How Lamborghini Became The King Of Carbon Fiber

Illustration for article titled How Lamborghini Became The King Of Carbon Fiber

The first production Lamborghini featuring carbon fiber components was the Countach Quattrovalvole in 1985. eGarage shows how three decades later, Lamborghini’s Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory is still busy making everything lighter and stronger right here in America.


There’s the story about how Horacio Pagani had to take a loan to buy an autoclave to be able to create the all carbon fiber Countach Evoluzione for Lamborghini after the company refused to pay for such machinery. The 1984 Evoluzione was light alright, but after they crash tested it, Lamborghini decided to scrap the idea since advanced composites seemed too expensive to put into series production.

Pagani went on to design the Countach 25th Anniversary and to work on the Diablo project and Lamborghini’s F1 efforts, but set up his own company in 1991, only to start working on the all-carbon Pagani Zonda two years later.

Illustration for article titled How Lamborghini Became The King Of Carbon Fiber

But that didn’t mean the end of carbon fiber in Sant’Agata Bolognese. While the crazy LM002 featured a composite roof, bonnet and fenders, the Diablo’s body changed from aluminum to carbon fiber by the time Audi took over from the Indonesians who bought the company from Chrysler.

The Murcielago also had a full carbon body, but that fact remained hidden from the eyes since none of that was visible. The Aventador changed that by exposing more and more, while the limited edition Sesto Elemento (pictured at the top of this article) was the lightest Lambo ever with a carbon chassis that replaced 72 aluminum parts of the Gallardo with a single piece of composite. The successor, the Lamborghini Huracan was the first Volkswagen product featuring a hybrid composite-aluminum chassis. That means it has a carbon floor, tunnel, rear bench and B-pillars. Who knows what’s next?

Lamborghini’s Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory in Seattle will keep working on new monocoque and frame designs, their forged composite technology that allows them to build in volume, fixing damaged composites on location using Boeing’s know-how, and numerous other projects that will make Lamborghinis faster than a bull on acid tied to a rocket.

Agreed. It’s pretty cool.

Photo credit: Lamborghini and Pagani Automobili


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Margin Of Error

I miss that time when proper sports car were made of riveted hand formed sheet metal. Today’s obsession for precision killed the passion that came with craftsmanship.

CF is nice, but it’s just a bit too perfect. It’s like these automated manual gearboxes. They’re better at everything but they’re just as bland a a beige corolla.