Those expensive gallons of high-test will be sucked up fairly quickly (one every eight miles or so) by a four-valve-per-cylinder V-12 found more often in a Countach Quattrovalvole. Massive filters residing under the huge hood bulges feed clean air to six dual-barrel Weber carburetors, and the result is 455 hp, 35 hp more than in the low-slung, exotic sports car. Despite its weight, the LM002 hustles to 60 mph in only 7.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 118 mph, according to contemporary road tests. Those figures were mind-blowing twenty years ago, and they're still impressive by today's truck standards.
Speaking of modern trucks, the LM002 outweighs the Hummer H3T Alpha four-door pickup featured elsewhere in this issue by 1700 pounds despite being almost twenty inches shorter in length. The Lambo and the H3T share more than their four-door-pickup layout, though-they're actually distant cousins. As a direct descendant of the Lamborghini Cheetah, the comedic LM002 is the result of a pretty serious family drama. The Cheetah, presented at the 1977 Geneva auto show, was a prototype off-road military vehicle that used a rear-mounted Chrysler V-8 engine. Its biggest problem, other than an unfortunate tendency to become airborne at high speeds, was that it was suspiciously similar to the FMC XR311-another vehicle under development for military use. FMC threatened Lamborghini with legal action, and work on the Cheetah was stopped. The program for which these vehicles were conceived also produced the HMMWV, which was sold to the public as the H1, which eventually begat the Hummer brand.
A few years after the Cheetah's smoke cleared, Lamborghini recognized a growing interest in military hardware and continued development of the LM, albeit for civilian consumption in the Middle East and elsewhere. The result is the Rambo Lambo, as it's been nicknamed, that you see here. The big, butch LM sold for about $120,000 when it arrived in the U.S. in 1987-about the same price as the Countach that it could easily run over. Even today, the LM002 is expensive, with book values at least twice what a new H3T costs. But times have changed, and while a Hummer is a PR nightmare for all but the most environmentally unconscious, the LM002 remains the ultimate tanklike status symbol. Its hideous fuel consumption, flamboyant excess, and quirky compromises are easily nixed by its Italian heritage, scarcity, and impressive performance. And besides, how can you hate something you can barely describe?
Engine: 5.2L DOHC V-12, 455 hp, 368 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Drive: Rear- and 4-wheel
Suspension, front: Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Control arms, coil springs
Brakes f/r: Dual caliper discs/drums
Weight: 6780 lb
The LM002 is worth owning for the sound track alone-the Countach V-12 screams bloody murder just keeping up with other cars on the road. Or running them over. The Italian precursor to the Hummer is a blast to drive and fantastic to look at-and you'll never see another one in the Whole Foods parking lot.