The Lamborghini LM002 was a four-door SUV produced from 1986 to 1983. It was Lamborghini’s third attempt to create an off-road vehicle, following up the doomed Cheetah, LM001, and LMA002 prototypes.
LM002 Production at Last
While the Cheetah and LM001 featured rear-mounted engines which proved to have lacking steering capabilities, the LMA002 moved the engine to the front and slipped in the Lamborghini-famous V12 engine from its flagship model, the Countach. After much altering of the LMA002 prototype, it ended up becoming the first LM002 model and was given a serial number. The LM002 was finally the one to hit the mark, leaving the 5.2L V12 engine in the front of the four-door SUV. Over its eight-year production span, 328 Lamborghini LM002s were produced. The LM002 is colloquially known known as the “Rambo Lambo.” It was also featured in various films including the 1992 flick Toys and the 2009 movie Fast and Furious.
Features of the First Off-Road Production Lamborghini
The four-wheel drive vehicle was insanely capable. It could climb 120% gradients and had a top speed of 210 km/h, with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in 7.8 seconds. Not bad for a tank-like vehicle. The four-wheel drive system contained three locking differentials to help make this happen. It was constructed with an aluminum and fiberglass body, which threw the usual aerodynamic concerns (that Lamborghini always had as a priority in its other vehicles) straight out the window. Civilian models of the Lamborghini LM002 were fitted with full luxury features which more closely resembled the other vehicles in the Lamborghini lineup. This included leather seats, power windows, air conditioning, and premium stereo system.
Lamborghini could not located tires it felt were adequate for the LM002, and as a result, commissioned Pirelli to create ones specifically for the LM002. They made two designs with run-flat capabilities: one for mixed use and one for sand use. These were basically indestructible and likely suitable for the military purposes thought to come its way. It also received a massive 45 US gallon fuel tank, which would allow the powerful 5.2L V12 engine to stay powered up for a long time. If desired, the 7.2L V12 engine from Lamborghini could be fitted into the LM002. This engine was actually built for marine purposes and was found on class 1 offshore powerboats. The LM002 weighed nearly 3 tons (5,952 pounds) and had a wheelbase of 116.1 inches and overall length of 188.6 inches. The width was 78.7 inches. To say the least, this was an intimidating vehicle, one that might have influenced many other manufacturers to produce their own giant SUVs down the road.
Unusual Customer Base
As one can imagine, this new vehicle that wasn’t restricted to the city roads yet still had a super-luxury appeal began to become quite popular with wealthy individuals, especially those from areas with rough terrain or the need for a serious off-road vehicle. Two special-edition LM002s were build to participate in the Paris Dakar Rally. It was heavily modified to increase overall performance by removing many unnecessary components and and tuning the engine to produce 600 PS. These modifications were balanced with increased safety changes, including a full roll cage, plexiglass windows, and GPS equipment. Unfortunately, funding dried up before the vehicle could be entered into the desired Dakar Rally, but it did participate in Rally des Pharaons in Egypt and another event in Greece. So not all was lost. The 328 units that were reportedly produced went to clients around the world. It is rumored that Gaddafi purchased some for the Libyan Army, and also that people from Saudi Arabia might have purchased 40. Reportedly, Saddam Hussein’s son ended up with one that was later used in a car bomb simulation by the US Army.
These cars still have plenty of appeal today, which makes sense now that the world of powerful SUVs is vast. This is perhaps the forerunner to many modern luxury SUVs and when the Lamborghini LM002s come up for auction recently, prices have hit nearly $300,000. Lamborghini has realized this trend and has recently started to produce an SUV once again, decades later. This is the Lamborghini Urus.