It is however no secret that its replacement is well under way. While there have been many facelifts, and various spec models for street and track use, there is only so much the company can do to keep the rich interested in an aging model.
So next year, a new baby-Lambo will be upon us (not sure what they are going to call it, Lambo never reuses its old names). What will it be like? I don’t know yet, but looking at the concepts the company produced in the late-80’s and mid-90’s, makes me wish the company had done more baby-Lambo’s in the past.
While for most of the 1980’s, Lamborghini offered a mid-engined, V8 sports car called the Jalpa, it was its proposed replacement that I truly lust after. I am talking about the P140 project.
The 1989 P140 was the first Lamborghini to feature a V10 engine. This motor displaced at 4.0-liters and produced 370-hp. Power went to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. According to Lamborghini, the P140 was capable of sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 5.0 seconds flat, and top out at 299 km/h.
While the performance of the car is quite impressive, what really grabs my attention are its looks. Designed by Marcello Gandini, who has penned many other Lambo’s over the years (Countach, Diablo, etc.), the P140 certainly reflects Gandini’s other design masterpieces like the Cizeta V16T and the Bugatti EB110. In fact, the nose of the P140 is very similar to the prototype version of the EB110.
Lamborghini was going through a tough time. Being run by the Chrysler Corp. at the time, which kept messing with its designs and dictating where the company should keep its focus. This sadly meant, the P140 project was given the axe, which is a real shame.
However, the powertrain from this project tried to resurrect itself in 1995, under the sleek body of an ItalDesign concept. The Lamborghini Cala was unveiled at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, and got a tremendously positive reception.
Everyone in the motoring press raved about it and expected it to go into production. However, at this time, Lamborghini was owned by the Suharto family from Indonesia, who did not put much effort to broaden the brand.
True to all ItalDesign concepts, the Cala was fully functional, and was said to produce 400-hp from the P140’s 4.0-liter, V10. The concept, which belongs to ItalDesign, even now takes the Cala out for some publicity runs from time to time.
While I’m glad these concepts still exist (P140 resides in the Lamborghini museum in Sant’Agata, Italy), I wish more was done with them. I wish both the P140 and the Cala had gone into production, and I am sure they would have sold quite well.