Lamborghini – The Man, the Myth and the Legend

Located on the same premises in Sant’Agata Bolognese that the Lamborghini factory has always resided, its museum lets visitors peak into a privileged and exclusive world, allowing them to learn about some of the tales behind the brand.

By Dustin Woods Wheels.ca

Feb 23, 2017 7 min. read

Article was updated 7 years ago

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Italy has a disproportionate amount of the western world’s art and historical artifacts, but the ones that inspire me the most are on display in the museums home to Ferrari, Ducati and Lamborghini. All three happen to reside in a region suitably known as Motor Valley.

Located on the same premises in Sant’Agata Bolognese that the Lamborghini factory has always resided, its museum lets visitors peak into a privileged and exclusive world, allowing them to learn about some of the tales behind the brand. But not all of them. Allowing the cars to be the stars, little attention is given to the marques’ famous, often debated history.

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A renowned and successful tractor builder, legend has it that Ferruccio Lamborghini purchased himself a couple Ferraris but was disappointed in the reliability and customer service he experienced. Allegedly thinking that Enzo would be pleased to hear of his clutch repair solution, he was surprised and enraged when ignored and dismissed, told that he should stick to building tractors and leave sportscars to the experts. Lamborghini, a proud, ambitious and already financially successful man, essentially started the company out of spite.

Legend also has it that the name Countach, one of the world’s most recognizable sportscars, was chosen after a passerby uttered the phrase upon seeing it on display at the Turin Motor Show. Loosely translated it is an exclamation meaning, “Wow!” An apt description even 43 years later.

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lamborghini museum miura roadster

The museum also features the world’s only production Miura Roadster, custom fabricated for its owner by special request. The vehicle is in good company, surrounded by other priceless models of significance over the company's storied history. Rare and beautiful models like these are being revived or brought back to life though the classic restoration program called Polo Storico Lamborghini. In-house restoration experts utilize their years of expertise and skills to preserve, maintain or restore a vehicle to its original glory using genuine blueprints, methods and materials.

Nearly a decade since I last visited the facility, the museum has been updated to document the lineage of this unique brand from the 350GT to the Urus crossover concept set to go on sale later this year. Magnificent and pristine grand touring cars like the Islero and 400GT are shown alongside outrageous concept cars such as the Egoista and Sesto Elemento, demonstrating the fascinating trajectory the company has taken over the years. The museum also chronicles advancements in aerodynamics, efficiency and lightweight materials – hallmarks of the company’s evolution. Just as the website states, it is much more than simply a museum, it is an experience. One not to be missed if you happen to be travelling through Italy.

lamborghini museum 350GT
Lamborghini Diablo 6.0lamborghini museum egoista

Much like visiting a winery, the experience isn’t really complete unless you’re allowed to have a sample of the finished product. The last time I visited Sant’ Agata Bologna, I was fortunate enough to test a bright orange Murcielago LP-640. Certainly nothing to sneeze at, it remained among the most outrageous vehicles I had piloted for years, that is until I was introduced to the Aventador LP750-4 SV.

Truly the culmination of the entire history of Lamborghini, from the moment you inhabit the same air as the Aventador, the experience is surreal. Looking like an intergalactic spaceship from the future, its jagged, angular lines are constructed from lightweight aluminum and Carbon Fiber. It is clear that the Aventador has been purpose-built to do two things: capture the attention of everyone within its vicinity, and to go really, really fast. Capable of hitting 100 km/h in a mere 2.8 seconds before topping out at 351 km/h, SV does stand for Super Veloce after all, which translates into Super Fast in Italian.

It is clear that the Aventador has been purpose-built to do two things: capture the attention of everyone within its vicinity, and to go really, really fast.

lamborghini museum aventador lp 750-4 svaventador lp 750-4 sv

There is nothing subtle about the Aventador SV. Especially not the sound. Lifting up the little red cover on the centre console and holding down the start/stop button emits an otherworldly sequence of aural pleasure; as the 6.5L V12 awakens, it crackles, cackles, grunts and howls before settling into a confident rumble. Idling. Waiting. Eager to strike like an armed surface to air missile as soon as it is engaged.

Not simply a one-trick pony, the visceral experience delights other senses as well. Ingress and egress is a practice in flexibility as you raise the scissor doors and maneuver over the wide, mirror-like Carbon Fibre frame rails, settling into the cockpit, comforted by the support of the deep leather bucket seats, hands settling at nine and three on the flat-bottomed steering wheel swathed in Alcantara like much of the interior.

At first glance, the most significant advancements from its predecessors are the TFT interface and level of versatility provided by the technology it oversees. As is the case with many premium and performance vehicles these days, it offers the ability to vary driving characteristics and performance. Selecting Strada, Sport and Corsa drive modes allow the Aventador to take on a number of personalities, none of which are particularly docile. Which is the whole point.

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You haven’t experienced stress until you’ve driven a half million dollar 750hp supercar that isn’t your own through the impossibly tight and narrow cobblestone corridors of rural Italy where Lamborghini HQ is located. Competent as the variable Haldex Generation IV four-wheel-drive system is, applying more pressure than that needed to kill a spider lit up all four Pirellis P Zero Corsas in unison, squawking and squirming as the massive contact patches grabbed and gained traction on the cold, wet asphalt.

Surrounded by drivers with little to no regard for traffic rules or decorum, their ineptitude was only exceeded by their impatience. Seemingly considering himself immortal, I witnessed one motorist pass me and four other vehicles at once, on a two lane road, across a solid yellow line, around a bend, in the pouring rain. Windshield wipers lashing at full tilt, I reigned in the 1,769kg beast by activating the massive carbon ceramic disc brakes, waiting out the inevitable horrific pileup that I was confident was about to ensue, but that shockingly never transpired.

It wasn’t until after the rain had stopped and I found some open roads outside of town that I was able to pour some coal on the fire, albeit not coming anywhere close to even approaching the outer capabilities of this ferocious animal. Handling is surgical scalpel sharp, acceleration is sublime and the whole practice of driving such a vehicle makes you feel like a symbiosis of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Every motorist, cyclist, pedestrian and passerby has their eyes glued on you – likely wondering if you are someone rich and famous, of which I am unquestionably neither.


Given the weather and road conditions, I opted to let my ego take a back seat in favour of returning the vehicle in the same condition as I picked it up in. There was also that tiny, perhaps insignificant fact that I had signed my life away to promise the safe return of a two-seater supercar that costs slightly more than my home. Such is the reality of a mere mortal experiencing the joys of such a supercar for one brief, exhilarating and unnerving day. I handed over the keys with a sigh of relief and returned to the museum to stroll through once again, this time with a renewed appreciation for the years of design, engineering and ambition to push the boundaries.

lamborghini museum aventador

Few vehicle manufacturers have captured the imagination of car enthusiasts over the years as Automobili Lamborghini  has. Boasting lofty performance figures for their time and often featuring outrageous, futuristic designs, the only predictable aspect about the brand is that it has always defied convention.

Does anyone really need a half a million dollar 750hp all-wheel-drive Supercar capable of exceeding 350km/h? Of course not. But if our entire existence should be dedicated to the pursuit of the practical and mundane, then we as a civilization wouldn’t have ventured to the moon, discovered that the earth wasn’t flat or invented Kobe beef. And how terribly sad would that existence be. The entire Lamborghini ethos is the result of daring to dream, with little regard for sensibility. I for one am happy to live in a world where that exists.
You may like: Adventures in a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster

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