Unless you live in Beverly Hills or Abu Dhabi, a Lamborghini is a rare sight. But these five are even rarer, because they've never been put into production.
Companies like Lamborghini aren’t in the business of making concept cars. They make production supercars that you can actually buy. Some of them (like the Sesto Elemento and Aventador J) are rarer than others, but sooner or later the cars Lamborghini unveils eventually make production. But not these five. As the Raging Bull marque gears up to unveil a new concept in Geneva next month, here are five of our favorite designs in recent history to wear the Lamborghini badge - but only on the show stand.
One of the most enticing projects was the Miura. But if you’re thinking that Lamborghini made the Miura (or that the Miura, really, made Lamborghini) you’re both right and wrong, because we’re not talking about the original supercar here. We’re referring to the retro concept that Sant’Agata debuted in 2006 – forty years after the original. Based on the Murcielago, the Miura concept was an unusually retro design for a company usually at the cutting edge, but was never intended for production. As Lambo’s CEO Stefan Winkelmann said, "The Miura was a celebration of our history, but Lamborghini is about the future."
This next concept wasn’t designed by Lamborghini at all – it was created by Zagato, an independent design studio. Based on the Diablo VT – Lambo’s first all-wheel-drive model – the Zagato Raptor still enjoyed a measure of support from the factory, with input from Swiss sled racer Alain Wicki. The design incorporated signature elements from both Lamborghini and Zagato, including the latter’s double-bubble roof. Powered by the Diablo’s 492-horsepower 5.7-liter V12, the Zagato Raptor debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1996, and was sold to a private collector at the same venue four years later.
Pre-dating the emergence of the Gallardo was the Lamborghini Cala, a concept penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro's ItalDesign unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Intended as a replacement for the Jalpa, the Cala placed a 4.0-liter V10 right in the middle, driving 400 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed. And when we say "driving", we mean driving: the Cala was fully functional, and three were built. But changing ownership at Lamborghini meant that it never saw production. But while the Gallardo took a different design approach, the Cala could be said to have laid its groundwork.
Having produced mid-engined supercars almost exclusively for the past several decades, Lamborghini stunned the gathered masses at the Paris Motor Show in 2008 when it took the wraps off the Estoque concept. Instead of two doors, the Estoque packed four, and instead of the engine behind the cabin, it placed it up front. In other words, it shared its basic layout with most any other car, but with Lambo flavor. The Estoque concept was ostensibly intended to gauge public reaction to a potential production version, but five years later, none has been built.
If the Estoque was a surprise, the debut of the Urus was even more so. A Lamborghini SUV? Only it wasn’t such a departure after all for the company that started out making tractors and which built the LM002 in the 80s. Debuting at the Beijing Auto Show last April, the Urus concept stood as a more angular and muscular take on the same architecture that underpins the Porsche Cayenne and Bentley’s EXP 9 F concept, among others. While the Estoque is apparently dead in the water, though, the Urus is still in the pipeline as Lamborghini lobbies its parent company Volkswagen to give it the go-ahead for production.