Founded by Ferruccio Lamborghini, Lamborghini started out as a tractor-building company in the Italian village of Sant'Agata Bolognese, between Bologna and Modena. However, Ferruccio Lamborghini's priorities changed when he went to meet Enzo Ferrari at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, to complain about the quality of the clutch in his Ferrari 250. Ferruccio received a dismissive answer from Ferrari, who said to Lamborghini that "the problem is not with the car, but rather, the driver," and suggested he look after his tractors. A resentful Lamborghini returned to his factory, and after dismounting the transmission from the defective Ferrari, discovered that it was built with the very same transmission used in his own tractors. Encouraged by the discovery, Ferruccio Lamborghini called upon the talents of Giotto Bizzarrini, Gian Paolo Dallara, and Franco Scaglione, who worked on what Ferruccio envisioned as his grand tourer to rival Ferrari. The result would eventual become the GTV prototype. The following year, Lamborghini would debut the 350GT.
Under Ferruccio Lamborghini
The 350GT was followed by the 400GT. Profits from the 400GT and its predecessor gave the company ample capital to design its first sports car, the Lamborghini Miura. The chassis of the new Miura was introduced by Ferruccio himself at the November 1965 Turin Auto Show. The car's engine was transversely mounted. The styling was executed by Marcello Gandini in less than a year. The completed car was displayed at the March 1966 Geneva Auto Show. The car's name was taken from the famed fighting-bull trainer, Don Eduardo Miura. One hundred and eleven Miuras were sold in 1967. Seven hundred and sixty-one were made in total. The Miura propelled the company into the small world of exotic car manufacturers.
The Espada, a four-seat car based on the Marzal concept car, was developed alongside of the Miura. The name Espada means sword in Spanish, and referred to the sword used by the matador in bullfighting. Using the 4-litre V12 in a conventional front engine layout, the low-slung touring car could attain a top speed of approximately 150mph (240km/h). An interesting feature of the Espada was a glass taillight panel that used the same taillights as the contemporary Fiat 124 Coupé. The Espada received minor improvements over its production, resulting in three distinct series.