The Lamborghini LM 002 was the first production 4×4 built by the Italian supercar (and tractor) builder, it was based on their 1977 Cheetah 4×4 prototype which had been intended for military use – with a rear mounted Chrysler V8. It’s not known how well-formed the plan was for a Lamborghini-badged military vehicle, although it’s clear that enough progress was made that the Cheetah was demonstrated for the US military.
The second prototype was called the LM 001, and it was fitted with an AMC V8 – the theory being that a US-engined vehicle would be more likely to garner US military approval. The contact for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) would eventually be awarded to AM General and their prototype, which would later be nicknamed Humvee.
Lamborghini didn’t stop development after losing the contact, they chose to pivot and create a luxury SUV called the LM 002. They tossed the American V8s in favour of their own V12 – the standard LM 002 came with the same 5.2 V12 as the Countach, but owners could spec an even larger Lamborghini L804 type 7.2 litre marine V12, used in Class 1 offshore powerboats.
The military-style spartan interior design was scrapped, and a new all-leather interior was designed. Air-conditioning came as standard, a premium ceiling mounted stereo was fitted, and Pirelli was commissioned to create two all new tire designs that could run flat – one for road and light off-road use, and one specifically for sand use.
This focus on luxury, air-conditioning, and sand-specific tires wasn’t an accident. Lamborghini had identified the wealthy nouveau riche of the Middle East as a prime market, with similarly well-funded oil exploration companies being a secondary target.
Upon its release at the Brussels Auto Show in 1986 the new Lamborghini was immediately dubbed the “Rambo Lambo” – a nickname that’s stayed with the car ever since. Over the course of its 1986 to 1993 production run Lamborghini built 328 LM002s, many of them have disappeared – or as was the case with the LM 002 that belonged to Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, blown up by the US armed forces as an example of what IEDs are capable of.
The surviving Lamborghini LM 002s are now highly sought after by collectors, and low-mileage originals like this one are now selling for over $300,000 USD with no difficulty at all. The car you see here is currently being offered for sale through the Petrolicious Marketplace, and you can click here to read the listing or enquire about it.