Rare Rides: The Practical and Elegant Lamborghini LM002

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the practical and elegant lamborghini lm002

Today’s Rare Ride is one which defies most all expectations of vehicles in its class. It’s larger, more powerful, more exclusive, and more ridiculous than any of its contemporaries. Suitably, it has a raging bull emblem on its hood.

Presenting the Lamborghini LM002 from 1990.

The very first four-wheel drive production vehicle from Lamborghini was also its first SUV. 1986 was an unusual time to release a high-performance luxury SUV, as that wasn’t really a thing in the mid-Eighties. Lamborghini had just emerged from its bankruptcy in 1983, and was owned by French businessmen brothers Jean Claude and Patrick Mimran. They wanted to turn the struggling manufacturer around.

Lamborghini had experimented with off-road vehicles before, initially with the Cheetah in 1977 and the LM001 in 1981. Both were rear-engine concepts that were refined and distilled into the front-engine LM002. The resulting truck was made of a tubular steel frame, its aluminum body panels riveted on.

The LM part stood for Lamborghini Militaria, a group of light military vehicles the brand developed to break into a new segment: the oil industry. The idea was for Lamborghini to sell vehicles to oil companies for use in exploration. None of the trucks produced were particularly appealing vehicles for their intended purpose, but the LM002’s civilian version took hold among the ultra wealthy.

Suiting the clientele, all civilian LM002s were fully equipped with expected luxuries like air conditioning, a stereo system, and an interior drowning in leather. Rear jump seats meant room for eight, if half that number skipped a seat belt. Not one to skimp on the ultimate luxury — power — the base engine was the 5.2-liter V12 used in later examples of the Countach. Those desiring greater displacement could opt for a 7.2-liter V12 sourced from a large power boat. All were five-speed manuals, which might make this the only time there was ever a V12, manual transmission SUV.

Other unique features included the tires, which were custom-made by Pirelli. The Scorpion series rubber were run-flat 17 inches, and massive at 345/60. Two tread options were available: sand or mixed use. Extra costly at the time, today they ask around $25,000 a set. Part of the truck’s 5,952-pound weight was down to the 45-gallon fuel tank, which the 7.2L could empty rather quickly.

To aid in its off-road credibility, Lamborghini created an LM002 Evoluzione, intended for use in the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1988. Modifications were extensive: all excess weight was shed, and power increased to 600 horses. However, the build was not completed in time for Dakar as Lamborghini was short on cash. It did race later in Egypt and Greece, however, but wasn’t a winner.

The LM002 remained in production through 1993, and a total of 328 examples rolled off the line in Bologna. The folks at Lamborghini must’ve been content with their singular dalliance into an SUV offering, as they didn’t get back in the game until 2018 with the Urus — and, of course, that’s actually an Audi.

Today’s regulation compliant LM|american is part of a limited run from 1989 to 1991 which were sold as new in North America. In stunning navy metallic over white, it sold recently in Chicago.

[Images: seller]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 28, 2020

    Is "elegant" with tongue in cheek?

  • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on May 29, 2020

    This is the only modern Lamborghini I have any interest in at all. Thankfully far over my pay grade in cost. I sure hope those wheels will take normal tires though - that's getting up towards Bugatti money for a set of shoes.

  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.
  • Dukeisduke If these were built in the US, they'd probably be plagued with recalls, like everything else they make now. It's just as well they don't bring them here.I've owned one Ford, a '95 F-150 (drove it for 17 years and 214k miles) and it was fantastic. But you couldn't run fast enough to buy another Ford. Quality used to be Job 1; now it's an afterthought.
  • Dukeisduke "side-to-side taillights""Across-the-border" is the phrase you're looking for - it's what Ford called the taillights on the '67-'68 and '70-'71 Thunderbirds.
  • 28-Cars-Later Pretty sure its the next gen Fusion, which did manage 110K sales in 2020 USDM but that was roughly 66% less than 306K it sold in 2013. If 100K units is the expected high water mark I can understand why resources went elsewhere... though Mach-E can't even do half that and its hyped like the Second Coming so maybe there was a missed opportunity after all?
  • Kcflyer Laughing inside at the "300 mile range when it's warm" line. Can you imagine if ICE vehicles were this comprised? What a sick joke the green agenda is.