Rare Rides: The Practical and Elegant Lamborghini LM002

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

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]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 23 comments
  • 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.

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...