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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Matchbox Lamborghini LM002 and Hot Wheels Lamborghini Urus



Lamborghini, known mostly for making wild mid-engine exotic cars and nothing else, but every once in a while something different is offered.  One of the oddest was the SUV in the case of the LM002; sure the new Urus that will come out in 2017 will be a natural fit in the SUV-hungry world, but back in the 1980's it was downright unusual.  Now both Mattel brands offer both this year to comprehend.




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The history with the LM002 started in the 1970's when Lamborghini was competing for a contract bid to build the next U.S. Military replacement vehicle for the long-serving Jeep.  It was to be robust, secure, and able to go just about anywhere.  Lamborghini's first attempt was the Cheetah, a rear-engine, V8-powered  truck that looked like a custom off-road buggy.  The unnatural handling characteristics sent Lamborghini back to the drawing board to create stage two, the LM002 code name.  This one looked more like a proper military truck, yet Lamborghini failed to get the bid and ended up with a costly unused truck and red ink in the finance department.  Why not take an unused vehicle, take the V-12 engine from the Countach, and upgrade the interior to sell the truck at Lamborghini dealers.  Those living in the middle east who had loads of money to spend and lots of sand dunes loved this idea.  Did it break a profit at Lamborghini?  Not likely, but it became an odd novelty piece that is now starting to get its attention at auctions around the world.




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Matchbox did an excellent job with this truck shining in yellow paint.  The front has round, detailed headlights with black center grille and tubular lower bumper.  Signal lights are integrated in the tubular bumper that is the only part of this truck that lacks detail.  The hood has raised section to accommidate the three carbeurator's and Matchbox made the two vents in the hood separate pieces.  The sides have semi-octagon fender flares, gray off-road tires, front fender vents, antenna on the roof, and regular-shaped doors even though the cab is designed to withstand bomb blasts (like the Hummer).  The rear has tubular bars on the edges of the bed, rectangular taillights that are detailed, Lamborghini badges, and a large spare tire that matches the other Matchbox wheels (would be nice with a smooth tire cover).  The tailgate drops way down to a ramp, which is designed to add four more troops to the rear (note the way the fender wells are flat like a bench).  The bed area, though small, is useful for cargo here.


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Inside, just like the Hummer, four passengers are spaced far apart thanks to the in-tuct engine and drivetrain.  The seats are leather like the Countach, the driver faces a three-spoke steering wheel and a set of comprehensive gauges.  The A/C controls lay just ahead of the 5-speed shifter and uses two air compressors to cool the interior, while the radio is mounted on the overhead console.  Rear seat riders get their own A/C controls as well, while a lever located to the right of the driver's seat is used to control the transfer case.  The engine is the 7.2L DOHC V-12 based on the Countach and more on the Marine line of Lamborghini's engines.  The output is 444 hp. and 368 Ib-ft. of torque through a 5-speed manual.  The front, center, and rear differentials can be locked and the suspension is independent all-around.  The body panels are made out of aluminum and the frame is a tubular body, and those wide tires are specially made by Pirelli and only Pirelli, and at one point it was really difficult to find replacement tires for this truck!


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Now to the future with the Lamborghini Urus concept.  As you can see the styling looks more in line with the rest of the current Lamborghini line and not like some Rambo Army truck.  The front has aggressive LED headlights with the hood line going around the badge (why do they keep doing this???), large lower bumper vents and grille.  The sides show a more sleek, coupe-like roofline that has smoothly-integrated doors and flared rear fenders.  The large 5-spoke wheels also look right at home here.  The rear has a sloped rear window, taillights that connect to a slim bar, vents below the taillights, and large quad exhaust pipes.  It looks very aggressive and sporty at the same time!


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The interior features seating for four with a center console stretching the center, the front of it having the usual angled setup as in other current Lamborghini's that house the touch screen, red starter button, radio and HVAC controls, and shifter buttons.  Also the dashboard has the same angular look with a dual-pod gauge cluster and three-spoke steering wheel.  You definately feel like you're in a Lamborghini product!  The platform will be based on the next VW Touraeg/Porsche Cayenne/Audi Q7/Bentley Bentagyana SUV's, so expect uni-body construction with four-wheel independent suspension and air springs, though the off-road credentials will be lighter and more geared toward the track as a full-time all-wheel drive system.  The engine is a turbocharged 5.2L V-10 from Audi to make an estimated 584 hp. through a seven-speed automatic with manual mode.

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Let's hope that the new Urus can make a better profit, and sense, than the LM002 which was just a bad timing of unfortunate events for Lamborghini.

Update:  Here's the flat red version of the LM002 for 2016:





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