Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in a village near Bologna, Italy in 1916. His astrological sign was Taurus the bull. Although his parents were farmers young Ferruccio did not inherit their love for the land. Instead, he was fascinated by things technical and enjoyed working on his father’s tractors.
He graduated from a technical university in Bologna and went into the Italian Air Force during World War 2. He was stationed at Rhodes, Greece where he was in charge of the transport section. In 1944, Lamborghini was taken prisoner by the British and assigned to work in the motoring department.
At the end of the war, Lamborghini was released and returned to his hometown. At this time, he saw that Italian farmers were desperately in need of tractors. Using war surplus materials, he started building tractors for his neighbors in his garage. However, his business prospered and he soon needed to relocate to larger quarters. He was now known for building the best tractors in Italy. He then opened a second factory, which produced air conditioning and heating equipment.
In addition to becoming a wealthy man he was also developing an interest in and love for fast cars. Among others, he owned a Mercedes, a Jaguar and a Ferrari. However he had clutch problems with the Ferrari and went to Enzo to complain. At this point there are some discrepancies among the reports. Some say that when he approached Enzo, Enzo refused to see him, which angered Lamborghini. Other sources report that Enzo did see him but refused to listen and told him something to the effect that a tractor manufacturer had no business criticizing a Ferrari and he should return to tractors. However, whatever story is true, the episode angered Lamborghini and he determined to get even with Enzo.
First, he solved his clutch problem by installing a Borg and Beck clutch on his Ferrari. Then he decided to start manufacturing automobiles with the goal of surpassing Ferrari and proving that a super car did not have to be as temperamental as the Ferrari.
He employed Gianpaolo Dallara and Bob Wallace who had originally been engineers for Ferrari to help him with his new project. The first model to be produced was the Lamborghini 350 GT, which proved to be superior to the Ferrari in every detail. Another model soon followed and then came the legendary Miura.
The Lamborghini crest originated from Ferruccio’s astrological sign, the bull and the Miura’s namesake was Don Eduardo Miura, a famous European breeder of fighting bulls. The Islero was then named for the Miura bull that killed Manolete, the famous matador. Espana means sword and the sword is the matador’s weapon. Jarama was an area that was famous both for bull fighting and motor racing.
The Countach put an end to the legacy of bulls. Countach is not literally translatable but the closest meaning is wolf whistle and it has no connection to bull fighting.
Lamborghini sold out his varied interests in the 70’s and retired in Perugia. He started what would become a very successful winery. His wine was called ‘Blood of the Miura.’