Ferruccio Lamborghini was an Italian industrialist who is best recognized as the founder of the high-end sports cars company Automobili Lamborghini in Sant’Agata Bolognese, northern Italy. The son of grape farmers, he tinkered with machinery in his youth and studied mechanics in college, following which he served as a vehicle maintenance supervisor during the Second World War. He subsequently established a garage which eventually turned into the tractor manufacturing business Lamborghini Trattori. Apart from these two vehicle businesses, he also founded Lamborghini Bruciatori, an oil heater factory which later became, Lamborghini Calor, which also produced air conditioners, and Lamborghini Oleodinamica, a hydraulic valves and equipment manufacturing company. While he is best known for the luxury car business, it is said that he was prompted to become a car manufacturer after he was insulted by racer and businessman Enzo Ferrari, founder of the Ferrari car brand, when he had approached the latter with his complaints about Ferrari’s after sales service.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was born on April 28, 1916, in Renazzo di Cento, in the Province of Ferrara, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy,. His parents, Antonio and Evelina Lamborghini, were viticulturists, but rather than farming, Ferruccio was more interested in farming machinery and studied mechanics at the Fratelli Taddia technical institute near Bologna.He was enrolled into the Italian Royal Air Force during World War II and was assigned as the supervisor of the vehicle maintenance unit at the Italian garrison on the island of Rhodes. After the Germans surrendered Rhodes to the British at the end of the war in 1945, he was taken prisoner and was forced to work on allied vehicles until the next year.
Upon his return to Italy, Ferruccio Lamborghini opened a garage in Pieve di Cento where he modified his old Fiat ‘Topolino’ 500 by replacing its saloon body with an open-top two-seater frame. He also produced a special overhead-valve head for its engine and entered the 1948 Mille Miglia with his custom-made 750-cc car, even though his run ended after crashing into a local restaurant in Fiano, Turin.In 1947, on his father’s request, he urgently built a tractor with a six-cylinder Morris engine, a General Motors transmission, and a Ford differential for conveying power, using parts from military vehicle engines. The model, first of his ‘Carioca’ tractors, contained a fuel atomizer made by him which allowed the vehicle to start on petrol and then switch to diesel to save on the pricy fuel.In the post-war Italy, focused on rebuilding agriculture, the tractor became very popular with his father’s friends, and noticing the demand, Ferruccio Lamborghini established his tractor manufacturing company, Lamborghini Trattori, at his garage. In the following years, the company became one of the largest manufacturers of agricultural equipments in Italy.He soon moved to other businesses, such as the oil heater factory, Lamborghini Bruciatori, which was founded in 1959. The company later diversified into producing air conditioning equipment as well, and shifted to a larger facility, Lamborghini Calor, which had increased production capacity for air conditioners, boilers and burners.As Ferruccio Lamborghini began to amass more wealth, he again turned his attention to fast cars; he bought cars from several manufacturers, and often analyzed and modified them to his liking. After Enzo Ferrari, manufacturer of the Ferrari cars, dismissed his concerns about a Ferrari 250 GT he had bought, he remodeled it to be able to outperform the stock model and decided to launch his own automobile line.In 1963, he founded Automobili Lamborghini, and began producing refined grand touring car models that also became known for providing power and comfort. The company earned widespread reputation following the 1966 launch of the Miura sports coupé, which standardized the rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout for high-performance cars.Following a rapid growth spanning a decade, his companies began facing financial difficulties during the early 1970s, particularly Lamborghini Trattori, which experienced large order cancellations.In 1972, he first sold his entire holding in the tractor company to rival company SAME, and then sold 51% shares of Automobili Lamborghini to friend and Swiss businessman Georges-Henri Rossetti.After giving up a controlling share in the company, he gradually detached himself from the company’s affairs, and following the 1973 worldwide stock-market crash and the oil crisis, sold the rest of the shares. However, he continued to run Lamborghini Calor, the heating and air conditioning company, as well as Lamborghini Oleodinamica, a hydraulic valves and equipment manufacturing company.
Family & Personal Life:
Ferruccio Lamborghini married for the first time soon after his return from the Second World War in 1946. However, his wife, Clelia Monti, died the following year while giving birth to their first child, a boy named Tonino, who later went to Japan and started his clothing and accessories business.In 1974, he bought an estate named ‘La Fiorita’ on the shores of Lake Trasimeno, in Castiglione del Lago, in the province of Perugia of Umbria, central Italy. He spent his time hunting, golfing and producing wine, and even designed his own golf course.After his second marriage with Anna Borgatti ended in divorce, he married Maria Theresa Cane and, fathered a daughter named Patrizia at the age of 58. His daughter now runs the Lamborghini winery on his Umbria estate.Two weeks after suffering a heart attack, 76-year-old Lamborghini died on February 20, 1993, at Silvestrini Hospital in Perugia and was buried at the cemetery of Renazzo. His son, who designed the electric microcar ‘Town Life’, opened a museum in his father’s name in 1995 that was later moved to Argelato, Bologna and is now known as the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum.
Ferruccio Lamborghini, who had been an avid fan of bullfighting, adopted a raging bull as the emblem for his auto company after he founded Automobili Lamborghini.