Lamborghini Museum: Discovering A Marque’s Future By Looking At Its Past
Images: Gautam Sen
More than a decade before the Gallardo became the specialist sports car maker’s best-selling model, Lamborghini had designed and developed a cutting edge V10-engined junior league supercar. This car had the potential of considerable success had it been put into production as planned, during the early 1990s. Project P140 was a startling looking Marcello Gandini-designed two-seater with a top speed of close to 300 km/h. Just three pre-production prototypes were ever made, and only one survived.
If you want to see that one surviving car from the model which could have been the first V10-powered supercar in automotive history, you need to find your way to the Lamborghini Museum or Museo Lamborghini at via Modena, 12, at Sant’Agata Bolognese, in Italy, where that car is on display. Also known as MUDETEC, it was established in 2001, three years after Audi acquired Automobili Lamborghini, and is the one place where you can see some of the rarest of models from the Raging Bull marque. A veritable temple of pilgrimage for all Lamborghini enthusiasts, the museum showcases a rotating collection of cars from the supercar maker’s storied past, as well as recent concepts and limited series specials, most of which are extremely rare, even on the streets of Paris, New York, or Dubai.
The Lamborghini Museum, owned and managed by the Lamborghini company, and located at the front of its factory, is made up of a vast collection of cars produced throughout the history of the Italian manufacturer. The building is on two floors and was inaugurated in 2001; it was renovated in June 2016 to provide more exhibition area and accommodate more models and was further expanded in summer 2019 by changing its name to MUDETEC, which stands for Museo Delle Tecnologie, or the technology museum, as Lamborghini wishes to emphasise that the company stands for future technologies.
Even if the museum’s objective is to showcase some of its cutting-edge current models, to reflect their new slogan “discovering the future,” it also houses and exhibits many of the most famous creations in the history of Lamborghini. To this end, the museum exhibits a family tree showing all the models produced by the company.
At the time this writer visited the museum, in July 2021, the cars on exhibit included Lamborghini’s first series production model, a red 350 GT from 1964, as well as a beautiful, yellow Miura and a dark blue Espada. Complimenting these three were a LM002 four-wheel-drive monster, and a Diablo, all on the ground floor of the museum. However, the car greeting visitors as they entered was the totally insane Vision Gran Turismo, a completely outlandish single seater designed for Playstation.
Upstairs, on the first floor is where you will find the Lamborghini P140 prototype, painted white, with a red interior. A truly handsome car, it has several distinctive design features such as the asymmetrical wheel arches at both front and rear, a styling trait which has influenced the designs of the wheel arches of the Lamborghini Urus, as well as the latest generation Hyundai Tucson. Other unusual, yet practical features are the transparent Perspex flying buttresses, which provide lateral vision, as well as control airflow.
Lined up alongside the P140 are two more rarities, the one-off Lamborghini Marzal concept from 1967, and the Cheetah four-wheel-drive machine, from a decade later. The sublimely beautiful Marzal still looks modern despite being a design from 54 years ago. Owned by Swiss Lamborghini collector Albert Spiess, the car has been lent to MUDETEC for display. The Cheetah is an interesting case study of how not to locate a huge engine amidships.
The MUDETEC also offers an interactive experience, thanks to a driving simulator, as well as the opportunity to appreciate a Reventón, a Sesto Elemento, a Centenario, a Sián FKP 37, and a Veneno at close quarters. However, the model that is currently in focus is the legendary Countach, as Lamborghini celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first concept, the LP500’s, unveiling in 1971. On display are two Countachs, a bright yellow LP400 from the first series, as well as a later model year 5000S Quattrovalvole. A tubular space frame chassis of a Countach is also on display, almost like an art installation.
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