Eight Great Volkswagen-Italdesign Collaborations

1995 Lamborghini Cala
Talk about déjà-vu. Eight years before Italdesign was hired to design the Lamborghini Gallardo, a smaller, more affordable Lamborghini, it was hired to design the Cala -- a smaller, more affordable Lamborghini.

Lamborghini's portfolio was bolstered with the 1990 launch of the Diablo, but the company had no replacement for the less-expensive Jalpa, which died in 1988. At the time, parent firm Chrysler saw no need to replace it, but that mentality shifted once the Indonesian Megatech consortium took over in 1994. A less-expensive Lamborghini -- perhaps one utilizing a V-10 -- was seen as key to introducing new customers to the brand and expanding the company's marketshare.

Megatech wasted little time -- the L140 program was launched soon after it bought the company, and early prototypes (which closely resembled Diablos) were shown to dealers that November. The public would have its first look at the car come March of 1995, when Italdesign unveiled the Cala at the 1995 Geneva motor show. Lamborghini executives hinted the car was a preview of the new "baby Lambo," and even let some journalists drive the functioning show car on the open road.

Sadly, the project never came to fruition. After the Indonesian owners ran into a number of legal, fiscal, and political troubles, Lamborghini was sold to Audi, and the Cala was shelved. Executives, however, still saw value in a smaller Lamborghini, and ultimately pushed for the addition of the Gallardo to the portfolio. A wise decision, as it's now the brand's most popular product.

The front of the car doesn't look very "pedestrian-friendly". If someone was hit by the car, the injuries would be serious. It would be surprising if European regulations didn't outlaw such a configuration. Furthermore, it really isn't an aerodynamically advantageous; a small change is relative wind could cause the car to lift, as been the case with many race cars, even at moderate speeds.

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