Automotive history may be rife with tales of revenge and one-upmanship, but no one can top the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, founder of one of the most outrageous performance car companies in the world, who would’ve turned 100 this week. In 1948, he founded Lamborghini Tractori SpA, and by the mid-’50s, Lamborghini had risen from humble roots to become a wealthy industrialist, expanding into air conditioners and oil heaters — and building an impressive car collection for himself.
By the end of the decade, he had fallen for Ferrari’s beautiful 250GT, buying several. But their lack of durability and comfort frustrated him, and routine mechanical issues soon became unacceptable. He attempted to call Enzo Ferrari to set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss the car’s problems; after all, they were both successful Southern Italian industrialists, it would be a meeting of equals. Instead, Ferrari refused to speak with him and, according to legend, told aides that he didn’t need advice from a tractor builder.
Lamborghini was incensed, and immediately shifted his focus to building the greatest grand touring cars in the world. They would be beautiful, fast, and comfortable, and most importantly, beat Ferrari at its own game. At the 1963 Turin Motor Show, the company debuted its 350 GTV prototype, and would enter production at the 350 GT the next year. In 1966, it would debut the Miura (generally acknowledged as the world’s first supercar), and the rest, as they say, is history.
But the triumph of the Miura almost never happened. Lamborghini himself was highly skeptical of the car, and believed that they would be lucky to find 25 buyers. Lamborghini wanted to build GT cars, and he believed a low-slung, mid-engined show-stopper was the opposite of what his customers wanted. Of course, he was wrong, and the Miura set the template for every great Lamborghini to come since.
Ferruccio Lamborghini left his namesake in 1974 and retired to central Italy, where he focused on winemaking until his death in 1993. And while his company has come to adopt the Miura’s mid-engined wedge-shaped template as gospel, it’s still managed to build a few cars that don’t exactly seem to fit the company’s charging bull badge, and would’ve made the founder happy. In honor of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s centennial, here are eight of the weirdest production Lamborghinis of all-time.