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The Lamborghini-Engined Gullwing Minivan

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A 455-hp V-12 from the Countach Quattrovalvole? A pair of gullwing doors? Minivans may be more boring than watching paint dry, but every rule has an exception. This is it.

It is easy to view Lamborghini as nothing more than the quintessential Italian supercar manufacturer, a Ferrari for people in tracksuits with a penchant for cocaine and Day-Glo colors. That couldn't be further from the truth. Even though a certain Lamborghini pioneered the notion of the modern supercar, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s vision was never centered on sports cars — he set out to build grand tourers. His cars were the antithesis of the race-derived Ferrari lineup; they were cars with big engines that could get you places in great speed but, crucially, also in greater comfort. Witness the Espada, a 40-year-old two-plus-two that can fit a 6' 2" human in the back without causing skeletal damage.


With that in mind, consider the Genesis concept from 1988, built by Bertone for Lamborghini. The engine is the 5.2-liter V12 from the Countach Quattrovalvole. It makes 455 sweet-revving Italian horsepower, and it is longitudinally mounted in the front with the front seats somewhat over it, eliminating the need for wimpy seat heaters. Because the Genesis was from Lamborghini’s Chrysler era, the transmission is a wonderful three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, a natural fit for an Italian V-12.


Inside, access to which is gained by a pair of fantastic gullwing doors and another pair of sliding doors, is a red and beige lounge of Alcantara with five seats that can be moved about, leaving the driver free from his children or rear-seat passengers and left alone to wrestle with the engine's thrust.

Unfortunately, the Genesis never made it beyond the concept stage. It was fourteen years later that Matra, a French maker of race cars and surface-to-air missiles, borrowed concept to create the Avantime, albeit with half the number of cylinders to warm the front seats.


Photo Credit: Bertone, Car Design News, Ian-Alexander/Flickr