The astrological sign of the Taurus is a synonym for power, stubbornness and charisma, which are all distinctive traits of a strong and determined personality. In ancient times, the bull was an animal which was venerated in all Mediterranean civilizations and it is a redundant character in classic mythology. Perhaps, the most famous example is Cretan one, the father of the Minotaur. It was a ferocious beast, able to spit fires from its nostrils and to destroy anything that crossed its path. It was created by Poseidon as the most perfect example of regality and strenght with the purpose to be sacrified in his honour by Minos, the King of Crete. When he concealed the Bull in order to preserve its beauty, Poseidon turned the animal into an implacable monster, who would destroy the Island. According to the myths, the only being that was able to defeat it was Hercules, who in his seventh labor, chocked it to death.
The Bull is a symbol of brutal regalty: it is an ensemble of respect, fascination and power. Why it was chosen by Ferruccio Lamborghini to be the symbol of his car Factory was not by chance: not only was he an avid Corrida enthusiast but also because this animal was his zodiacal sign. Since 1963, these automobiles have been considered as the real Bull of the automotive world: they're pure furies, as they're as fierce as much as they're beautiful.
The history of Lamborghini is an history of icons: each car that comes out from the gates of Sant'Agata has always been conceived to be a perfect object of desire. Muscular, powerful and striking to look at, the “Lambos” are the perfect incarnation of the Cretan Bull. In its almost 60 years of history, the Factory produced almost exclusively 12 cylider GT's, of which the most representative is (aside from the Miura, of course) is the Countach, the maximum expression of what a Lamborghini should be. When it came out in 1973, it was the first production supercar fitted with vertical doors and with the transmission mounted in front of the engine. With 370 horsepower, it was the fastest series production motorcar in the World and it immediately became a landmark Italian gran turismo.
Just like a bull, it had a brutal and susceptible behaviour, which was easy to enrage and it required skill to tame: today, it would be the perfect car for Hercules! The Countach needs to be driven with the whole body and with no distractions: it is the perfect therapy for those looking for a pure adrenaline rush. Its iconic wedge shape design with the “cab forward” architecture and minimal front overhangs make it the Queen of all Lamborghinis.
It is the purest expression of a 12 cylinder from Sant’Agata: until the arrival of the Gallardo in 2003 (and with the sole exception of the Silhouette, Jalpa and Urraco) it was the only type of engine used by Lamborghini. The 5 litre V10 (later enlarged to 5.2 in the second generation) was the first engine of this type to be mounted on a car from Sant’Agata.
The “Baby Lambo” as it was known by its clientele, was a huge success: derived from the Italdesign's Calà, it followed the style and technical solutions. The final design by Giugiaro and Luc Donkerwolke of 2003 created a fabulous supercar, which was compact, futuristic and simple in its lines and immediately capable to become a favourite among enthusiasts.
Was the Cretan Bull been finally tamed? The Gallardo didn't have a particularly extreme design and it didn't come with vertical doors...was it an insult to Lamborghini's legendary taurine power? Still to this day, the facts show otherwise. On the road it is composed and extremely fast on the road, it exhibits the classic behaviour of a supercar from Sant'Agata: it's her who drives you and not vice-versa! You have to drive with anger, take decisions in a heartbeat and always fight not to be overrun by the car. For pure fun, the four wheel drive system is not the best but it grants precision and effective on the road.
The Gallardo is the daughter of the Countach: if the latter is the Cretan Bull, the first is just like the Minotaur. Myths never die: fascinating in their details, they will always be handed down from generation to generation until they become tangible and concrete legends.
Words: Jacopo Villa, contributor
Photos: Sajin Park
Cars: courtesy of Autovergiate.it