April 28, 1916 – Ferruccio Lamborghini is born

Today you can say happy birthday to a man who reinvented the wheel, or at least doors. The term sports car was used for years to describe top of the line automobiles used mostly in racing. This included early Ferraris. However on this day in 1916 a man was born who would eventually be given credit for building the world’s first supercar. Ferruccio Lamborghini was born in a small Italian town to grape farmers. In 1948 he founded a Lamborghini Trattori, which initially produced tractors and later other agricultural equipment. He would go on to produce oil heaters and air conditioners before starting Automobili Lamborghini in 1963. As legend has it he started the company after having mechanical difficulties with his Ferrari and being unable to speak with Enzo Ferrari, founder of Ferrari, personally about the issue.   Lamborghini got his start in mechanics after being drafted by the Royal Italian Air Force in 1940. He worked on airplanes and other machinery on the Italian garrison on the Island of Rhodes. He was taken prisoner by the British when the island was captured near the end of World War II.   After being released as prisoner of war Lamborghini started a mechanic shop. He began to modify his personal car, a Fiat Topolino, and eventually entered in a famous 1948 Italian race the Mille Miglia. He made it 700 miles before driving the car into the side of a restaurant in Fiano. This caused him to lose interest in road racing for many years.   His hefty wealth allowed him to purchase many fine automobiles throughout his life prior to building them. This included Alfa Romeos, Lancias, a Mercedes 300S, a Jaguar E-Type and two Maseratis. He bought his first Ferrari in 1958, a 250GT. Lamborghini thought the car performed well but lacked the grandance a true Gran Turismo car should have. After a failed meeting with Enzo and being able to modify his own Ferrari to outperform stock ones, he decided to build his own. The result was the 1963 350 GTV prototype which led to the production 350 GT.   In 1967 the Miura was born. Nowadays this mid-engined two seater is often considered the first true supercar. In 1974 Lamborghini retired, selling off most of his interests in his numerous companies. He focused on hunting and making wine, while occasionally dabbling in business. He passed away at age 76 on February 20, 1993 following a heart attack 15 days earlier.

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