By on May 28, 2020

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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23 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Practical and Elegant Lamborghini LM002...”

  • avatar

    A rich man’s toy.
    I’m sure it was mostly Saudi “princes” and Russian Mafia hoods that sprung for it initially.
    With such a minute production run these will all end up on axle stands in a collection.

  • avatar

    God I love 1980s excess…
    I’m pretty sure there’s a detachable mirror somewhere in the interior for other activities that likely took place in one.
    I do like the blue, but I’ll take mine in yellow so it can be seen at least three counties over, with the massive V12 bellowing Lamborghini style, getting 5-6 mpg on a good day, and loving every minute of it.
    If you can’t be somewhat crazy and at the fringe of society in a vehicle like this, why own it?

  • avatar

    How much for the special “Saddam” edition?

    • 0 avatar

      I think a few could be picked up for free on Iraq Highway 80 back in 1991. But a lot of vehicles on that highway had some damage so repairs might be needed.

    • 0 avatar

      US soldiers blew it up in 2004 after stealing the leather seats, sorry.

      • 0 avatar

        I understand the sentiment, but they should have just transferred the documentation of one of their destroyed HUMVEEs to it and partied on. Even if it wouldn’t run on JP-8, surely there was some gasoline to be had.

  • avatar

    HIDEOUS then, still hideous today! :-)

  • avatar

    At least it has a stick and a V12 with no lame turbochargers. They still only make sense if you have your own oil wells and oil refinery.

  • avatar

    If the tires are run flat, why is there a spare?

    Also, at $25k a set I’d be looking into alternate sizes. 33×12.50R17 should be pretty close. Maybe I wouldn’t care if I had Lambo money.

  • avatar

    Does it come with a warranty? :)

  • avatar

    Hope Pirelli keeps making a run of the tires once every few years. Otherwise these will become garage ornaments.

    • 0 avatar

      Cooper makes a 295/70R17 tire of sufficient load range that’s the same overall diameter and can be had for $300. They might even fit on the original wheels.

  • avatar

    Practical? Elegant?

    How about “Hulking, brutal”? And of course “pointless”.

  • avatar

    Looks like a poorly built kit car to me.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    19 previous comments, plus the initial column, yet nobody has called it the ‘Rambo Lambo’?

  • avatar

    Even better than the vehicle was the C/D review of it, back when folk could write and have fun. It made me want one. The vehicle was outrageous and the review was a delight. Some guy in our small city got one but in palish orange. Not my choice, but man this thing is big in the flesh. The 1987 C/D tested weighed 6800 lbs. Only truck I ever desired just because well, it was a Lamborghini fer crissake. DOHC V12 over 400 hp with six Weber carbs, 7000 rpm and all around independent suspension, which actually seems to have been its best feature according to that old road test. Hummer would have a fit, what no stick axles and no pushrods? Blasphemy! Yes indeed, Lambo wasn’t trying to make a 4WD GM pickup truck or Jeep, but something to actually covet.

  • avatar

    Is “elegant” with tongue in cheek?

  • avatar

    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.

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