|The old story goes that Ferruccio Lamborghini was a tractor maker not far from Ferrari. Lamborghini bought himself a Ferrari and, feeling that it could be improved, he took his ideas straight to Enzo Ferrari himself. It is said that Enzo told Lamborghini he didn’t require supercar advice from a tractor maker. So Lamborghini decided to make his own high-performance cars.
Sant’Agata-Bolognese may sound like an Italian dish, but that’s where Lamborghini now makes some of the coolest cars on the planet. It’s just outside Bologna, about a half-hour from Ferrari headquarters. Keep your friends close, and your rivals closer?
After my visit with Ferrari (Part I & Part II), I checked into a hotel that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Lovely nowhere, but still nowhere. Fortunately, the hotel had a shuttle that takes Lamborghini dealers-in-training to the factory, so I was able to hop a ride.
The Lamborghini campus is smaller than Ferrari, and not as elaborate. It was hard not to try to make comparisons, but there are two very different operating philosophies. Ferrari runs a tight ship; Lamborghini just seemed so much more laid back. Both approaches are producing astounding results!
My tour was led by the daughter of a Lamborghini factory employee – a second-generation member of the team. As with Ferrari, there were no cameras allowed inside the factory, but they let me take a lot of pictures of the gorgeous array of Lamborghinis on display.
Lamborghini produced their first car, the 350 GT, in 1963. At the time of my visit, they are working on just two models: the Aventador and the Huracán. I think she said they knock out about 13 cars a day. It’s a more up-close and personal tour as we walked in among the assembly line, which made it harder to hear. Especially in the moment when, for the very first time, they fire up the engine in one of the Aventadors! There were none of the robots I saw at Ferrari – just hard-working, fun-loving human beings.
The Lamborghini symbol is a bull because Ferruccio was a Taurus. Fun trivia: Lamborghini car names come from Spanish bullfighting bulls or terms.
I was most impressed with the level of customization you can get on your Lamborghini. Lots of colors, Italian, Swiss or Austrian leather… even the color of stitching used can be personalized!
At the end of the day, I caught the shuttle back to the hotel with the trainees. They were still excited about their day. Who wouldn’t be?
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