Unearthed: 1990 Lamborghini LM002 'Rambo-Lambo'

Unearthed

The original Lamborghini SUV.

This week saw the official unveiling of the Lamborghini Urus concept at the 2012 Beijing Motor Show. More than likely, this is a very strong indicator as to what we can expect from the future production version. While we don't know when exactly it will go on sale, we do know that Lamborghini wants to expand their brand beyond their typical and always fantastic supercars. And as most of us already know, this isn't the first time Lamborghini has done so.

Back in the late 1970s, Lamborghini began developing a military vehicle they had hoped to sell to the U.S. military. Called the "Cheetah", it was powered by a Chrysler V8 mounted in the rear. During testing, the only prototype was destroyed by the military and eventually the contract for the new vehicle went to AM General with their Humvee. There were also handling issues with the "Cheetah" that doomed it to failure. Thing was, Lamborghini was still interested in building a true off-road vehicle. Development continued and soon the LM001 was introduced at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show.

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Now powered by an AMC V8, it still had handling issues due to the engine being rear mounted. Lamborghini soon gave up on this layout and switched to an all-new chassis with the engine now up front. And the best part? Lamborghini opted to ditch the V8s in favor of the Countach's 5.2-liter V12. After two failed prototypes, Lamborghini finally got the formula right and the LM002 had its official premiere at the 1986 Brussels Auto Show. It was unlike any other road-going SUV at the time. Along with the V12 engine, the LM002, also known as the "Rambo-Lambo", had one of a kind exterior styling in addition to a luxurious interior.

Mated to a five-speed manual, owners were treated to leather trim throughout, air conditioning, a premium stereo, and tinted power windows. But Lamborghini wanted their SUV to be able to truly handle the world's most difficult terrain. They decided to equip it with exclusive Pirelli run-flat tires that were available with two different tread designs, one for on- and off- road use and one just for desert sands. If the Countach's V12 wasn't powerful enough, customers could also opt for a 7.2-liter V12 found in powerboats. As expected, many buyers were from Saudi Arabia and other neighboring oil rich countries.

Even Uday Hussein, the psychopath son of psychopath father Saddam Hussein, owned one (it was later blown up by U.S. forces in 2004). Lamborghini also prepared a stripped-down LM002 for the 1986 Paris Dakar Rally, but had to withdraw due to financial reasons. Production finally ended in 1993 with a total of just 328 units built. The owner of this 1990 LM002 is extremely lucky for a couple reasons. One, he owns and drives an LM002 and two, it's the only one in Canada. As you can see from these photos, it's still in remarkable condition and looks fantastic even to this day.

Now that Lamborghini has revealed their new 21st century Urus SUV concept, we can still look back at the LM002 as being both brilliant and just borderline bonkers. All we know is that the Urus likely won't inherit the "Rambo-Lambo" moniker. Photos courtesy of wisesuperman.

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