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While Lamborghini is renowned for its blistering mid-engine supercars, the firm took a lesser-known turn during the 1980s in developing a luxury, all-terrain vehicle with potential military-grade applications. The company pioneered the idea in 1977 with the Cheetah prototype built in hopes of landing a US Army contract. The rear-engine one-of showed promise but was clearly too exotic for the American military.
Lamborghini principal Patrick Mimran was intrigued by the idea, and at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show the company unveiled a further design study based on the Cheetah, the LM001. The next car still featured rear-engine placement, and consequently suffered in handling and rear interior space. Mimran assigned ex-Maserati engineer Giulio Alfieri to address these flaws, and the resulting LMA concept debuted in 1982.
Coded with serial no. LM002, the LMA notably utilized the same V-12 from the concurrent Countach, though it was now placed in the front compartment. This revision aided handling and weight distribution, and allowed the rear cabin to be properly trimmed for six passengers. The new, of-road Lamborghini featured specially designed Pirelli Scorpion run-fat tires, as well as an early GPS navigation system intended for the energy executives that were envisioned to traverse remote desert oil fields in the car.
Officially introduced in production form at the 1986 Brussels Motor Show, the LM002 was available with a broad array of luxuries, including leather interior, air-conditioning, tinted windows, and a high-fidelity sound system. Though positioned principally for wealthy clients, the LM002 was also perfect for of-road racing, and one example was prepared (though never entered) for the Paris-Dakar Rally. Just 328 examples of the so-called “Rambo Lambo” were produced through 1993. Given the popularity of luxury SUVs today, and the LM002’s obvious influence on the Humvee, the groundbreaking Lamborghini was clearly decades ahead of its time. This sparingly used LM002 was beautifully maintained by a New York-based Lamborghini collector over the past seven years prior to acquisition by the consignor. The LM002 abounds in authentic details, like the original Acapulco Blue paint and gray leather interior with wood accents. The renowned Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni signed the car’s dashboard in 2011, reportedly stating that it was one of the most original examples he had ever seen. Accompanied by a factory-optioned toolbox, tonneau, and owner’s manuals, this fabulously detailed and rare LM002 features the final carbureted version of the Countach QV V-12, and would make a singular presence on any concours field or collection of contemporary exotics.