Classics for sale: 1988 Lamborghini LM002

The Urus might be in the spotlight now, but it wasn't the raging bull's first attempt at a 4x4. This LM002 is a prime example of the original Lamborghini SUV

The world appears divided by the new Lamborghini Urus SUV with cries of 'Lamborghini doesn’t make SUVs' narrating the debate.

But of course Lamborghini does have SUV DNA in its history. The LM002 was its first attempt at an off-roader and there will be a prime example at RM Sothebys' Monterey event later this month, which you can view here.

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During the 1970s the American military invited engineering firms to present designs for an all-terrain vehicle. The 4x4 needed to be able to ferry troops in and out of combat, function in extreme climates, and feature considerable pulling power for a multitude of tasks.

In 1977 Lamborghini revealed Project Cheetah, an open-bodied vehicle powered by a rear-mounted 5.9-litre Chrysler engine. Its fibreglass body and waterproofed engine was impressive, but said engine’s placement resulted in poor off-roading credentials. Ultimately the US military opted for AM General’s Humvee and not the Cheetah.

At the same time BMW had tasked Lamborghini with developing the M1, but the Italian firm was now in financial trouble after being rejected for the military contract. BMW ended up taking its supercar project in-house and completing the car itself.

With so much time and money invested in Lamborghini’s 4x4, it was decided that the car would be extensively redesigned and offered to the public and those seeking oil in the desert.

The same 5.2-litre V12 engine from the Countach was chosen and mounted in a more conventional frontal position. 444bhp gave this 2.7 tonne monster a 0-60mph time of 8 seconds and enough torque to climb almost anything. Pirelli even developed a bespoke set of run-flat Scorpio tyres, which were also available with a special tread pattern for sand. In 1986 the Lamborghini LM002 made its debut at the Brussels Motor Show.

The RM Sotheby's Monterey auction on 24-25 August will see this immaculate LM002 hit the blocks. Just 328 LM002 were produced, but this one is extra special… Not only has it been signed by legendary Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni, but it is 1 of only 40 carbureted examples. It has recently spent some time as part of a collection in Texas, covered less than 100 miles in the past three years.

It is a fascinating machine that is estimated to sell for between $350,000 and $450,000. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one as it rumbles into Monterey.

Classic Cars for Sale