Lamborghini makes some of the wildest automobiles on the planet - here are a few of our favorites.
In Italy, two automakers have been duking it out for decades. Ferrari and Lamborghini have both been producing supercars for a long time now, and both have become immensely successful. But while Ferrari adheres to tradition and has a snobbish reputation, Lamborghini embraces extremism and is known for producing some of the wildest-looking machines on four wheels ever created. This has been true throughout its history, and as we enter a new electrified chapter in Sant'Agata's story, we decided to take a look back at some of the best examples of this insanity.
Lamborghini's Centro Stile has never been shy with the pencil, but when it comes to one-offs, concepts, and low-volume special editions, those Italian artistes create stunners that are as spectacular as they are subjective.
What is the best Lamborghini in the world? We can't choose, so here are six of our favorites in each of those three categories.
What better way to show your similarly wealthy friends that you're better than them than by commissioning a car they can't get their hands on? The easy (and relatively cheap) way to claim to own something unique is to specify an exterior color combination or livery to your exacting tastes, complementing that design with something equally outstanding in the cabin.
Art cars could also be considered one-of-one creations. But technically, such one-offs are just series production cars with unusual colors. The best Lambos are cars that money alone cannot buy, cars that you'd only know about if a senior executive at Lamborghini is on a first-name basis with you, and cars that require special attention to construct.
We're also talking specifically about cars that customers have bought, not concepts or prototypes that have never left Lamborghini's ownership.
The first nameplate on our list is a two-for-one special. In 1970, Bob Wallace was Lamborghini's development driver and decided to build a test mule specifically to conform to the FIA's Appendix J racing regulations. He started with a regular P400 Miura and replaced steel chassis components and body panels with alternatives made of a lightweight aluminum alloy called Avional. The side window glass was also pulled and replaced with plastic, with total weight savings reaching around 800 pounds.
Other improvements included a front spoiler, new, fixed and faired-in headlights, new suspension, lighter wheels, and side sill-mounted fuel tanks for improved weight distribution. The 3.9-liter V12 engine's properties were also altered with new cams, electronic ignition, a dry sump system, and a freer flowing exhaust. This boosted power to as much as 440 horsepower, an increase of 95 ponies over the base P400.
Sadly, April 1971 saw the car suffer a crash on a yet-unopened ring road around the city of Brescia. Those side-mounted fuel tanks didn't help, and the car burned to the ground. Technically, that means the Miura P400 Jota was a one-of-none. But that changed five years later.
The Jota was replicated in less extreme fashion in the form of the Miura SVJ, but it still got aluminum bodywork, a new engine, and better aero. Most would be satisfied with that, but the original owner of the Jota reportedly commissioned another car to match the first, with this getting the nickname "Millechiodi." That means "a thousand nails," referring to the numerous rivets on the body of the Jota.
But that's not the second coming we refer to. According to Road & Track, a German customer called Heinz Steber was on his way to a Lambo factory to service a light green Miura S in the winter of 1974 when he suffered light front-end damage in a crash. Steber took this opportunity to request something resembling the Jota, but Miura production had ended the preceding year, so Lamborghini said it was impossible. But like a true enthusiast, Steber ignored Lamborghini, sourced the parts needed himself, and returned to the Lamborghini factory in February 1975 with brakes from a Porsche 917, three-piece BBS wheels, Koni suspension, and numerous other performance upgrades. Eight months on, Lamborghini created something even more special than the original: the Miura Jota SVR.
Because Steber could not register it for road use in Germany, it was sold the year after it was done, in 1976, and then again in 2015 before Lamborghini completed a full restoration over 19 months. Happily, its most recent owner said he intended to use it regularly.
Settle down, kids. We have some modern metal here too. In fact, most of Lamborghini's most outrageous creations have come in the last decade or so. At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini unveiled a supercar that went from sketch to production in just six weeks, despite being hand-built. With the roof removed from a regular Aventador and two tiny screens placed ahead of each occupant, the Aventador J immediately reminded millennial motoring fans of Lamborghini's precursor to the Gallardo Spyder, but more on that concept later.
The Aventador J also necessitated the use of a helmet for the singular buyer and their companion, especially since the 6.5-liter V12 behind occupants' heads produced a meaty 690 horsepower. While some may view this as simply a regular Aventador with the roof lopped off, this one-off introduced new processes for carbon fiber construction and, thanks to the overwhelming reception it received on debut, the Aventador J arguably motivated Lamborghini to push the boundaries of design and construction more than ever before.
If the rich are willing to pay extra for the cars Lamborghini really wants to build when freed from the confines of normal design principles, Sant'Agata will always be happy to accommodate them, as these creations help democratize technologies for future, more accessible Lambos, act as marketing tools, and rake in huge sums of cash.
Here we have another delicious one-off based on the Aventador, but this one was touted as "the first one-off in the history of the Sant'Agata Bolognese motorsport division."
The Lamborghini SC18 Alston revealed in 2018 is street-legal, but Lamborghini designed it primarily for use on track, with air intakes modeled on those of the Huracan GT3 EVO racecar and other aerodynamic changes inspired by the design of the Huracan Super Trofeo EVO. The same 6.5-liter 12-cylinder from the Aventador is used again here, this time producing a spicy 759 hp.
While the front end could be mistaken for that of a regular Aventador from a distance, the rear stands out with Ypsilon-shaped LED light bars. That same motif continues to the present day, with spy shots and leaks of the Aventador successor reiterating that Lamborghini really can use one set of ingredients to make uniquely fantastic dishes time and time again. Like the above car, the SC18 Alston's body is constructed from carbon fiber.
As for the name, SC refers to Squadra Corse, the automaker's motorsports division, while the 18 indicates the year of production. The second half of the nomenclature is the result of the commissioner choosing to name his one-off after his son.
Since we've just explained how Lamborghini named its motorsport department's first one-of-one build, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that its second such creation was made in the year 2020.
The Lamborghini SC20 speedster was also created for a single customer, whose goal was to "create a unique vehicle with an extreme design and performance, able to combine aerodynamic solutions derived from racing Lamborghinis with original lines and exclusive details."
We're not sure how exclusive the owner wanted those details to be, but the taillight design clearly inspired that seen on the Sian twins and, eventually, the modern-day Countach LPI 800-4.
The original Lamborghini Countach was the one you had a poster of on your wall if you grew up in the Eighties.
At the 1971 edition of the Geneva Motor Show, once the crowning jewel of the automotive event calendar, Lamborghini presented the Countach LP 500, and it was spectacular as a concept. The production version was also amazing and was manufactured from 1974-1990, but one Lambo fan wanted to own something exactly like the original.
50 years after the original's debut in Switzerland, that dream was realized in 2021. The reconstructed LP 500 took thousands of hours to complete (an astonishing 25,000 of them), but it was certainly worth the wait. Even today, it looks fast, sexy, and unlike anything else on the road, and we wish we had a few million lying around so we could commission a time capsule like this. But until those Powerball numbers align, the best we can do is break out the shoulder pads.
As a send-off to the unelectrified V12, Lamborghini revealed two one-offs at the same time in February 2023. Once again, the special editions are based on the ubiquitous Aventador, meaning each is fitted with that car's carbon fiber monocoque chassis. But atop that, each car is in its own class. Various concepts from the last decade inspired the one-offs, and that is clearly evident in the Invencible Coupe, which has a rear wing influenced by the design of the wing on the Sesto Elemento. The Autentica Roadster is a little different, with fins rather than wings. But even with unique paint jobs, both cars look like coupe and drop-top variations of the same design, so we're bundling these one-offs under one banner.
While these cars are certainly cooler and more extravagant than the car upon which they are based, we wish Lamborghini had given them more power than the 769-hp Aventador Ultimae, just to make them that little bit more special.
While the one-off Lamborghini models we listed above are awesome, the Italian manufacturer has produced a number of other special editions in varying quantities. We're going to gloss over the cars that were produced in low numbers because of poor demand. For example, the LM002 (the precursor to the modern-day Urus and the original 'Rambo Lambo') saw only 328 examples produced. Just 125 Islero coupes were made, with fewer still arriving in S trim. We could also consider cars like Lambo's first, the 350 GT, but that was produced in limited numbers because the company was just getting started. Then there's the first Lamborghini with a targa top roof, the Silhouette P300 (pictured below), of which just 55 are said to have been made. All of these are very cool for various reasons, but we're going to consider more modern stuff that broke the internet.
The 807-hp Lamborghini Sian FKP 37 was launched in 2019. Its name comes from the Bolognese dialect of Italian and means "flash of lightning." That name is apt since the Sian launched as "the first super sports car powered by a V12 engine and hybrid technology based on supercapacitors." The FKP 37 portion of the coupe's name refers to the initials and birth year of the late Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Karl Piech. Just 63 Sian coupes were made (with a further 19 roadsters announced in 2020), but the supercapacitor technology will not be exclusive to those few buyers. Later this year, it makes a comeback in a new application with the Aventador successor, currently codenamed LB744.
Introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Lamborghini Reventon is arguably one of the most influential special editions that Sant'Agata's artistes have ever penned. Its design influence can still be felt in today's Aventador and Huracan, as well as tomorrow's successors to those cars. It's also one of the rarest Lamborghini models of the 21st century, with just 20 examples of the coupe produced for the public and one extra unit made for the MUDETEC, Lamborghini's museum. This extra unit was labeled #00/20. In 2009, the Reventon Roadster was revealed, and this would be even more scarce, with just 15 units produced. Like the concepts Lamborghini produces now, the Reventon was based on its predecessor and borrowed the Murcielago LP 670-4 Super Veloce run-out model's engine. Interestingly, the Reventon Coupe produced 641 hp, but the Roadster was boosted to 661 ponies and had a lower top speed due to the extra weight.
In 2016, on the occasion of what would have been founder Ferruccio Lamborghini's 100th birthday, the Italian automaker gave the world the Centenario, with just 20 examples of the coupe promised. The V12 engine produced 759 hp, and the carbon chassis and body helped keep weight down to a claimed 3,351 lbs for the coupe and 3,461 lbs for the drop-top, which was unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (the coupe was revealed earlier at the Geneva Motor Show). Notable highlights here include that the Centenario was the first Lamborghini with three exhaust tips and the first with rear-wheel steering. Comically, all 11 US allocations of the 40-car production run were recalled in 2018 for an incorrect weight rating label, of all things.
The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 revealed in 2020 is a relatively high-volume product with a production run of 40, but that's because it was developed by Lamborghini Squadra Corse exclusively for track use, with buyers joining an exclusive club that visits famous racetracks worldwide. Proving that point is the X-trac six-speed sequential transmission, pushrod rear suspension, and ridiculous rear wing. The steering wheel, three-piece bodywork structure, and FIA homologated OMP seat reinforce the notion that comfort was not a priority here. The lack of traditional headlights is also a clue to the car's extremism, and with 818 hp going exclusively to the rear wheels, you can be sure this won't be a dull weekend toy.
With the sonorous 5.2-liter V10 engine from the Gallardo Superleggera, the 562-hp Lamborghini Sesto Elemento was quick (0-62 mph in 2.5 seconds with a top speed north of 221 mph), but the power plant was only a small contributor to its performance. Its name translates to "Sixth Element," which on the periodic table refers to carbon, because the Sesto Elemento was the first car to make use of forged carbon fiber. And this was revealed in 2010. With pads on the carbon tub acting as seat cushions and the rear and side windows replaced with plastic, the weight-saving obsession was just that. As a result, it weighed just 999 kilograms (2,202 lbs). The carbon body was even infused with reflective micro-crystals to avoid adding weight through traditional paint, and the monocoque, frame, main suspension components, wheels, and driveshaft were all made from carbon fiber.
Just 20 were planned for production at a price of €1.8 million (roughly $2 million at the time).
It seems that Lamborghini may not have been able to attract enough customers for the track-only car at the time, although used models now sell for double their original asking price. It is widely believed that Lamborghini only produced 10 units, and Wikipedia says that vehicle identification number records confirm that rumor.
Lamborghini has never publicly conceded that it made any fewer than 20 units. Either way, it's one of the rarest and coolest cars ever, despite a replica featuring in the god-awful live-action Need for Speed film.
Flipping the script used by the Reventon twins, the Lamborghini Veneno was produced in higher volumes as a drop-top than as a coupe. The coupe was revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show with a price of $4 million. For that money, you got the brand's proliferative V12 (with bigger air intakes and a modified exhaust system making for 740 hp) and bragging rights as one of only three owners of the coupe (four if you count Lamborghini itself, which built a fourth for the MUDETEC). Envisioned as a racing prototype for the road, it has a smooth underbody, a three-way adjustable carbon wing, and centerlock wheels, among other things. The roadster variant was revealed in 2014 with almost identical specifications, besides an increase of 110.2 lbs in weight and a longer production run that saw nine open-top examples made.
Lamborghini concepts are even more outrageous than their production-bound brethren. Again, there are numerous cars we could talk about for this (final) section, but we've chosen a few based purely on personal preference. Some may be pretty, some may be alien, and some may simply be odd. The oldest car on this list is from 1968, while the newest is as recent as 2017. One of these concepts made it to production - albeit with a heavily revised design - but the rest were only ever made as show cars or design exercises. Starting from the oldest (and arguably most beautiful), here are six of the best Lambo concepts from the brand's history, showcasing a plethora of unique ideas and styles. And as a bonus, here are some pictures of the modern 2006 Miura Concept that was sadly never produced because CEO Stefan Winkelmann said, "Lamborghini is about the future. Retro design is not what we are here for." The modern Countach begs to differ, but Winkelmann has since doubled down on his earlier proclamations.
Without a doubt, the Miura Roadster Concept is one of the best-looking Lamborghinis ever. The regular Miura was already the runway model of the road, but surgically removing the roof created a targa effect that looked utterly sensational. The Miura Roadster Concept was built by Bertone on the bones of a P400 and was first revealed at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show. It was displayed at various exhibitions thereafter and eventually sold to various collectors. It was heavily modified at one point, but it was returned to its original Bertone form and finished in Lame Sky Blue Acrilico and Grigio Liqueo paint with some glitter mixed in.
Styled by Italdesign, the Lamborghini Cala was a concept car revealed at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show and was a fully functional prototype that never reached production, although it was intended to replace the Jalpa. In 1988, the Jalpa was discontinued under the ownership of Chrysler. When Megatech bought Lamborghini in 1994, the Cala began to take shape, but under Volkswagen Group's ownership from 1998, the project was put on ice. The Cala was powered by a 395-hp, 4.0-liter V10 engine, which effectively paved the way for the unit in the Gallardo, so it wasn't a total waste. It also appeared in the 1997 video game Need for Speed II.
In 2005, one of the wildest Lamborghinis the world had ever seen was presented at the Geneva Motor Show. The Concept S was effectively a Gallardo with the windscreen removed, the cabin divided, and the rear end restyled. With a retractable rearview mirror and only as much protection from the elements as your outfit allows, it looks like something designed for shock value alone. However, it took very little modification to turn this into a working vehicle, and Lamborghini reportedly intended to make 100 examples for its most well-heeled customers. Whether it was a lack of demand or economic conditions, the project never made production beyond two examples. One was a prototype with proper side windows and no engine (which currently resides in Lamborghini's museum), and the other (with the concept's minuscule windows) is in private hands.
This one is a personal favorite, and the housing market crisis of 2008 will forever be a sour point in history for this writer. That recession killed any chance we had of getting a sedan-like Lamborghini, but on the plus side, at least the Lamborghini Estoque Concept shown at the 2008 Paris Motor Show was never toned down, and we can remember it fondly. The Estoque gets its name from the Estoc sword traditionally used by matadors, tying in nicely with Lamborghini's fighting bull image. Had it made production, it would have been sold for around $230,000. Any engine could have been fitted, apparently. The concept used the Gallardo's 5.2-liter V10, but speculation at the time was rife that a V12 or V8 would be fitted in the final version. There were even rumors of a hybrid system or a turbodiesel engine (the ill-fated Audi R8 V12 TDI, which was later renamed R8 TDI Le Mans, was presented as a concept in the same year).
At the time, Lamborghini was worried that the Estoque wouldn't sell. These days, a simple sketch of a new vehicle would be enough to fill the order books in a matter of days.
The only Lamborghini one-seater on this list is the Lambo Egoista Concept, unveiled at a private gala dinner in 2017 for the Raging Bull's 50th anniversary. It's not the best-looking Lamborghini, in this writer's opinion, but it does have a stonking 5.2-liter V10 generating 600 hp. Instead of traditional doors, the Lamborghini top comes away and can be completely removed (as the steering wheel must when you're getting in or out). With styling influence from fighter jets, a glasshouse tinted orange, and active aero panels that raise and lower, this car was unlike anything else. How many Lamborghini Egoista models are there in the world? Just the one. The price of the Lamborghini Egoista is inconceivable, but with the body and wheels made with antiradar material, it would not be cheap to produce.
The Lamborghini Egoista's top speed was never quoted, and neither were acceleration figures, but it will do north of 200 mph and get to 60 in around three seconds or less, if speculation can be believed.
The name Egoista literally translates as 'selfish,' which ties in well with the single-seater concept. It also works as a way of describing Lamborghini's manner of sharing the car with the world, since the only example ever made lives at the MUDETEC.
Unveiled in 2017 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio (Italian for Third Millennium) was described by Lamborghini's chief technical officer of the time, Maurizio Reggiani, as more of a "thinking box" than a feasible production car. Like the Sian that followed much later, this used high-capacity supercapacitors, but unlike that car, the Terzo Millennio Concept was all-electric. Each wheel glows orange and houses an electric motor, while ingress and egress are made possible by a sliding canopy. This one is not removable, but practicality is not what this was about. This was about showing how the future would look when the oil ran out, but it now seems it's more relevant to this millennium than the next.
When this was revealed, it was to show what a Lambo might look like in a thousand years. But its design will inform that of the Aventador successor, and the concept of an all-electric Lambo is no longer centuries from fruition.
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