If you ever want to make a car enthusiast giddy, all you would have to do is bring up either Ferrari or Lamborghini. These two luxury car manufacturers have been, without a doubt, two of the best known and most revered car manufacturers in the world. Both Italian companies, Lamborghini and Ferrari have been producing super cars for decades now, and have been exciting car lovers all over the globe.
But as is common with major companies and manufacturers when it comes to nearly anything, Lamborghini and Ferrari are also rivals. Rivals that continue to release amazing vehicles, vehicles that challenge the other with newer and better features, ever driving upward the standard of luxury cars. So, when did this rivalry come about? When did Lamborghini and Ferrari first take their steps into the automobile manufacturing business? Which manufacturer do people prefer most? And is there ever going to be a clear winner? Let’s discuss the storied epic that is their history and how everything came to be as it is today.
The First Steps
No giant manufacturer ever just starts out like that. Both Ferrari and Lamborghini had to start out the hard way; as little operations that aimed to strike it big one day. Ferrari was the first one to be founded in the year of 1939 by Enzo Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari was not too keen on the idea of producing road cars at first. Ferrari used to buy and prepare Alfa Romeo racing cars for racers around 1929, when it was known as Scuderia Ferrari.
When Alfa Romeo withdrew its in-house racing team in the year of 1933, Scuderia Ferrari began fielding many famous drivers of the day. And though Alfa Romeo later brought back its racing operation in 1938, Enzo Ferrari left the following year. Ferrari first produced a race car in 1940, named the Tipo 815.
Ferruccio Lamborghini founded Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini in the year of 1963 to compete with already existing manufacturers like Ferrari. Ferruccio had lived a life as a farmer, but had never been too happy with it. After serving in World War II, he took old military machines that were no longer seeing use and repurposed them into tractors and other agricultural tools and supplies. This led to the start of his tractor business that brought him great wealth.
A Rival is Born
With his newfound wealth Ferruccio decided to buy a few luxury cars for himself, including a Ferrari. When he started racing these cars however, he noticed something. The Ferrari had a few imperfections that, after his time spent working with military machines, Ferruccio Lamborghini knew could be improved for a better vehicle. These imperfections included noisy operation, rough going on the roads, and a faulty clutch mechanism that often needed to be replaced.
Ferruccio Lamborghini admired Ferrari, and decided to bring attention to these faults in their cars so that they could improve upon their already quite successful design. Through persistence, Ferruccio Lamborghini was ultimately able to bring these faults to light in front of none other than Enzo Ferrari himself. However, instead of paying attention to these imperfections and thanking Ferruccio for bringing them to his attention, Enzo Ferrari did something poor Ferruccio hadn’t counted on. He derided his attempt to help, and told Ferruccio that he did not need technical help from a farmer. His exact words were, “You may be able to drive a tractor, but you will never be able to handle the Ferrari properly.”
This insult enraged Ferruccio Lamborghini, as it would have enraged anyone. Angry that his attempt at helping Ferrari had been met with derision and an insufferable ego, Ferruccio Lamborghini vowed to prove Enzo Ferrari wrong and make a car that would leave Ferrari in its dust. And thus, Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini was founded.
The First Lamborghini
When people learnt of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s plans to make a car that didn’t just rival, but actually surpass Ferrari, they responded with yet more disbelief. They claimed it was simply impossible to beat a Ferrari, especially by someone who sold tractors for a living. Ferruccio Lamborghini however, was unperturbed. He built a new car manufacturing factory of his own on a plot of land he purchased. This factory was a marvel for its time due to Ferruccio’s experience being a business man and his knowhow of tractor manufacturing.
Ferruccio Lamborghini ensured that only the best parts available would make it into his cars. The engine was procured from Giotto Bizzarrini, who had in fact also designed engines for some of Ferrari’s cars. For everything else, Ferruccio Lamborghini hired engineers Giampaolo Dallara and Giampaolo Stanzani. Together, these men unveiled Lamborghini’s first ever car at the Turin Motor Show of October of 1963, just after four months of work. This car, named the Lamborghini 350 GTV, and later renamed to 350 GT, sold thirteen units by the end of the following year of 1964. Ferruccio Lamborghini had to sell these cars at a loss initially to keep his prices competitive to Ferrari, but was very soon able to recover his losses as Lamborghini grew in name and in fame.
The Lamborghini Ferrari Rivalry Today
Almost sixty years later and the rivalry between Ferrari and Lamborghini has never been stronger. Over time, both manufacturers discovered and focused on their respective strengths, perfecting their art as the years went by. Today, Ferrari boasts cars that look like works of art and drive like them too. Lamborghini on the other hand, produces cars that can at times look almost alien, but enter the car or pop open that hood and you’ll see the absolute luxury and horsepower these beauties pack.
Ferrari also continues to focus on producing magnificent racing cars, whilst Lamborghini prefers more to stick with road-legal cars that people can purchase and drive around their city. That is not to say that Ferrari doesn’t either, but one of these definitely has a larger stake in the professional racing world. Lamborghinis also tend to be a tad more expensive than their rival Ferraris, owing to the luxurious interiors and extremely strong engines they possess.
Ask any car enthusiast today and you’ll quickly realize something; there are barely any people out there that equally prefer both Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Most folk either water at the mouth when they look at the sleekness of a Ferrari, or get all hot and bothered by the powerful aura a Lamborghini exerts around itself. Which camp do you fall in? Team Ferrari or the Lamborghini Gang?
While you’re here, don’t forget to check out some of the other articles on this site. If similar historical accounts are what interest you, we’ve got a wide selection of those. Ranging from the history of the American classic, the Ford Mustang, to discussing the most popular cars of the 1970’s. If you want to read more about racing, take a look at our post on Major Motorsports Championships instead.