Happy birthday, Ferruccio!

April 28th 1916 –

April 28th 2023

<<Evelina, tell Ferruccio to come downstairs, it’s dinner time!>>

<<Ferruccio come down, the food is ready>>

<<Tell him that if he doesn’t come down I’ll come up and get him.That boy is always lost behind the constructions of his imagination…!>>

Ferruccio Lamborghini, born in 1916, embodies the archetype of 20th century Italian entrepreneurial genius. He was born into a poor family, in the Ferrara countryside, and from this origin he drew the strength and energy to turn his creativity elsewhere, to build his new world.

Ferruccio is attentive, restless, never satiated with learning and putting into practice the notions he has learnt. The experience of war shapes him and refines his innate mechanical and ideational skills. When he returns home at the end of the conflict, he is a young man ready to forge his own destiny, and in his lively eyes hides the spark of a great undertaking. He realises that the rebirth of Italy rests on agriculture and, combining his peasant spirit with his knowledge of mechanics, he decides that the way forward is the production of tractors. Solid, simple, reliable tractors. And purchasable not only by landowners, but also by small landowners. He put his tenacity into action, went into debt and realised his dream. The 1950s crowned a courageous entrepreneurial path and an attention to detail that only those who start from the bottom are capable of imagining and applying.

Ferruccio is the model of the worker/entrepreneur that marked countless success stories of Italy’s post-World War II era: men who devoted themselves to their idea, nurtured it, made it germinate and grow, remaining at the side of the workers and uniting the employees in an ideal large corporate family. He was not a captain of industry by hereditary legacy or an aristocrat chosen as the continuator of a dynasty: having wiped his hands clean of the earth, he immediately decided to dirty them with the sludge of the engines.  And he would go down hard: every detail had to be as he had thought it out, and if he did not achieve the desired perfection, he would try again and again until he got there.

Legend tells the story of why he came to cars, but it matters little to us in portraying the man Lamborghini. His idea of a car was nothing other than the hyperbole of a tractor. Summed up in one word: mechanical perfection. And this explains his aversion to the world of racing, which he saw as far from generating that repetitive value that Ferruccio perhaps most cherished, the reliability of the brand, the excellence of the name. Everything in him remained linked to his origins: flair, intuition, decisiveness, speed of action, genius. Qualities intertwined, with prodigious alchemy, with the endless straight lines of the endless Emilian plain.

The automotive world always remained alien to him, but he managed to engrave his own unrepeatable legend into it with the entrée of a consummate actor. No one like Ferruccio, however brief his parable, managed to carve out the brand name for himself, almost an expression of his exuberant and jovial personality. ‘Let’s go to Lamborghini’, people used to say. And there he was, waiting for you, eager to convince you to buy one of his expensive and fast cars.

Ferruccio’s relationship with the Miura was first of all sensual, as it is for all of us when we admire its sinuous forms: he was immediately interested and captivated by Marcello Gandini’s design, which came out of the stylist’s hand already completed. But then he was fascinated by the combination of the three extraordinary elements of the car: the chassis, not tubular but in folded and lightened steel, the transverse engine, made in a single block with the gearbox, the bodywork, which dressed the technical prodigy so naturally. He let it be, but followed its realisation step by step, dictating the times, which were always tight for him.

The rest is well-known history: just over six years of production, unparalleled sales success, the admiration of the entire world. When Ferruccio Lamborghini retired, shortly afterwards, in October 1974, he bought a “Rosso Corsa” Miura SV from Piero Ferrari. He kept it with him until his death, not without having decided to adorn the headlights with the ‘eyelashes’ that he himself had ordered to be removed from all SVs, and later dedicating his best wine to the Miura.

If this is not love…