Why am I disappointed with Lamborghini these days?

The car you are seeing above this text is the one I salivated over as a child. It is a Lamborghini Countach LP400S, and yes, it is the car from the first Cannonball Run movie.

While the movie helped raise my affections for this car, it wasn’t the first time I laid eyes on it. Back in 1981, I lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia because my dad worked there. When the auto show came to town, he decided to take the family to see it, since my elder brother was already showing a keen interest in cars.

It was at this auto show when I first saw a Lamborghini Countach. It was silver (very similar to the car pictured just below), it had its scissor doors open, and it had a sign sitting in front of it that read “World’s Fastest Car.”

All this visual overload did it for me, and from that moment, at age four, I knew I liked cars and in particular I loved the Lamborghini Countach.

The reason I liked it so much was simple. It looked outrageous, especially the ones with spoilers attached, it had a big engine (started out as a 4.0-liter V12, ending with a 5.2-liter V12 motor by the time production ceased), made lots of power (early models produced 325-hp, the last 25th Anniversary models produced 455-hp), and the car was seriously fast, able to crack the 300-km/h barrier. That makes it fast even by today’s standard.

At $150,000, it was also very expensive. Spending that much on a car back then was like spending a million-dollars on a car now.

So it was outrageous in every sense, and I day dreamed about them and had Countach posters on my bedroom wall (along with a few Testarossa ones to be honest).

I got to drive a 25th Anniversary Countach a while back, and while the car was not easy to drive, and I only drove it for 15-minutes, it was the realization of a dream and I didn’t care about the impractical reality. It was and always will be an automotive theater for me.

The 1990’s belonged to the Diablo. This was another drool-worthy supercar and I’ve been lucky enough to drive a few of these. They made the right noises, had the speed to back the looks, and was dynamically a much better car than the Countach, but I never loved the Diablo as much as the Countach because the design had been seen before on the Cizeta V16T. Legend has it that Marcello Gandini showed the original design to Lamborghini, which was owned by Chrysler at the time. Chrysler at first turned the design down, and Gandini went to Claudio Zampolli who was about to start his new supercar company. Once the Cizeta came out, Chrysler wanted the design again, and asked Gandini to do another iteration for Lamborghini. The result was that both cars looked very similar.

However, the Diablo was still a very desirable car (especially the SE30 version as pictured here), not only because of its performance (500+hp and top speed reaching far above 330-km/h for some versions), its looks were worthy of being on bedroom walls.

Things started going sour for me personally when Audi took over Lamborghini and started infusing their common sense into the mix. The result was the Murcielago, which I admit is not an ugly car, but lacks the visual drama of the earlier cars. It seems a bit too sensible, and that in my mind goes against what a Lamborghini should be.

Over the years, Lamborghini came out with faster versions of the Murcielago, but visually it never did it for me. Lamborghini then went off to do a crazy limited edition version based on the Murcielago called the Reventon, but that was an origami inspired version that offered no performance gains over a regular LP640, while costing three-times as much, just because they were only producing 20 examples.

So my first bit of advice to Lamborghini is, if you are going to do a special limited edition car to celebrate your anniversary, make an entirely new car, like the boys and girls at Ferrari do. I know you can do it.

Secondly, who approved the design for the Aventador? Yes, I know its not repulsive, but it looks too similar to the Murcielago. The Countach didn’t look like the Miura, and the Diablo didn’t look like the Countach, same with Murcielago vs. Diablo, so why didn’t you bother with making your new car look entirely different?

I have not driven an Aventador yet, but I’m sure it is wonderful to drive. Having driven some Murcielago’s, I bet the Aventador is a step in the right direction from a driving dynamics point of view, but it just doesn’t do anything for me from a strictly aesthetics point of view.

I feel that perhaps bedroom walls are nowadays probably filled with posters of Pagani’s, Koenigsegg’s and possibly even Spyker’s. Modern Lamborghini’s seems too sensible to adorn the walls of teenagers now, and that is a shame.

Nowadays, Lamborghini talks more about doing a hideous, mass market SUV called the Urus rather than doing a car that will be built in limited numbers and will be about as rare as spotting a chupacabra.

So Lamborghini, listen to me. You’re owned by the VW group, which makes lots of money through its mainstream brands. Lamborghini should not worry about the bottom line, they need to worry about coming up with a car so stunningly gorgeous, women’s bras would unhinge at the sight of it and even sane men would sell their organs to have one. Lamborghini’s used to be like that, and I hope they can do it again.

So stop digging deeper into the VW parts bin, and stop asking the German’s on how to style a car (this after all is the nation that makes the Porsche 911, and they haven’t done an all-new design on one of those since Eisenhower lived in the White House).

Go wild, take a page out of Pagani’s book and make cars worthy of dreaming about. I know you can do it Lamborghini, I have faith in you.

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