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The LM002 was Lamborghini's first crack at a luxury SUV

Published Fri, Feb 14, 2020 12:00 PM

If you asked a child in the ‘80s to draw their ultimate 4x4, complete with machine guns (well, emplacements anyway), monstrous tyres, and a supercar engine, the Lamborghini LM002 is pretty much exactly what they’d envision. 

But what’s the story behind the ultimate behemoth that was so beloved by Colonel Gadafi, the Husseins, and Sylvester Stallone?  


Creators of some of the wackiest, fastest, and most desirable cars ever to grace the road, Lamborghini are firmly entrenched as one of the world’s major supercar manufacturers. But it hasn’t always been this way. Because they actually started out at the opposite end of the speed scale, making tractors. 
Ferrucio Lamborghini founded Lamborghini Trattori in 1948, churning out some of the most incredible agricultural machinery ever to grace planet earth. He was Italian, what else would you expect? 

His business was immensely successful, and Ferrucio wanted to splash his cash on a couple of Ferraris-one for him, one for Mrs. Lamborghini. The story goes that after the clutch was replaced a number of times on his beloved 250 GT, he decided to strip the car himself at his factory, discovering that the clutch was identical to one fitted to one of his tractors. Being charged 1,000 Lira a time for something he could buy for 10 obviously rankled the Italians, who are renowned for their level-headedness in such situations, and an argument ensued, in which he told Enzo Ferrari himself that he made “his cars from tractor parts”. Enzo, being similarly Italian, responded that Lamborghini was “just a farmer”, and that he “shouldn’t be driving my cars, because they are the best in the world.” The resulting feud has led directly to one of the longest-standing rivalries in the automotive world has ever seen, and produced some breath-taking machinery. But it’s not just supercars and tractors that Lamborghini have produced during their illustrious history.


When someone talks about a Lamborghini SUV, you think of the Urus, right? Tall, four-wheel-drive, capable of traversing questionable terrain? Sure. A reinforced roof that is ready for machine gun emplacements, and a bed on the back designed for a 50-cal? Erm… 

Yeah, so it turns out the Urus wasn’t Lambo’s first foray into the Range Rover type world. In fact, they’d actually experimented in the late ‘70s with the Cheetah and LM001, both of which looked very similar to the car we’re talking about here, but featured a rear-mounted V8.  
After extensive testing by the American military, who quickly pointed out that an off-roader built by an Italian supercar manufacturer with a V8 in the back probably wasn’t ideally suited to their needs.  

In 1986, the catchily-titled LM002 was debuted at the Brussels Auto Show and was quickly nicknamed the ‘Rambo Lambo’, which might well be the coolest car name we’ve ever heard. It had borrowed the V12 powerplant from the Countach, and would quickly become a hit with the oil barons and sheikhs in the Far East, who loved the fact that they could blast across the desert, with their mates, in a Lamborghini.  

If the 5.2 V12 wasn’t enough for you, you could spec your LM with Lamborghini Marine’s L804 7.2 V12, normally fitted to utterly bonkers Class 1 offshore powerboats. 

This example is one of 50 “American” models, effectively built as run-out models, and all featuring the Diablo’s direct-injection 5.7 V12, kicking out a frankly ridiculous 450bhp. They were trailed by the Saudi army and were almost their version of the ubiquitous Hummer H1. 


It’s a rare Lamborghini, so obviously it’s not going to be a cheap thing. Quite a few have had famous owners too-Sylvester Stallone loves his, along with Mike Tyson and Tina Turner, and there have been some less favourable owners too, such as Colonel Gadafi, Uday Hussain, and Pablo Escobar. 

 “Normal” ones start at somewhere around £300,000, rising to around £400,000 for a late American edition, like this one. But it’s not just buying one that requires some serious moolah-you’ll need pockets deeper than the Marianas Trench to run one too. With fuel consumption never moving beyond single figures, along with a 76-gallon fuel tank, and tyres that cost more than £10,000 a set (no, that’s not a typo), you’d probably think twice about buying the ultimate behemoth accessory. 


This LM002 forms part of the JHW Classics Collection. Curator Jane bought the car in Monaco in 2007 and enjoys using the car on regular shopping trips. No, we’re not joking. It’s available for TV and promotional work, as every car in the collection is, and if you’re interested in finding out more, you can contact Jane on her website www.jhwclassics.com



Manufacturer: Lamborghini 
Model: LM002 American 
Powertrain: 5.7 V12 
Construction: Tubular steel chassis and frame, armoured aluminium panels, bulletproof windows 
Weight: 2,700(dry) 
Power: 460PS, 450bhp 
Performance: 0-60mph 7.7 seconds, 150mph 
Price: £400k upwards 
Exclusivity: 50 total built