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Amazing Business Story: Ferruccio Lamborghini

by Valentine Ogbamebor

You can’t mention five sport cars without calling Lamborghini. Lamborghini cars rank as one of the most expensive cars in the world, owned by celebrities and billionaires. But who would have thought the story of one of the most adored fashion item in the world began with discontent.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was born on April 28, 1916 in Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, to grape farmers Antonio and Evelina Lamborghini. Lamborghini refused to take exactly after his parents rather he choose to go into farm equipments machinery. At an early age he began working on his father’s tractor, trying to understand how the machine worked. He enrolled in Fratelli Taddia technical institute to better his understand of machines.

During the Second World War (1938-1945) he was drafted into the Italian Air Force where he put his technical expertise into good use in the transport department on the island of Rhodes. But Italy alongside its allies lost the war and the island fell, so Lamborghini, and some others were taken as prisoners of war by the British military forces. He spent one year as a POW before he was allowed to go home, but during this period Lamborghini learnt firsthand, how to keep a car on the road, thus improving his already rich knowledge on machines.

Lamborghini returned home after the war and got married, but his wife, Clelia Monti died in 1947 during childbirth. Lamborghini later opened a garage, and during his spare time started converting old war supplies into tractors for local farmers. As Italy’s economy grew the demand for his high quality tractors increased. Soon he had to move from his old small garage into a much larger facility. He was able to build tractors from scratch without the use of leftovers. The quantity of his output also increased; from 1 tractor a month in 1948 to 400 tractors a month in 1960. Lamborghini’s Lamborghini Trattori became hugely successful, it was reputed as the best in Italy and soon Lamborghini began exporting.

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Lamborghini opened another factory and started building air conditioning and central heating equipments. His businesses prospered tremendously, making him one of the richest men in Italy. One of Lamborghini’s weakness was cars; he had so many of them he could use a different one each day of the week. His favorite however was the Ferrari. But soon Lamborghini discovered a problem with all his Ferrari cars; they all had problems with their clutch.

According to several sources, Lamborghini approached Enzo Ferrari about the problem, but was dismissed away as an ordinary tractor maker who could not understand how speed cars worked. Lamborghini was irked. On examination, he discovered the clutch used in Ferrari cars was similar to those in his tractors. He then went ahead and changed the clutch in the Ferrari car with that in his tractor; the result was outstanding. That was how the idea for a perfect speed car was born.

Lamborghini built a large factory and immediately went into production; the business was called Automobili Lamborghini. The company released its first car the very year (1963) it was established; the Lamborghini 350 GTV, a two-seater coupe with a V12 engine. Among Lamborghini’s several models was the Miura, a prestigious car that brought Lamborghini to the automobile spotlight.

Suddenly things started to take a turn for the worse, several orders for tractors were cancelled by the buyers putting the tractor business in serious jeopardy. Circumstances were not helped by the economic unrest in Italy at the time. Eventually Lamborghini sold all his holdings in the tractor business and sold part of the speed car business. But economic situation still didn’t improve. Frustrated and disenchanted, Lamborghini completely sold off Automobile Lamborghini and soon after exited the industrial world and retired to his estate near Perugia, in Southern Italy where he began producing wine.

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Lamborghini married Maria-Teresa Cane who bore him a daughter, Patrizia, when he was 58.

Ferruccio Lamborghini died on February 20, 1993 in Purgia, Italy, after suffering a heart attack fifteen days earlier, he was 76.

All of Lamborghini’s companies still exist till today in one form or another.

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