Ready your preconceptions for shattering, because they aren’t long for this world: the behemoth SUV pictured here is from Italian exotic sports car manufacturer Lamborghini. Dubbed the “Rambo Lambo”, this particular example represents one of only 328 vehicles produced between the years of 1986 and 1993. It’s the byproduct of Lamborghini’s “Cheetah” program, which began in 1977 as the development platform for a new military off-roader. The original design, featuring a rear-mounted Chrysler V-8, went to Mobility Technology International (MTI). MTI ended up contracting for the US military, and in some respects, the Cheetah could be considered the precursor to the Humvee.

After the Cheetah, Lamborghini created the LM001, which was similar, but came with a V-8 from AMC. When it was determined that a rear-mounted engine was responsible for unfavorable off-road handling characteristics, Lambo decided to build an entirely new chassis with the V-12 from the Countach sitting up front. Thus, the LM002 was born, making its official debut at the 1986 Brussels Auto Show.

In 1988, Lamborghini attempted to enter an LM002 in the Paris-Dakar Rally, with preparations including a stripped interior, a roll cage, suspension enhanced with heavy-duty components, an engine with output upped to 600 horsepower, and GPS. Unfortunately, funding ran out before the rally took place, but the beefy rally variant did eventually manage to compete in off-road races held in both Egypt and Greece.

Another interesting story finds one particularly unfortunate LM002, owned by Uday Hussein, son of the dictator, blown to smoldering chunks by US service members in 2004 during the invasion of Iraq to help demonstrate the effects of a car bomb.

With such a tumultuous genesis, it’ll be interesting to see what Lamborghini decides to do when it comes to an off-roader/SUV offering. With concepts like the Urus making headlines in the past few years, it certainly looks like Lambo is searching for the right way to reenter the market. Only time will tell if this latest effort is more successful than the LM002.

Updated 9/1/2015: Our man Jonathan Lopez took some pics at Monterey Car Week. Enjoy!

Click past the jump to read more about the Lamborghini LM002.

  • 1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002
  • Year:
    1986- 1993
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Transmission:
    2 speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    444 @ 6800
  • Torque @ RPM:
    6800
  • Displacement:
    5167 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.8 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
    175000
  • Price:
  • body style:

Exterior

1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution
- image 643779
1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution
- image 643777
1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution
- image 643778

As to be expected from the offspring of a military-grade off-roader and the inspiration for the Humvee, the LM002 is definitely not small. Based on a tubular steel frame, the length is 188.6-inches, width is 78.7-inches, and height is 72.8-inches. Curb weight is measured at an Earth-flattening three tons. The riveted aluminum body panels are squared and enormous, and the tires are wide and chunky. There are appropriately named bullbars in the front and rear, plus an externally mounted spare wheel and space in the bed for many things. It looks functional in every sense, a total departure from the flair and flamboyance of Lambo’s sports cars.

Interior

1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution Interior
- image 599387

Inside, the civilian-bound LM002 models were decked out in full luxury, with leather upholstery, wood trim, tinted power windows, air conditioning, and a high-end sound system. Space, surprisingly, is not as ample as you would expect, given the massive proportions of the exterior. It’s all nose and tail, with the square in the middle coming up a bit short (head room is great, though).

Drivetrain

1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 599386

With a 5.1-liter V-12 topped by six Weber carburetors, power from the four-wheel-drive is measured at 444 horses, which is enough to yield a 7.7-second run to sixty mph. Transferring the power is a five-speed manual gearbox. The contact patch is made by run-flat Pirelli Scorpion tires, which were commissioned by Lamborghini specifically for the LM002. There are two different tread designs, one for mixed use and the other for sand only. With a hilarious mileage rating of only eight mpg, there’s an absurdly large 76-gallon gas tank to fill. Additionally, anyone looking for an upgrade in performance could opt for a 7.2-liter V-12, which is the same motor that can be found in powerboats.

Prices

1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution
- image 643780

Not only is this dinosaur a ridiculous vehicle in every single way, it also has one strange and wild past. Anyone who wants to own one is invited to try his or her luck at the auction block on January 16, 2015, when an immaculate 1989 LM002 will be auctioned off in Arizona. The winning bid is expected to land somewhere between $175,000 and $225,000.

Competition

Hummer H2 SUT 6-Wheeler

2009 Hummer H2 SUT 6-Wheeler Exterior
- image 576671

Nothing exceeds like excess, and by just looking at this monstrosity, you know that everything about it is well over the top. For about $100,000, you can get this H2 off-roader with an extra axle, two extra wheels, and an extended bed big enough to fit a small state, even with the tailgate up. The paint mimics the U.S. military’s desert fighting vehicles, while the six corners are fitted with Nitto Terra Grapplers tires over XD Series wheels. The interior is upgraded as well, with leather upholstery, touchscreen infotainment, XM radio, second row screens for DVD movie time, and a heated steering wheel. A stock 6.2-liter GM small-block V-8 is used for 393 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission can be set for a variety of towing and off-roading modes.

Dartz Prombron Black Shark

2015 Dartz Prombron Black Shark Exterior
- image 573227

For the individual concerned with assassination attempts, there’s the Dartz Prombron. Based on the Mercedes GL Class, much in the same way a trebuchet is based on a slingshot, the Prombron can drive through a hail of small arms fire as easily as going through a car wash. It’s a military-grade assault vehicle for public consumption, with a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12 producing 1,500 horsepower, which is necessary when propelling literal tons of armor plating away from mortal danger. There are sniper-resistant windows, a rotating bulletproof grill, and electrified door handles. Inside this mobile castle is a cocoon of luxury, with champagne flutes, gaming consoles, and all the correct materials. Pricing is unannounced, but we’re guessing a cool quarter million bucks.

Conclusion

1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 High Resolution
- image 643773

Odds are, most folks out there would be shocked to learn that Lamborghini began as a humble producer of tractors in 1948. After World War II, the company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, saw a huge demand for agricultural equipment, and consequently began converting military equipment for fieldwork. The business was a success, and within ten years, Lamborghini began to expand.

Around this time, as the story goes, Ferruccio Lamborghini owned several high-end sports cars that never quite met his expectations. After a spat with Enzo Ferrari over the clutch in a 250 GT, Lamborghini decided to make his own sports cars to suit his personal taste and standards. Thus, the company known worldwide for making some of the wildest road rockets in history was born.

Much like the tractors, the LM002 represents yet another break from what most people would consider a tradition Lambo. Its rarity is unprecedented. Its size is intimidating. In every way, it stands out as something unique, a one-of-a-kind made by a company that cares little for status quo. We love it.

  • Leave it
    • * Enormous and completely unruly
    • * 8 MPG
    • * Tempestuous past

Update History

Updated 12/17/2014: RM Auctions announced a very well maintained 1989 Lamborghini LM002 will be auctioned on Friday, January 16, 2015 in Arizona. The car will be auctioned without reserve and is expected o fetch somewhere between $175,000 - $225,000.

Source: RM Aucions

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