Classics for sale: Balboni-signed Lamborghini LM002

The Lamborghini Urus might be the latest Italian SUV, but the LM002 was the original. This example has signed by legendary Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni

The new Lamborghini Urus might be splitting opinion, but it isn’t the Raging Bull’s first attempt at an SUV. That honour belongs to the Lamborghini LM002. The ‘Rambo Lambo’ launched back in 1986 with the aim of captivating those prospecting for oil in the desert. This pristine LM002 in our classified has an interesting connection to the new Urus as well as legendary test driver Valentino Balboni.

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Lamborghini’s initial plan for an SUV was born out of the American government's need for a new military all-terrain vehicle. In 1977 Lamborghini revealed Project Cheetah, an open-bodied vehicle powered by a rear-mounted 5.9-litre Chrysler engine. Ultimately, the US colonels didn’t take Lamborghini up on its offer, so the Italian firm set about adapting the work it had done on Project Cheetah for the road.

An extensive redesign resulted in a front-mounted V12 configuration teamed with a rugged 4x4 chassis. In fact, said V12 was plucked straight from the Countach supercar. A little over 300 LM002s were built by the time production ended in 1993.

This bold red example resides in America but is actually a carburreted European specification car. That means its 5.3-litre V12 444bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8 seconds — not bad for a 2.7-tonne beast. It has only covered 11,103-miles and even comes with the rare OEM cargo box in the back. There is one shortcoming under the body, which sits atop a set of BF Goodrich tyres and not the specially developed Pirelli Scorpion rubber synonymous with this SUV.

This LM002 is in such good condition that Lamborghini selected it to sit alongside the Lamborghini Urus at its unveiling at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Ex-Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni drove and inspected the car before placing his signature on it.

The Lamborghini LM002 is a mighty special machine which has appreciated accordingly. This Balboni signed car is currently listed for $495,000.

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