Lamborghini LM002: When Lamborghini Made a Pickup Truck
Although not every low-production limited-edition truck is valuable, the classic pickup market is beginning to heat up. Several customized trucks have commanded big prices at past auctions. But, many of the in-demand vintage pickups are utilitarian workhorses. Trucks made to work, rugged and capable. These kinds of qualities are why old trucks tend to hold their value. These are also words don’t usually describe automotive exotics, such as Lamborghini. Thing is, once upon a time, Lamborghini did make a truck. Not the current too-popular Urus. The Lamborghini LM002, the Rambo Lambo, the one many enthusiasts claim is an SUV, is actually a pickup truck.
A Brief History of the Rambo Lambo
The LM002 wasn’t originally intended as a production vehicle. Or rather, not a civilian production vehicle.
In the mid-1970s, faced with the potential of bankruptcy, Lamborghini partnered with American firm MTI to produce a Jeep replacement for the US military. This partnership resulted in the 1977 Cheetah. Unfortunately, the Lambo design was based too-heavily on a competitor’s design. And Lamborghini had also diverted funds away from its project with BMW. Soon, Lamborghini was left with one prototype, but no partners and no contracts.
However, by 1981 Lamborghini had new investors, and the company salvaged the Cheetah project into the LM001. Originally powered by a mid-mounted V8, the production version was going to have a 5.0-liter V12. But the truck was top-heavy, and putting the engine in the middle proved dangerous. So once again, Lamborghini had to redesign it.
Finally, in 1986, Lamborghini debuted the LM002. Its front-mounted 5.2-liter V12 produced 444 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque and came with a five-speed manual transmission. It also had four-wheel drive and three locking differentials. Chrysler then bought Lamborghini in 1987 and brought the LM002 to the US. Here, the V12 was upgraded with fuel injection and cylinder heads from the Diablo to develop almost 500 hp. At the time, Autotrader reports, the Range Rover had 182 hp.
Why the Lamborghini LM002 Is Actually a Pickup Truck
In Doug DeMuro’s video on the LM002, one of the features he describes is in the rear of the car. Normally, the rear of the LM002 is covered. But unclipping the cover and unlatching the tailgate reveals a rear seating area. And that’s what makes the Rambo Lambo actually a pickup, not an SUV.
To be a pickup, a vehicle must have an open bed. Even if the vehicle is based on a car, like the Ford Ranchero or Chevrolet El Camino, it can still be a pickup. Although the LM002 has a cover, it can be totally removed, leaving an open—if tiny—bed. And the seats don’t disqualify the Lambo from pickup truck status. The station wagon-based Subaru BRAT was a pickup that came with rear-facing seats in the bed. While this feature was so the BRAT could avoid the US “chicken tax”, it was nevertheless a pickup with factory-supplied seats in the bed.
The Lamborghini LM002 Today
Like many classic pickups, the Lamborghini LM002 has been rising in value. According to Road & Track, in 1990 the LM002 retailed for $120,000 (just under $236,000 in today’s dollars). Today, Hagerty values a pristine LM002 at $388,000.
Also, as with many classic trucks, LM002 parts are difficult and expensive to come by. For several years, the hardest parts to source were the tires. The original ones were LM002-specific Pirelli run-flat tires lined with Kevlar. Pirelli briefly brought them back into production, but they cost up to $5000 per tire.
Still, for some people, owning a Lamborghini pickup truck might be worth any cost.