Lamborghini: Never Insult a Tractor Tycoon

Lamborghini: Never Insult a Tractor Tycoon

Previously on Behind the Business, we looked
at how an Italian blacksmith took the automotive
world by storm.
Like many great innovators, Enzo Ferrari was
a demanding, proud and spirited man.
It is precisely this incendiary mix of personality
traits that eventually and rather amusingly
led to the creation of Ferrari’s greatest
rival and the topic of this week’s Behind
the Business video – Lamborghini.
As with Enzo Ferrari, the story of Lamborghini
once again takes us to the northern Italian
province of Emilia-Romagna in the quiet township
of Renazzo di Cento.
It is there that poor grape farmers Antonio
and Evelina Lamborghini raised their son Ferruccio
among the family’s vineyards.
Young Ferruccio was born a Taurus, though
you’ll see why that’s important a little
bit later.
More importantly, he was born in 1916, smack
dab in the middle of the First World War.
Despite this, Ferruccio grew up to be hopeful
and ambitious, but like most poor Italians
during the early 20th century he was faced
with one crucial dilemma.
He could either stick with traditional employment
as a farmer or he could try to stay ahead
of the curve and risk taking up factory and
industrial work.
For Ferruccio, however, the choice was clear:
he was obsessed with machines and could hardly
keep away from his father’s garage.
This eventually led him to study mechanics
and in 1935 he felt confident enough to start
his own workshop.
Five years later, however, Ferruccio found
himself torn from his civilian life thanks
to the Second World War.
He was drafted by the Royal Italian Air Force
in 1940 and was assigned as a mechanic to
the garrison at the Greek island of Rhodes.
In the course of his duties, Ferruccio gained
valuable experience with scrapping and repurposing
old machinery.
In 1943, however, after Italy surrendered,
a German formation forcibly took over the
garrison and evicted their former allies.
Ferruccio could’ve left, but he decided
to stay on as a civilian and with the permission
of the Germans he started operating his own
As much as the Germans loved Lamborghini’s
technical aptitude, 1945 came around and with
it arrived the Allied forces.
They took everyone in the garrison prisoner,
but after they saw what Ferruccio could do
they got him to work fixing their vehicles
for a year until they finally sent him home
in 1946.
Upon coming back to Italy, Ferruccio opened
another short-lived workshop, but soon after
he was struck by a brilliant idea.
His experience with both Allied and Axis vehicles
gave him a powerful edge above most other
He knew that post-war Italy would need to
increase its agricultural production to mend
the wounds of war, and where better to get
the machinery to do so than from the vast
stockpiles of military equipment Mussolini’s
government had commissioned?
Ferruccio’s ambitious plan was set in motion
near the end of 1947 when he founded his first
With just three other mechanics and 2,000
lira in initial capital, Ferruccio took the
large-scale production of affordable tractors
into his own hands.
His main supplier was ARAR, the government-owned
company responsible for selling all the excess
military equipment left after the war.
By taking an old British Morris engine and
modifying it to run on cheap diesel instead
of expensive petrol, Ferruccio created a groundbreakingly
affordable tractor that he could sell all
across Italy.
This was to be the first of his ‘Carioca’
tractors, unveiled on February 3rd, 1948 and
Italy went nuts over them.
The design was so successful that Ferruccio
started a second company, Lamborghini Trattori.
He hired four new workers, bought a factory
in Cento and borrowed 10 million liras backed
by his family’s grape farm in order to buy
hundreds of Morris, Perkins and Dodge engines
from ARAR.
He also decided to enter a prestigious endurance
race called the Mille Miglia.
He drove his overhauled Fiat Topolino, but
he crashed into the side of a restaurant and
gave up racing for the rest of his life.
Despite this, his company was doing great
and by 1950, Trattori had a workforce of 30
people and could produce upwards of 200 tractors
per year.
Demand was growing rapidly and so in 1951
Ferruccio acquired 1,000 m2 of land upon which
he built a new factory.
1951 also saw the introduction of the L33
tractor, whose popularity would greatly benefit
from the government subsidies to farmers who
used domestically-built machinery.
After signing a deal with Motorenwerken Mannheim
for their diesel engines, Lamborghini could
now produce tractors entirely on their own.
Ferruccio’s new factory produced its first
tractor in 1956 and by that point he had streamlined
his engine design around three tiers of horsepower.
Ferruccio also traveled across the Atlantic
to buy heating and air-conditioning technologies
from the US.
By the early 1960s, Lamborghini’s tractor
factory had 400 employees churning out as
many as 30 tractors a day.
Some of their greatest developments during
the time were a series of air-cooled tractor
engines and even helicopter concepts, though
the government never approved them.
In 1961 Ferruccio unveiled a separate oil-heater
factory called and by that point he was so
rich that he decided to indulge in his love
of sports cars.
Being a learned mechanic himself, Ferruccio
was very critical of any engineering faults
he found in any of cars he owned.
Among them were two Alfa Romeos, two Maseratis,
a Jaguar E-type, a Mercedes Benz, and, of
course, several Ferraris.
The Ferraris especially appealed to Ferruccio,
but he found them to be needlessly noisy and
thought they had a barebones interior.
He was particularly exasperated by the peculiar
tendency of the Ferraris to constantly have
their clutch break down.
After finally getting sick of all the repair
bills, Ferruccio took the problematic vehicle
straight to Modena, where he personally confronted
Enzo Ferrari about the clutches.
According to Ferrucio, Enzo basically brushed
him off and told him to stick to driving tractors.
That’s not terribly surprising coming from
the man who fired most of his senior staff
when they complained about his wife, but Ferruccio
saw it as a challenge.
He was well aware of the profits to be had
in the gran turismo industry and so in 1963,
the tractor tycoon established an automobile
factory near Sant’Agata.
Thus, out of the primordial desire to show
Enzo the middle finger, Ferruccio created
Automobili Lamborghini.
For the brand’s emblem, he chose a bull:
after all it was his own astrological sign
and he also had a deep fascination for bullfighting.
This rather fearsome creature proved to be
a suitable representation of Lamborghini’s
company as it charged through milestones year
after year.
The first working Lamborghini, the GT 350,
was created in 1964 with the help of young
engineer Paolo Stanzani.
It incorporated some extremely impressive
technology, including a V12 engine, five-speed
transmission, four-wheel disk brakes, and
four-wheel independent suspension.
Creating the GT 350 was not easy and its prototype
suffered from some serious design flaws that
were made very apparent during its rushed
entry into the 1963 auto show in Turin.
The most notable issue was the fact that the
engine itself would not even fit within the
car’s body panels.
Ferruccio’s solution was to fill the compartment
with bricks and to keep the lid closed at
all times.
After all, the show was about looking at cars,
not driving them.
In the end, the GT 350 was a technical masterpiece
and it garnered praise from critics and customers
1966 brought the 400 GT and the Miura P400.
The Miura was especially notable for establishing
the Rear-mid-Engine layout as the standard
for all high-performance cars of the era,
a standard that is still in use today.
It was originally developed as a street-racing
vehicle by a team of bold engineers headed
by Marcello Gandini.
They kept the project secret from Ferruccio,
since he was against building race cars due
to his own racing incident in 1948.
When Ferruccio learned of the new design,
he was charmed enough not to scrap it, but
he doubled down on his no-racing policy.
1968 saw the Espada establish itself as one
of Lamborghini’s greatest classics along
with the Islero 400 GT.
The company continued its successful streak,
debuting celebrated models like the Countach
LP500, the Urraco P250, and the Jarama 400
The 1970s, however, would be troubled times
for Lamborghini.
In 1973, two years after the abolishment of
the Bretton Woods system, the global stock
market experienced a dramatic crash, with
the Dow erasing nearly half of its value.
At the same time, OAPEC started an oil embargo,
which greatly raised the price of fuel and
plunged the automotive world into its own
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Lamborghini
Trattori was also hurt when a deal to supply
Bolivia with 5,000 tractors was cancelled
after the 1971 coup by Hugo Banzer.
Ferruccio did his best to keep his various
enterprises alive:
He eventually found buyers for the unsold
tractors and he also relocated his oil heater
factory to Dosso in Nigeria.
In the end though he was forced to sell shares
of Lamborghini to outside investors in order
to save his business from bankruptcy.
The crisis broke Ferruccio, and although he
managed to save Lamborghini, he retired in
the face of the widespread strikes and unionization
that had spread across Italy.
In 1973 he sold the Trattori business to another
Italian tractor manufacturer.
A year later he sold his remaining 49% stake
in Automobili Lamborghini to a Swiss businessman:
René Leimer.
A friend of René had previously bought the
remaining 51% and together they hoped to revive
the brand.
Despite their attempts, they failed and eventually
Automobili Lamborghini was forced into liquidation.
In 1980, the Italian government sold Lamborghini
for $3 million to the Mimran brothers, two
French entrepreneurs who held huge sugar cane
plantations and flour mills in Africa.
The brothers ambitiously wanted to renovate
all Lamborghini facilities and to assemble
a new team of engineers, but they quickly
ran over budget and ended up selling the company.
In 1987 Lamborghini went into the hands of
Chrysler, who wanted to import the luxury
car brand into the United States.
Less than 5 years later, however, Lamborghini
still hadn’t turned a profit, and so Chrysler
sold it to an Indonesian conglomerate.
The Indonesians actually managed to restore
the brand somewhat and in 1996 Lamborghini
made a modest profit of $120,000.
As luck would have it, in 1998 a financial
crisis struck Asia and Lamborghini got sold
This time, the buyer was Ferdinand Piëch
of Volkswagen, who had also purchased Bentley
and Bugatti the same year.
Under the paternal care of Volkswagen, Lamborghini
found its structure heavily streamlined.
This allowed it to finally start taking back
its place in the luxury sportscar market.
To meet the challenges of the 21st century
Lamborghini has been aggressively marketing
its brand name, while at the same time investing
heavily into material research and development.
They have diversified their cars to appeal
to a wider range of budgets, though even their
lowest prices are still prohibitively expensive
to the average Joe.
The pinnacle of success for the modern Lamborghini
is undoubtedly the Gallardo, which has, over
the course of its ten year production run,
sold slightly over 14,000 units, thus becoming
Lamborghini’s most popular design ever!
2015 marked the best year in the company’s
history, as their sales jumped from just over
two and a half thousand cars to over 3 thousand.
They’re already manufacturing other heavy-hitters
such as the Urus SUV concept or the Huracan,
successor of the Gallardo.
So far it appears that Lamborghini’s game
of corporate hot-potato has finally come to
an end, at least for the time being.
It’s safe to say, though, that if Ferruccio
could see his company now, he would be pleased
to learn that Lamborghini is once again playing
the red flag to Ferrari’s bull.
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100 Replies to “Lamborghini: Never Insult a Tractor Tycoon”

  1. About the mistake at 11:05 where I show an Aventador when talking about the Gallardo … That's a bad mistake on my part and I'm sorry to have made it. I hope that, despite it, you've still found the video interesting and educational! I'll do my best to keep track of the 300 image files better for next time, and until then:

  2. when you wan't to make a story video about Lamborghini but you really like video games .

    nice video BTW ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. lambo is the rocky balboa of cars manufacturer, the underdog that nothing can keep down.
    can't wait for them to get into the hypercar bisness, even if i will never be able to affort even a wheel, i don't give a damn, i want them to spank ferrari like an unwanted red haired step child.

  4. Id be Pissed if i was kicked out of a Lamborghini Meet up for showing up in a DLA 35 Super

  5. Thats the reason why i dont call tractor Sucks when my friends are talking about tractors are "slow" and im always telling them that tractors are cool and they are made by the creator of Lamborghini ๐Ÿ˜

  6. There should be a collaboration between Lamborghini and Ferrari.๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Interesting documentary but I'd like to point out to the error at 8:42 that talks about Hugo Banzer but shows the picture of Augusto Pinochet instead….

  8. It wa so painful to listen the narator+s bad and wrong pronounciation of the cars' names. Typical American ignorance.

  9. I've always thought the story of Lamborghini having to wait and wait for Ferrari and having that be the reason for him to start making his own cars…as a fable. They knew each other, their goals, views, were both Italians, c' mon.

  10. เทƒเท’เถญเท”เถธเทŠ เถธเถฝเท“เท‚ เถ’เถšเถฑเทเถบเถš says:

    I love lamborghini โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

  11. Motherf. ..king bullshit logic engine
    Only motherf. ….king bastards and sluts bitches logic like internal combustion engines ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  12. The dimensions at 4:05 appear to indicate an area of 1,000,000 square metres rather than the 1,000 square metres mentioned. A factory built on 1,000 square metres would be very small!

  13. The saluting general at 8:42 is Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, not former Bolivian President Hugo Banzer. I respect the effort that you put into these videos but it might pay to tighten up on these mistakes for accuracy.


  15. Enzo Ferrari Had got an incredible talent to make hard to defeat enemies.
    – Insulted a well known Tractor dealer: Lamborghini was born and stealed Automotive show with Lamborghini Miura.
    – Teared Ford's contract apart for no reason at all: Ford GT was born and beat Ferrari top cars at LeMans.

  16. Never insult a tractor factory because in the future ferguson will make hypercars too.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  17. ์ „๋ถ„์ด ๋งŽ๊ธฐ ๋•Œ๋ฌธ์— ๋ง‘์€ ๊ตญ๋ฌผ์„ ๋‚ด๊ธฐ ์–ด๋ ต๋‹ค๋Š” ๊ฒƒ๋„ ๋‹จ์ ์ด
    ๋‹ค. ์นด๋ ˆ๊ฐ™์ด ์ ์„ฑ์ด ํ•„์š”ํ•˜๊ณ  ์ž๊ทน์ด ๊ฐ•ํ•œ ์š”๋ฆฌ๋ฅผ ํ•  ๋•Œ์—๋Š”
    ์ด๊ฒƒ์ด ์žฅ์ ์ด ๋˜๊ธฐ๋„ ํ•˜์ง€๋งŒ, ๋ง‘์€ ๊ตญ์— ๋„ฃ์œผ๋ฉด ๋“์ด๋ฉด ๋“์ผ์ˆ˜
    ๋ก ์ „๋ถ„ ๋•Œ๋ฌธ์— ๊ตญ๋ฌผ์ด ํ…ํ…ํ•ด์ง„๋‹ค. ๊ทธ๋‚˜๋งˆ ํ•œ๊ตญ์— ๋งŽ์€ ์ ์งˆ
    ๊ฐ์ž๊ฐ€ ๋ง‘์€ ๊ตญ๋ฌผ์ด ์ž˜ ๋‚˜์˜ค๋Š” ํŽธ์ด๋‹ค.

    ๊ฐ์ž๋Š” ํœด๋ฉด์„ฑ์ด ์žˆ์–ด ์ˆ˜ํ™• ์งํ›„์—๋Š” ์กฐ๊ฑด์ด ๋งž๋”๋ผ๋„ ์‹น์ด ๋‚˜
    ์ง€ ์•Š๋Š”๋‹ค. ํ’ˆ์ข…์— ๋”ฐ๋ผ ๋‹ค๋ฅด์ง€๋งŒ 2-4๋‹ฌ ์ •๋„ ์ง€๋‚˜์•ผ ํœด๋ฉดํƒ€
    ํŒŒ๊ฐ€ ๋˜๊ธฐ ๋•Œ๋ฌธ์— ์žฌ๋ฐฐ์‹œ๊ธฐ๋ฅผ ์ž˜ ๊ณ ๋ คํ•ด์•ผํ•œ๋‹ค. ์ด๊ฒƒ์€ ๋‹จ์ ๋งŒ
    ์€ ์•„๋‹Œ๊ฒŒ ๊ฐ์ž์˜ ์‹น์—๋Š” ๋…์ด ์žˆ๋Š”๋ฐ ๊ทธ ์‹น์ด ๋‚˜์ง€ ์•Š์œผ๋‹ˆ ๋‹น
    ์—ฐํžˆ ๋ณด๊ด€์— ๋„์›€์ด ๋œ๋‹ค.

  18. Convinced nearly all successful mechanics are autistic, ya gotta be focused to create machines that run well enough to make history. Certain that most who run banks are also autistic, again with the focus. Explains so much about inventors and successful businesses folks.

  19. Came to see a white 80's LP400… This was very interesting, BUT to have blown through the most iconic 80's Countach period seems almost criminal! It may not have been good business wise, but those cars now sell between $300k-1m. I even have a mug on my desk with one on it. I wonder how many of those tractors are still around or even still in use.

  20. Man… if only Indonesia keep the Lambo back then, it'll be awesome. I mean, they can't even make their own car right now, lol..

  21. Do you guys know any other successful companies that was started because someone was really pissed off? Really interested in such stories.

  22. What a damn goofy ass money scheme. Five dollars for a vote on the next video? Your target market is obviously morons.

  23. 8:42 just a correction, the military guy that appears isn"t hugo banzer, in fact he is Augusto Pinochet dictator from Chile, not Bolivia

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