A few years ago, we were given a rare peek inside Lamborghini’s factory in Sant’A’gata Bolognese. The cars assembled within those walls are some of the finest, and loudest, in the world. Bella, bambinos. Bella.
This story originally ran on April 19, 2010 and is being featured again for the Jalopnik Christmas Evergreen Bonanza.
Lamborghini’s main corporate campus and historical home is located in a sleepy farming village in the Italian province of Emiglia-Romana. (The region is also home to Ferrari, Maserati, and Ducati.) It is a thoroughly modern, albeit small, facility chock-full of sweaty Germans in tight suits and laid-back Italians screwing together rolling artwork. There’s a cafeteria, a small museum, and a gift shop the size of a walk-in closet that sells everything from extravagantly priced cufflinks to extravagantly priced leather jackets.
In other words, just what you’d expect. Dig in.
The factory’s entry plaza as seen through the window of the attached museum. The Murciélago pictured was being picked up by a customer. If you enlarge the image, you’ll see an unsurprising number of Volkswagen/Audi products in the employee parking lot.
An employee’s tool tray in the upholstery shop. Say it with me:forbicilamiera. Who knew tin snips could be made to sound so sexy?
A Murciélago Spyder on the production line. Bodies are built and usually painted off-site; the Sant’ Agata facility is responsible only for selected engine builds, trim construction, and final assembly. The form-fitting cover on the Murcie’s rear fender is there to protect the paint from damage.
Note how the car’s rear structure consists almost entirely of square tubing. At Lamborghini, some things never change, or at least change slowly. (Also note Dude’s pimpy embroidered pants. Stylin’.)
French-seamed, leather-trimmed Murciélago dashes in the upholstery shop.
An upholstery craftsman discussing the time and care that goes into a Lambo interior. I can’t find his name in my notes, but I do remember that he seemed very Italian, spoke only a few words of English, and wanted me to know just how much he loved his job. He started at the factory as a much younger man.
A Murciélago wheel and Pirelli tire during initial brake bleeding. The electrical tape around the bolt holes serves to protect the wheels from damage during assembly.
The same car during bleeding.
Cofano motore ok means “engine lid ok” in Italian. This label was affixed to a car in the factory’s central yard, where finished vehicles are staged prior to road testing. The yard isn’t much more than an alley between the factory’s two main buildings, located just behind the cafeteria and espresso bar (yes, espresso bar). Employees sit, eat their lunches, and watch cars being rectified or taken out for testing.
I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of anything in the area but this.
The main floor of the factory’s tiny museum, located to the right of the main building’s front door. There are two floors, with the second floor mostly full of modern and/or competition cars. The building is open to the public.
Pop quiz: How many cars can you ID in this photo? (No points for the swoopy one on the left.)
A V-10 on display in the museum. Can anyone guess the car?
One of the welcome walls in the museum; I stood in front of it and simply shot a picture of it. You can’t tell from here, but it’s roughly the size of a garage door. This image is also available on a postcard, if you’re so inclined. (Only three euros in the gift shop!)
An early styling buck for the Countach.
Installing a Murciélago’s engine.
The primary factory line. The main assembly floor is only about two or three times as wide as what you see here.
Jezza himself. This sits on a display case in the front lobby with three or four other awards. It’s up high where people can’t reach it, steal it, or deface it.
The dash and harness of a Murcie. Note the driveshaft poking out of the front wheel well.
Door assembly on the floor.