Lamborghini produces outstanding and futuristic supercars, but the SUV niche was a little forgotten by the Italian automaker. The first military car (a SUV) manufactured by Lamborghini was called “Cheetah” and was released in 1977. This vehicle was designed with the hope of selling it to the US military. The first prototype was equipped with a rear mounted Chrysler V8 engine, but was destroyed by the US military during the testing period.
That’s why Lamborghini was forced to develop the LM001, a similar version of the Cheetah which was equipped with an AMC V8 engine. The next attempt Lamborghini made in order to manufacture a functional SUV resulted in the LM002. The Lamborghini LM002 was manufactured by Lamborghini between 1986 and 1993 and is a mixture of a four-door pickup, a luxury car, an off-road “monster” and a Countach version having a wood-leather cockpit. The first Lamborghini LM002 was available on the US market at a “spicy” price of $120,000 (same price tag as the Countach). Nowadays, a LM002 is still expensive (at the 2010 RM Auctions a model from 1989 was sold for $77,000), but remains the “king” of the tanklike status.
When you get inside the Lamborghini LM002 you might think that you are in a Countach, because the only difference is the big windshield. The material that covers the SUV’s interior is aromatic leather giving you the sensation that you are in a very expensive handbag. The cabin is not so spacious for a SUV. You really feel squeezed into the driver seat and the three spoke Nardi steering wheel actually touches your knees. The instrumental panel is placed closely to the steering wheel and the engraved knob reveals a five speed pattern along with a dogleg similar to the one used for the Countach. Other luxury features that equip the Lamborghini LM002 include the tinted power windows, the air conditioning and the premium stereo package mounted in the roof console.
Under the hood everything is designed to impress you. The Lamborghini LM002 hides a L804 7.2 liters V12 engine perfect for those interested in more power at the time and is able to achieve 7000 rpm producing around 455 horsepower. That impresses even now pedestrians sitting near the Lamborghini LM002 and makes them flinch when the engine starts. The LM002 features a large air cleaner placed on top of the six Weber carburetors and an oversized radiator. The car is also equipped with a giant fuel tank of 76.6 gallons of gasoline. Even if the Lamborghini LM002 is heavy, it goes from zero to 60 mph in only 7.7 seconds and achieves a high speed of 118 mph. It’s really impressive for this giant car and these numbers are incredible in comparison to the nowadays truck standards.
In addition to this, the Lamborghini LM002 is equipped with a ZF S5-24/3 five speeds manual gearbox having a two-speed transfer case. The chassis is tubular and the suspension is independent having coil springs provided with telescopic shock absorbers. This LM002 uses Pirelli Scorpion tires that were specially ordered by Lamborghini for this model and have a run-flat tread design. Because of these tires, the Lamborghini LM002 could be driven in the desert heat, making this model a great candidate for becoming a purchase item for the rich Saudi sheiks.
Its enormous fuel consumption, incredible excess and strange compromises are forgotten because of its impressive performance and rarity. The Lamborghini LM002 is an amazing “monster” SUV that’s remarkable because of its power and luxury. It’s definitely a must-have masterpiece if you are a Lamborghini or sports car collector.