Ask any rationale man on the face of this planet to name the car they’d want to have inside their garage and there’s a very good chance that the answer you’re going to get involves two supercar brands that call Italy home.
Ferrari and Lamborghini. The Prancing Horse and The Raging Bull. Which one is better? Depends on what you want in a supercar.
No two brands have generated as much awe and high-praise as these two Italian thoroughbreds and that, in some ways, have been joined at the hip since the rivalry began almost 50 years ago.
In one corner – or red corner, to be a little more obvious – is the marquee from Modena, the iconic and legendary Prancing Horse: Ferrari . Synonymous with building some of the most exotic machines on the planet, Ferrari has long been regarded as the measuring stick to which all other supercars are compared, with the possible exception of Lamborghini. The brand, which was born from the mind of Enzo Ferrari – a successful racer in his time - back in 1929, initially as a racing company that manufactured race cars while also masquerading as a company that sponsored race drivers. From those beginnings, Ferrari delved into production cars that eventually became one of the most sought-after car brands in automotive history.
In the blue corner is Lamborghini , a company that was founded by a man who plied his trade in tractor manufacturing before turning his sights on competing with an already established auto brand. Auto lore even has it that Ferruccio Lamborghini created the brand as a result of his dissatisfaction towards his Ferrari, which he claimed to be noisy and rough around the edges. So as any enterprising visionary would do, Lamborghini decided that he could build his own race touring car, one that would take all the elements of Ferrari and bring them to a whole new level.
Thus, the Italian supercar war was born.
Hit the jump for the rest of the story.
So who has the upper hand between the Prancing Horse and the Raging Bull? Well, it’s not exactly as easy as a sandlot game. For starters, while both cars share places in the pantheon of supercars, each brand has a strikingly different approach to achieving their goals.
Ferrari has always put a premium on building supercars that puts emphasis on its racing pedigree. You wouldn’t expect anything less from these guys considering that Enzo Ferrari was not only heavily involved in auto racing back in the day, but was also an accomplished race car driver in his own right. As such, Ferraris have always been created with a healthy dose of racing influence in them, starting with their first production offering back in 1947, the 1.5-liter V12 125 S, which Enzo Ferrari actually built begrudgingly just so he could have funding for his racing team, Scuderia Ferrari. Little did the enigmatic and boisterous Italian know that he was sitting on a proverbial gold mine with the 125 S, which inevitably became the first in a long line of Ferrari supercars that turned ‘Ferrari’ into more than just a racing team, but a household name all over the world. Among the most notable Ferraris to have ever been built includes the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – one car even sold for $12.1 million, the most expensive at that time, at an auction last year – the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO , the 1968 Ferrari Dino , the1973 Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer , the 1984 Ferrari Testarossa, the 1988 Ferrari F40 – the last Ferrari model Enzo Ferrari lived to see before his passing in the same year – the 1996 Ferrari 550 Maranello , the 2003 Ferrari Enzo , and finally, the marquees’ latest offerings, the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Ferrari 599 GTO .
On the flip side, Lamborghini has never been an auto company that has been as passionate with auto racing as its rival down south in Maranello. Unlike Ferrari , which puts a premium on transferring their auto racing expertise into their roadcars, Lamborghini has taken a uniquely different approach with their vehicles. The boys from Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy have focused more on building street-centric road monsters to conform to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s vision of building sports cars that would be better than anything Ferrari could come up with - and doing it without putting the racing influence into the equation. Daunting as that task would have looked, Lamborghini has more than lived up to the challenge and, since it’s introduction to the sports car market in 1963, has produced a bevy of four-wheeled road dynamos that began with the 1964 350 GT and included, among others, the 1966 Lamborghini Miura , the 1968 Lamborghini Espada , the 1984 Lamborghini Countach , the 1990 Lamborghini Diablo , the 2001 Lamborghini Murcielago , and the 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo .
Despite the fact that Automobili Lamborghini s.P.a was only founded in 1963 – a time where Ferrari had already established itself as one of the premier sports car makers in the world – Lamborghini quickly caught up with its already established competitor, making for a rivalry that has lasted the test of time and generations altogether. It can even be said that both brands reached the same destination by taking different routes to get to where they are now. While Ferrari used its extensive racing background to build their supercars, Lamborghini took a more straight-forward approach by devoting all their time and energy in producing engine-centric road monsters that emphasize pure and unadulterated power and speed.
Whatever direction these two rivals took, one thing will forever be clear. Both brands will forever be linked to each other, not just because of their roots, but because of a rivalry that has seen both the Prancing Horse and the Raging Bull partake in a continuous battle of supercar one-upsmanship, a competition that requires nothing, but the best from both Italian giants. Both brands will hesitate to admit this, but despite the rivalry, there remains a healthy amount of respect from both companies towards the other. It’s a respect that stokes the fire of competition between the two, and it’s a fire that won’t be extinguished in the near – and far – future.
And as for that small matter of prospective buyers choosing between the two? To be honest, it really boils down to what you want. Picking between a Ferrari and Lamborghini is like picking between kobe beef and a filet mignon. Whatever the case may be, you can’t go wrong with either of the two. And in some ways, knowing that you can’t go wrong with a Ferrari or a Lamborghini is the best – and sincerest – form of flattery both brands can ever ask for.