It’s widely known that flamboyant Italian supercar maker Lamborghini started out of spite (somewhat), as Ferruccio Lamborghini was not happy with the quality of his Ferraris and the service provided by the company. It’s also widely known that the origins of Lamborghini as a manufacturer were in building tractors and agricultural equipment. But perhaps not many of you might know that the company built a very special Lamborghini Centenario Trattori for Ferruccio’s 100th birthday anniversary in 2017. It’s built by car preservation specialist Klima Lounge and Italian designer Adler Capelli, and only five have been made. And you better bring your chequebook, as one of the five is actually for sale!
The Lamborghini saga doesn’t start with the fabled and gorgeous 350GT, even though that was the very first road car bearing the name. Instead, it starts with tractors and other agricultural machinery. Ferruccio Lamborghini, born in 1916 in Cento, Italy, recognized that post-WWII Italy was developing a need for farming and industrial equipment. His pre-war background in engineering paid dividends, as in 1948, he built his first tractors under the newly founded Lamborghini Trattori company. The company quickly made a name for itself, and he made a fortune within just a few years. And naturally, as an Italian with quite a bit of money, you buy a Ferrari!
Ferruccio did just that and in fact, owned multiple ones throughout his life. In 1958 he travelled to Maranello to buy a Ferrari 250 GT, which he thought was very good but too noisy and rough to be enjoyed on open roads properly. He also thought the clutches weren’t good and the interiors were poorly built. Requiring regular maintenance trips on his Ferraris, Ferruccio wasn’t shy about letting people know his dissatisfaction with Ferrari’s poor build quality and after-service, including Il Commendatore, Enzo Ferrari himself. Mr Ferrari wanted none of Ferruccio’s feedback, and as a result, he ignited the spark that Ferruccio needed to build his own car: the Lamborghini 350GT.
The 350GT would be the start of Lamborghini as we know it today, with Ferruccio founding the company in 1963. Over a period of 60 years, the car manufacturer is responsible for some of the most famous and striking sports- and supercars. His biggest claim to fame, perhaps, is the Miura, widely regarded as the first true supercar. Following a difficult financial period for both Automobili Lamborghini and Lamborghini Trattori (and some of his other ventures) in the early 1970s, he decided to step down and retire in 1973 and focus on winemaking instead. The car company went on to produce icons like the Countach and the Diablo, which is the last car he got to see built bearing his name, as Ferruccio passed away in 1993. Both the car and tractor companies are still in business today, although not connected in any way other than the name.
In 2017, Lamborghini celebrated the 100th birthday of its founder in absolute style by giving the world the Centenario. It was based on the Aventador SVJ and was presented in a limited run of 20 coupes and 20 roadsters. The bodywork was reworked into an even sharper design, with new aerodynamic elements such as the twin-deck front splitter, new side skirts, a huge rear diffuser and an active rear wing. The Centenario was also the first Lamborghini to feature a rear-wheel steering system designed to improve manoeuvrability and handling at low speeds and stability at high speeds.
Nestled into the rear of the carbon fibre monocoque chassis is a 6.5-litre V12, also taken from the Aventador SVJ but now generating a staggering 770 horsepower (20hp more than in the Aventador SVJ). This propelled the car from zero to 100kph in under three seconds, zero to 300kph in 23,5 seconds and on to a top speed of over 350kph. If you have enough empty space in front of you and the proverbial ‘cojones’ to keep your foot firmly planted on the throttle. Quite the thrill ride! The cars had a base price of around 2 million USD. If you would want one now, however, expect to play the waiting game as they do not show up for sale every other week and to pay much more than the original sticker price! But there is a cheaper, or rather less expensive way, to enjoy Lamborghini’s centenary celebrations, which some of you might have missed (I did at least!)
The Centenario Trattori
This oddball piece of engineering is essentially a restomodded 1965 Lamborghini DAL35 tractor turned into a rolling piece of steampunk-esque art. The bare metal look is striking and very much intentional to gather a natural patina over time. As you might have guessed, it has been extensively modified. This includes dropping the chassis down to a more ‘slammed’ stance, as you now basically sit in between the rear wheels rather than on top of it. The rear fenders are gone, and a second seat has been installed. The body is tweaked here and there and features two flip-up panels to gain access to the engine compartment. Originally, the whole body would have flipped forward to allow for maintenance on the Diesel engine.
Other modifications include the installation of six straight exhaust pipes, a new instrument panel with period gauges, black wheels signed in honour of Ferruccio’s 100th birthday anniversary, a slight relocation of some of the controls, a more upright positioned steering wheel, a new cooling system on the front, and more. Going through the images also reveals an ashtray (because why not!) and several references to Ferruccio Lamborghini himself. I have not found rolling footage of the actual thing, but it should work! Instead, I did find this walk-around video showcasing this mad tractor when introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in 2017 (ignore the odd choice of music, please, or better yet; turn off your sound!)
And what about power? Does it match the Centenario supercars? Sadly not, as this still has the original engine type instead of the firebreathing 770bhp V12 from the celebratory cars. It would be fun if it had, though, to see this thing shred its massive rear wheels and bouncing along as you hypothetically anger such a raging bull! Nevertheless, this very rare machine, number 4 in a series of only 5, can be yours through ClassicDriver.com. The price? Well over half a million USD, about double the price when it was first released!