22 July 2019

More than an old car #111: Lamborghini LM002

Mention 'luxury SUVs' and one may think of the Lamborghini Urus (which really looks unappealing) or the high-class Rolls Royce Cullinan. The trend towards large, family-friendly vehicles has caught on even among the supercar manufacturers, whether for good or worse remains to be seen. However, this is not a recent invention: this 1991 Lamborghini LM002 'Rambo Lambo' is the grandfather of them all!

The LM002 first started out by an attempt by Lamborghini to develop a military vehicle, for use in the oil and gas exploration industry and potentially to be used in war zones, under their Lamborghini Militaria (LM) project. Their first attempt was the Cheetah, which had a rear-mounted engine but it was quickly concluded that the handling was not up to par. As a result, there was further testing and modifications done before the LM002 was unveiled in 1986.

Civilian models were given a luxury package, with full leather trim, air conditioning and power windows among other features. Its tyres were specially made by Pirelli: 2 sets were offered for mixed use and on sand only, and it was designed to carry on in tough terrain and heavy loads, even if the tyres ran flat. It was powered by a hefty 5167 cc V12 engine (similar to the one used in the Countach), allowing it to reach a top speed of 195 km/h with an acceleration of 7.8 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4900 mm long and weighed a massive 2700 kg. One thing of note is the fuel consumption of the LM002: while it had a fuel capacity of 290 litres, it consumed around 35 litres per 100 km in urban settings! One would probably need to own a petrol station to drive it daily, but then again, the LM002 was the ultimate show-off off-roader to get your hands on.

Production of the LM002 ended in 1993 with only 301 made. Lamborghini continued to make prototype successors without much success, although the Urus can be considered to be its spiritual successor. 1 of them was inadvertently blown up by the US Army in Iraq (belonging to a son of Saddam Hussein) to test the effects of a car bomb and it was not until they returned home to realise what they had destroyed willy-nilly.

This particular unit belongs to the Sultan of Johor and it was exhibited here last year during an event, although I am aware that there is another unregistered unit locally as they were only made in LHD. They are very cool machines, combining both the utility of an off-road vehicle to a fuel-guzzling status car. Owning one would be beyond my wildest dreams despite how environmentally-unfriendly it is. I don't know whether you may get to see this again, but you'll be wowed seeing it in real life!

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