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  Lamborghini LM002      

  Article Image gallery (34) Chassis (2) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1986 - 1992
Numbers built:301
Introduced at:1986 Brussels Motor Show
Price new:$134,500
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:January 15, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionEying a lucrative government contract for the American military, Lamborghini joined forces with a specialist company to create a brand new off-road vehicle during the second half the 1970s. Launched in 1977 and known as the Cheetah, it featured a sophisticated spaceframe chassis with a mid-mounted V8 engine. Although the contract was lost to what would become the Humvee, a second Lamborghini off-roader debuted at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed the LM001, it featured a more substantial body but still retained the mid-mounted AMC V8.

The project had caught the attention of some of Lamborghini's wealthiest customers for whom it would be an ideal toy to explore the desert. Fresh funding from the Swiss Mimram family was the final bit of incentive to create a production-viable machine. Former Maserati chief engineer Giulio Alfieri was brought in to sort some of the issues that plagued the Cheetah and the subsequent LM001. These primarily included the underpowered V8 engine and particularly its mid-mounted location. The rearwards weight bias of the car had a negative effect on the off-roaders' handling and accordingly Alfieri decided to move the drivetrain to the nose.

One of Alfieri's masterpieces while at Maserati was the 'Birdcage' sports racer, which had earned its nickname because of its elaborate spaceframe chassis. This was both light and very strong, which were the exact same requirements needed for the new Lamborghini off-roader. Independent suspension was used on all four corners as were large ventilated disc brakes. As serviceability on the battleground was no longer an issue, the American V8 was replaced by the latest Lamborghini V12 as used in the Countach supercar. Displacing just under 5.2 litres and equipped with six Weber carburettors, this high-revving engine was good for 444 bhp.

The 48-valve V12 was mated to a ZF gearbox, which in turn drove the car's all-wheel drive system. This included a high an low gear to ensure the off-road Lamborghini could be used virtually anywhere. The rolling chassis was clothed in a very angular body, which included a big bulge on the engine cover. It was constructed from aluminium and fibreglass as it no longer needed to be bulletproof. The luxuriously appointed cabin included many components and design cues from the Countach. The big Lamborghini could seat four people in great comfort inside, while a further four people could ride in the massive machine's open luggage compartment.

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  Article Image gallery (34) Chassis (2) Specifications