Historically, the Lamborghini brand has always been synonymous with excellence and exceptionalism.

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But who would have known that the company’s dynamic past takes roots from a mere insult? And that too an insult from the right person and its future competitor, the Ferrari.

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Unbelievably enough, the founders of both companies never started off by creating supercars but tractors. That’s right, tractors.

1.A strange history

Ferruccio Lamborghini, born in a family of grape farmers, established a tractor manufacturing company in 1948 calling it Lamborghini Trattori. Even then the man had visions of diversifying his business into sectors like oil heating, air conditioning and finally automobiles.

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Enzo Ferrari, on the other hand, came from a grocer’s family and didn’t exactly receive a reasonable formal education. It’s believed that Felice Nazzaro’s victory at the 1908 Circuit di Bologna inspired him to become a racing driver. After the collapse of the family business, he spent several years doing odd jobs and even volunteering for the Fiat brand.

Later settling as a race car driver, he showed the world his unique maneuvering abilities in 1919. It was during these times that the logo for Ferrari was born. Francesco Baracca, who was Italy’s most famed fighter pilot, was shot down during World War I. He had handed Enzo a necklace that bore a prancing horse symbol before taking off.

In memory of his death, Enzo immortalized the symbol on the Ferrari logo which wouldn’t appear until 1947.

2.The Incident

In 1958, Ferruccio went to Maranello to buy a Ferrari 250GT. But that was just the beginning and the man would go on to own many other cars built by Ferrari. But over the years he had observed several defects with the cars such as noisy engines and inferior clutches. He called them repurposed track cars with poor interiors and complained that they required constant servicing.

It was then that he decided to take his complaints to Enzo who merely took it as a joke. He answered his complaints by saying “the problem is not with the car but with the driver!” and advised him to look after his tractors instead.

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For Ferruccio, this was more than an insult, and he took it as a challenge to perfect Enzo’s models. Using the money from the tractor business, he came up with V12 engine and opened a factory in Sant’Agata. He later offered positions to Enzo’s former employees Giotto Bizzarini, Franco Scaglione, and Gian Paolo Dallara. And months later in 1964, they released the Lamborghini 350GT which was the company’s first production vehicle. The car’s marvelous reception at 1964 Geneva auto show established their rivalry with Ferrari.

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The rest, as they say, is history. For a more detailed history watch the video below with English subtitles.

 

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