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The Urus is not Lamborghini’s first SUV

That honor belongs to the tough-looking LM002

No one saw this coming from an automaker known for exotic sports cars. PHOTO FROM LAMBORGHINI

Italian automaker Lamborghini, which is famous for its head-turning sports cars and supercars, is officially releasing a sport-utility vehicle called the Urus in December this year. Many people think it’s the brand’s very first SUV, but they can’t be any more wrong.

Back in the 1970s, Lamborghini was commissioned by an American organization to develop a high-performance off-road vehicle for military use. The name of the project vehicle at the time was Cheetah.

The LM002 featured an aluminum and fiberglass body. PHOTOS FROM LAMBORGHINI

For one reason or another, the project was shelved, only to be resurrected in 1981 by Lamborghini engineer Giulio Alfieri. A few prototypes were subsequently created, with the final production version called the LM002 finally rolling out in 1986. The first unit is said to have been delivered to the king of Morocco.

Thanks to the macho lines and curves, the LM002 was dubbed 'Rambo Lambo'. PHOTOS FROM LAMBORGHINI

The four-wheel-drive LM002 boasted an aluminum and fiberglass body, three self-locking differentials, and the capability to exceed gradients of 120%. Specially developed Pirelli Scorpion tires help the SUV to “float across soft surfaces” (like sand, obviously).

The LM002 was four-wheel-driven and could 'float across soft surfaces'. PHOTOS FROM LAMBORGHINI

The bodies were made by a company in Spain, while the semi-assembled parts were put together at Lamborghini’s facility in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy. Due to its macho styling, the LM002 was fondly referred to as the “Rambo Lambo.”

The V12 engine was borrowed from the Countach Quattrovalvole. PHOTO FROM LAMBORGHINI

For propulsion, a 5,167cc V12 engine was sourced from the Countach Quattrovalvole. Producing 444hp at 6,800rpm, this powerplant enabled the LM002 to reach a top speed of 210km/h.

The interior could be customized according to the customer's personal tastes. PHOTOS FROM LAMBORGHINI

When production ended six years later, in 1992, only 300 units had been built, making the LM002 one of the rarest vehicles to ever come out of Lamborghini’s stable.

The LM002 is now one of the most sought-after Lamborghini models among collectors. PHOTOS FROM LAMBORGHINI

When the modern Urus is launched later this year, it will bow as only the second SUV in Lamborghini history. It is expected to be more reliable and better in every respect. Except, perhaps, in badassery. That virtue forever belongs to the LM002.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.