May 24 2013, 1:17pm CDT | by Mustafa Syed
It is one of the oldest rivalries of automotive history, Ferrari against Lamborghini. Both automakers are Italian, both have been known for their flamboyant style, and break-neck performance and most importantly the charisma that their badges represent. However, who reigns supreme? Which emblem can claim the top spot?
To understand the competition between these two brands a look into their past is required. Tracing back Ferrari and Lamborghini’s history to where it all began.
Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 and was known as Scuderia Ferrari. The company sponsored drivers and manufactured racecars before moving into actual street legal production of its vehicles. Enzo Ferrari was not initially interested with aspect of making street legal production cars but certain external circumstances forced Enzo to build street legal racer to fund his Scuderia Ferrari Company. Ferrari released the 125 S, the first road car produced and manufactured under the Ferrari trademark. After the first few years of trial and error, Enzo Ferrari went on to make numerous famous models granting him great success and respect throughout the motoring world. Before his death in 1988, Enzo made arguably one of the best supercars in the world, the F40; this was a special limited edition model to mark the 40th anniversary of Ferrari.
Lamborghini had a very interesting birth into the world of motorcars. The company was established by Ferrucio Lamborghini. Ferrucio served as a mechanic in the Italian Royal Air Force during World War 2 and went on to start his own tractor company. By the mid 1950’s Ferrucio’s company had become the largest agricultural company in Italy. Due to his enormous success Ferrucio was able to spoil himself with the finest in luxury cars, his collection consisted of various Alfa Romeos, Lancias, Maserati’s and a Mercedes Benz. While amassing his collection, Ferrucio purchased his first Ferrari; a 250GT. Ferrucio did have a great liking for Ferraris but admitted that they were too noisy to be road cars and compared them to be repurposed track cars.
The rivalry began when Lamborghini noticed that the clutch of one his Ferrari’s was broken and was of similar make and type to the one’s he used on his tractors. This displeased Lamborghini and he went to Enzo to seek a better alternative for his clutch. Enzo replied by claiming that Lamborghini was only a tractor manufacturer and had no idea about the mechanics of a sports car. This infuriated Ferrucio Lamborghini and inspired him to start automobile manufacturing with the sole purpose of creating the ultimate grand tourer.
This new feud resulted in the production of some of the most beautiful cars the world has ever seen. Lamborghini released its first sports car, the 350 GT, in 1962. It used the same sort of displacement to the Ferrari 3 liter V12 used in the 125 S but the engine was designed to be less aggressive considering its main use was outside the racetrack. Jump ahead a few years to and both marks produce one of their most iconic cars to date. Lamborghini reveals the magnificent Miura while Ferrari unleashed the F40.
The Miura was the first ever, high performance mid-engined two-seater sports to car to enter the market. It was bedroom poster car for children at that age. It set the standard of what a supercar must be. Its radical looks enthralled millions and caused great hype throughout the motoring world.
However, Ferrari had a different idea in mind. The F40 was an all out stripped supercar adapted slightly for the road. It was Enzo’s parting gift with this world. The F40 had the performance and power unmatchable by anything on the road at that time. It was lightweight and had a V8 that propelled it from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. The F40 gained fame for being the first road legal production car to break 200 mph.
Though the Miura and the F40 came from different time periods one thing begins to take shape regarding the two pedigrees, Lamborghini was more interested on the presence that its car had while Ferrari was more of a driver’s car.
Throughout the years, Lamborghini has produced some of the most astonishing and breath taking cars to date. The Countach and the Diablo amongst many were the benchmark for style and performance. Ferrari may not have made the same number of pretty cars but they did have a higher count for better road cars.
Looking at the current lineup of Ferrari and Lamborghini, changes are evident. Ferrari has concentrated a bit more on the appearance to its cars and Lamborghini has given more importance to performance over styling.
Regarded as the best mid-engined supercar of its time, the Ferrari 458 Italia has been the definition of excellence with respect to handling and performance. However, the looks outshine everything else. The 458 is amongst very few beautiful Ferraris. This is a positive sign from the company and it seems to have understood this because the FF and F12 Berlinetta are both stunning beauties to look at.
Lamborghini brought in the Aventador. The F22 fighter jet styling really brings bring the Lamborghini persona. Don’t be fooled by the appearance. This car packs as much of a punch as many hyper-cars out there. The V12 performance is unrivaled too and the handling is supreme. Lamborghini itself admits that they changed the order of preference and gave handling a higher importance than top speed or acceleration.
Ferrari has always had class. An elite group of people defined its presence and ownership. To own a Ferrari was a big deal and they worked meticulously to make sure that their brand image remained that way. Lamborghini always captured the market for wall poster supercars. It had the panache and ego for the cars it produced; hence, its market remained with the youth of the crowd. A difference can be seen in today’s world, the question remains will this ruin the tradition that had been set by their owners so long ago?
Mustafa Syed is an avid car enthusiast and has been a car fanatic ever since childhood.
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