Can’t wait for the new Lambo SUV? Need something that signposts your utter contempt for fellow man? Want to drive in the tyre treads of Colonel Gadaffi, Pablo Escobar, Tina Turner, Hunter S. Thompson, Saddam Hussein’s son Uday and Sylvester Stallone? You need an LM002.
Styled with little more than a ruler and a tea break, the brutalist aluminium-panelled SUV was the result of an aborted – and wholly incongruous- military vehicle project.
The Italian firm threw together a rear-engined Chrysler V8-powered off-roader, with a view to flogging it to the US military. Only it was rubbish. The Americans promptly destroyed all the test mules and poured money into Hummer’s coffers instead.
Unperturbed, Lambo had a re-think. It turned out that the posterior engined layout -a mainstay of its sports cars – engendered truly shocking handling, so it bunged the engine in the front. Then the engineers realised that they actually made a pretty decent engine themselves, so they threw away the Chrysler lump and dropped in a 5.2-litre Countach V12.
De-mobbing continued inside; its austere warzone-spec interior was lavished with all manor of Italianette frivolity. State-of-the-eighties luxe included leather seats, tinted electric windows, air conditioning and hoofing great big stereo mounted in the roof. And then they put on a set of colossal Pirelli Scoripon tyres – specially commissioned with custom run-flat treads, fitted in readiness for its launch in 1982.
The result was a biblically thirsty SUV with its crosshairs settled firmly on the Middle Eastern market: its bespoke tyres could be specced for mixed use or sand-only, the radiator was enormous and Lambo fitted a huge large air filter, which made it perfect for thumping hither, thither and yon between oilfields.
If you had the Riyals you could even spec a super-hot version called the L804. It got a 7.2-litre marine V12, which was ordinarily fitted to Class 1 (read: really bloody fast) offshore powerboats.
If you see any of the 301 LM002s in the wild, you should check the roof. If there’s an opening flap over the back seats it could be one of the 100 LM002s President Gaddafi ordered for the Libyan army. You won’t be able to spot Saddam’s son’s, though – the American military merrily blew it up in 2004 during a test exercise to simulate the effects of a car bomb. Yes. A “test exercise”.