Lamborghini 4×4 – From Cheetah To LM004 –

We all know that Lamborghini has become famous for cars like the Countach, Diablo, Murcielago and the rest of the lot. What most of us don’t know is that they had some shy attempts of creating an off-roader. Their first try was a prototype built in 1977, dubbed “Cheetah” and it was manufactured on contract from Mobility Technology International.

This very first Lamborghini 4×4 was powered by a huge 5.9-liter engine borrowed from Chrysler, which was mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission, driving all four wheels. They installed the power unit out in the back and as a consequence, the weight balance was awful, resulting in very bad road manners. It featured a fiberglass body and was conceived in order to carry five people (4 armed passengers and the driver). This Chevy engine was waterproofed while the radiator was protected by a fancy infrared detection system.

Lamborghini LM001

The Italian automaker did not build a second unit and had major financial problems after this failure, but they didn’t give up as they’ve come up with the LM001. They got the necessary funding from the Mimram brothers and instead of using that Chevy engine, they installed their very own V12 engine, also in the back. The model was unveiled in 1981 at the Geneva Auto Show, along with the exciting Jalpa. It had four seats and four doors, two rectangular headlamps while behind the doors in the back there were huge air intakes designed in order to cool down the power unit. Just like its predecessor, the handling was pretty awful for the same reason: bad weight distribution as the back was very heavy (where the engine was) while the front was light as a feather.

Lamborghini LM002

They’ve fixed this issue with the LM002 which became available back in 1986 when Lamborghini unveiled it at the Brussels Auto Show. It was powered by the same engine as the one in the legendary Countach, but had a lower compression ratio. Lambo got lots of orders for their new off-roader. Some of the cars got a 7.0-liter marine engine, while at some point they even made a station wagon-type but it remained only a prototype. The LM002 was a huge hit for the company and in the United States it was known as the “Lambo-Rambo”.
Although it was a true off-roader, it came with just about every luxury feature available at that time: leather upholstery, AC, stereo system, tinted power windows and others as well. Production ended in 1992 and the last 60 units were specially prepared LM/American types, featuring chromed bumpers, bespoke striping, better leather interior, OZ/MSW rims and other goodies. Lamborghini made about 328 units of its LM002 model.

Lamborghini LM003

The first car with the LM003 designation was in fact a LM002 model that had a turbocharged diesel engine, instead of the aforementioned V12 power unit. However, the “new” LM003 was supposed to be the successor of the LM002 but it didn’t get peak anyone’s interest so it didn’t made it past the sketch phase. There wasn’t even a prototype, only drawings. It looked similar to the Range Rover of that period.

Lamborghini LM004

The last true Lamborghini 4×4 off-roader was the LM004, which was built around the same chassis as the LM002. It had a huge 7.0-liter engine which was designed by Alfrieri and was linked to a manual gearbox developed by ZF. Although it had a curb weight of about 3,000 kg, it was able to reach 200 km/h. The inside looked a little bit like the one we find in the Countach, with leather upholstery, nice carpets, a full dashboard (with radio telephone), stereo system, AC, VHF radio as well as a cold-water tap which was installed between the back seats. They only made one LM004 due to the reason that the engine did not perform very well.
We don’t have any information about a possible LM005, but I’m sure that in a few years, we’ll see another off-roader from Lamborghini.


Post tags: Tags: automotive articles, lamborghini 4×4, lamborghini cheetah, lamborghini lm001, lamborghini lm002, lamborghini lm003, lamborghini lm004