preferred powerful yet refined touring vehicles, the Miura ironically became a template that all the brand's subsequent range-topping cars, like the iconic Countach and Diablo models, would follow.
Lamborghini fell into financial turmoil following the oil crisis of 1973 and the introduction of several unsuccessful models, finally entering bankruptcy in 1978. After passing through the hands of Chrysler as well as several non-automotive entities, the company was eventually purchased by German luxury automaker Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, in 1998. The pairing has been a success, with Audi bringing a degree of reliability to the previously fickle offerings of the Italian automaker, and the two companies sharing a number of mechanical components and technologies.
Currently, Lamborghini builds a range of models based on the V10-powered Gallardo and the recently introduced Aventador, which packs a 12-cylinder engine. Following a tradition established by the Miura, the names of both cars are derived from the sport of bullfighting, for which Ferruccio Lamborghini had a strong passion. The Gallardo is named for one of the five ancestral castes of the Spanish fighting bull breed, while the Aventador draws its moniker from a legendary trophy-winning bull.