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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lamborghini - The Dream Car

It might be odd to think of farm equipment when one hears the word Lamborghini, but this is exactly what Lamborghini started out as - A farm equipment company called Lamborghini Trattori. The founder of the company was Ferruccio Lamborghini who in the 1960's bought a Ferrari with the profits from his successful farm equipment company. Life changed for Lamborghini when he met Enzo Ferrari, the founder of Ferrari.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was a man that demanded high quality and he felt that his Ferrari was not meeting his expectations and he thought he could do better. He shifted his focus away from farm equipment and onto producing high performance automobiles.

The first real contender that they produced in the exotic car market was the Miura. The Miura was a mid engine, V-12 sports car that commanded a heft price tag of $20,000 which is equal to over $100,000 in todays economy. During its 6 year production run, 764 Lamborghini Miura's were built. Following on the success of the Miura was the highly successful Lamborghini Countach. This was the dream car for many from the mid 70's to 1990 when production concluded. This car was beautiful and had aggressive styling that had never been seen before.

No one thought the Countach could be topped, but Lamborghini did it one more time and created the highly successful Lamborghini Diablo. From 1990-2001 almost 3000 Diablo's were made and during their first year of production, a Diablo could be bought for $240,000 U.S. This was certainly not a luxury car and did not have many features for a car of it's price. It did however have incredible performance. The V12 engine allowed it to go from -60mph in just over 4 seconds!

Following the success of the Diablo would be hard, but the Lamborghini Murcielago went even further at showing the world that Lamborghini was a serious contender in the exotic sports car world. It continued the tradition of aggressive styling and super high performance and added four-wheel-drive when it was released in 2001. To this day the Murcielago is produced with over 3000 of them already sold to their wealthy customers.

In 2003 Lamborghini introduced the Lamborghini Gallardo, which is a "cheap" Lamborghini, as compared with it's more expensive sibling, the Murcielago. While the Murcielago costs about $315,000 U.S., the Gallardo is available at just over $200,000. Don't think that you have to give up performance when buying a Gallardo and not a Murcielago though. The Lamborghini Gallardo is quite capable with a 0-60mph time of around 4 seconds, depending on which particular variation. Unfortunately the Gallardo doesn't come with Lamborghini's signature scissor doors that open upward, but this hasn't hurt sales since the Gallardo is the high volume car that Lamborghini has ever made.

Over the years Lamborghini has suffered some financial problems and has been bought and sold a number of times and is currently owned by Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen. Lamborghini makes some of the most beautiful and sought after exotic cars available today and should be on everyone's list of favorite exotic car makers.

Lamborghini Gallardo Performance

Lamborghini Gallardo Performance

The History of Ferrari

When Enzo Ferrari created his company Scuderia Ferrari in Italy in 1929 his intentions was to sponsor amateur race car drivers and invent racing cars, and it would take more than 15 years before Ferrari began to create their own road cars in 1946. Ferrari is still devoted to the creation of racing cars and high performance sports cars and do not create other types of cars. Scuderia Ferrari is still the widespread name for Gestione Sportiva, the part of the Ferrari company that works with racing. Scuderia is an Italian word and means "stable", but Scuderia Ferrari is sometime also translated as Team Ferrari.

During the early years, Scuderia Ferrari sponsored race car drivers that were driving Alfa Romeo cars. Scuderia Ferrari would prepare Alfa Romeo cars before the race, and in 1938 Enzo Ferrari became officially employed by Alfa Romeo's racing department. Two years later Enzo Ferrari found out that Alfa Romeo was planning to absorb Scuderia Ferrari, a plan which Enzo Ferrari strongly opposed. He instantly left his job at Alfa Romeo, but his contract restricted him from being involved with racing for several years. He changed Scuderia Ferrari into "Auto Avio Costruzioni Ferrari" and officially manufactured aircraft accessories for a few years. Enzo Ferrari did however create a race car during this restricted period. The Tipo 815 debuted at the Mille Miglia race in 1940, but the race was hampered due to World War II and Tipo 815 encountered no real competition. In 1943 Enzo Ferrari moved his factory to Maranello in Italy and one year later the factory was bombed. After the end of World War II, Enzo Ferrari rebuilt his factory and now the Ferrari factory was capable of construction road cars as well.

Ferrari constructed its first road car in 1947. The 1947 125 S Ferrari had a 1.5 L V12 engine and the whole car was considered very beautiful and well designed. Enzo Ferrari was still more interested in race cars and the Ferrari road cars was merely a way for him to fund his work with the Scuderia Ferrari. His distaste for the road car customers became famous and he even accused them of buying Ferrari cars only as status symbols. It is true that the Ferrari road cars grow to fame not only due to excellent performance but also thanks to their stylish elegance. Pininfarina, Bertone, Ghia, Scagliette, Touring and Vignale are all examples of design houses that have worked with Ferrari.

In November 1961 a dispute between Enzo Ferrari and his sales manager, Girolamo Gardini, turned into a crisis. Girolamo Gardini threatened to leave the company. Enzo Ferrari responded to the threat by throwing out Girolamo Gardini, and several employees who agreed with Girolamo Gardini were also ousted. Among them were Romolo Tavoni, manager for Scuderia Ferrari, Giotto Bizzarrini, the chief of the experimental sports car development, and Carlo Chiti, the chief engineer. This was naturally a huge loss for the Ferrari company and the crisis deepened when those who had been thrown out formed their own company - Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS). ATS even managed to take over Scuderia Serenissima, a very successful racing team, from Ferrari.

A younger engineer, Mauro Forghieri, and an experienced racing bodyman, Sergio Scaglietti, assumed responsibility and tried to finish the projects that the leaving employees had left behind. One of the most important tasks was to finish the development of 250 GTO; a new 250-based model that could compete with the Jaguar E-type. The 250 GTO was finished in time to participate in the Sebring race and place itself first in class, driven by Phil Hill. Throughout 1962, the 250 GTO continued to win the races and it is still one of the most well known race cars in history. The crisis turned out to be something good for Ferrari and the 1960s became a very good decade for the company.

Until the 1980s when Ferrari began to use fuel injection in the road cars, the Ferraris were known as rather temperamental cars. They could be very unreliable, but would still attract a large group of dedicated fans that viewed this unpredictability as "character" rather than a problem. Today, FIAT controls 56 percent of the Ferrari stocks. The rest of stocks owned by Enzo's con Piero Ferrari and by Commerzbank, Mediobanca and the Lehman Brothers. Maranello is still the home town for Ferrari.