Motoring: Lamborghini concepts that should have been produced
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 (I'm 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 '80s and mid-'90s makes me wish the company had done more baby Lambos in the past.
While for most of the 1980s, Lamborghini offered a mid-engine V8 sports car called the Jalpa, it was its proposed replacement that I truly lust after: the P140 project.
The 1989 P140 was the first Lamborghini to feature a V10 engine. This motor displaced at 4.0 litres and produced 370hp. Power went to the rear-wheels via a sixspeed manual gearbox. According to Lamborghini, the P140 was capable of sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds flat, and top out at 299 km/h.
While the performance of the car is quite impressive, its looks are what really grab my attention. Designed by Marcello Gandini, who has penned many other Lambos over the years (including the Countach and Diablo), 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. One could call it a junior version of the aforementioned supercars, but the overall design and stance of the P140 is just brilliant.
Lamborghini was going through a tough time. Being run by the Chrysler Corp. at the time 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 received 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-litre 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.
So as Lamborghini turns towards a new chapter of its baby supercar saga, let's hope the new car will be as visually stunning as the concepts discussed here.