What the LM002 meant to Lamborghini

Rishaad Mody Published: May 13, 2013, 05:39 PM IST


Think Lamborghini and images of a loud, low and frightfully quick supercar instantly pop up. No wonder the world was taken aback when the company showed off its Urus SUV. Yes the vehicle looked typically Lambo outlandish but here was a hulking SUV from the masters of impractical supercars for crying out loud. However quite a few of you may not know that this isn't the first SUV from the raging bull. The company in fact sold a very limited run of an SUV named the LM002 from 1986 to 1992.

The concept of the original Lamborghini SUV rose when the company decided to build a vehicle for sale to armed forces that was similar to America's Humvee. The LM002 (LM standing for Lamborghini
military) followed the LM001 concept when the engineers found that the rear mounted engine did no favours to the vehicle's off-road dynamics. They ditched the old cars V8 engine for an epic V12 lifted straight out of their Countach supercar. The results were something that was never seen before. Remember this was the late eighties, a time when sports car manufacturers stuck to what they did best – building sports cars. The LM002 was rejected by the army but instead of scrapping the project Lamborghini adorned the interior with some luxuries like leather and a proper sound system and put the behemoth on sale. The LM was a unique Lamborghini in that never really had any on road dynamics worth talking about. It did however have the capability to go where very few vehicles of the time (and
today) could. It was designed with the army in mind after all.

The LM002 wasn't very well received by critics and it was easy to see why. People simply couldn't fathom how such a hulking brute of a vehicle could emerge from the company that graced the world with beauties like the Miura and Countach. While we wouldn't call it ugly the LM002 had one essential Lamborghini design trait – it was properly 'in-your-face'. It was full of unique features as well. While they might not sound large by today's standards the 17-inch steel wheels were wrapped with enormous 325 section tyres specially developed by Pirelli that used carbon fibre in side walls for proper off-road
credentials. The interiors seated just four but four more people could be accommodated on small seating provisions in the rear pick up bay.

The engine was a 5167cc 60 degree V12 with 48 valves that was force fed massive quantities of petrol by 6 Weber carburetors. It made a 450PS, a record amount of power for an SUV at the time. So  voracious was the engine's appetite for appetite for fuel that it came with a humungous 290-litre fuel tank. At today's rates you'd end up spending about Rs 20,000 for a full tank of gas! If that wasn't  harebrained enough Lambo also gave customers the opportunity to specify their vehicle with an even bigger V12 engine that traditionally powered offshore powerboats…

The LM002 attracted a very particular clientele with the likes of despots, movie stars and oil barons. Sly Stallone had one which gave it the rather catchy nick name, "Rambo Lambo". Gaddafi reportedly ordered 100 of them for his army while the Saudi's were said to have had their 40 units shipped with built in machine guns. One particularly special example was the one-off estate style LM002 built for the
sultan of Brunei. In all 301 LM002s were sold in its six year life cycle which makes it a particularly rare beast but it isn't a very investment worthy Italian classic. Used cars sell for considerably less than the Rs 75 lakh price for when the car originally went on sale.

The Urus however should sell considerably more than 300 cars. It comes in at a time when SUVs account for a majority of sports car manufacturers' incomes (Porsche's Cayenne for example). If the speculation is true and the Urus does get an Audi sourced twin turbo V8 it will be the first V8 powered Lambo since the Jalpa from 1981. Nevertheless expect it to produce close to 600PS which should give it the go to meet the show. Like it or not the Lamborghini SUV is coming back and this time around it should be quite the success for the brand tha


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