By now, even casual automotive enthusiasts are familiar with the story of how Ferruccio Lamborghini got involved in the car business in the 1960s. But for those who need a refresher, the tale tells us that Mr. Lamborghini had a bit of a spat with Enzo Ferrari that started with the former complaining about the quality of sports car the latter had provided. In response, Enzo arrogantly brushed Ferruccio aside telling him to stick to making tractors and leave sports cars to the experts… or something to that effect. Of course, this did not sit well with a fellow fiery Italian and Mr. Lamborghini set off to build a sports car that would beat Ferrari at his own game. Exactly how much of that is true we’ll never know for sure, but Lamborghini certainly did get Ferrari’s attention with cars like the exquisitely built 400GT and the jaw dropping Miura. But the details of Mr. Lamborghini’s tractor production are usually just a side note to the story. He was, in fact, a very successful industrialist and the tractors that bear his name are still in production today.
The company was founded in 1948 as not just a manufacturer of tractors but also of military and industrial engines. Using a modified Morris Six engine as a basis, Lamborghini devised and patented a clever fuel atomizer that allowed the engine to be started on gasoline, and then switched over to run on diesel. This allowed his engines to be easily started in cold temperatures, negating the worry of hard-starting diesels and giving them a distinct competitive advantage over those with pure diesel engines. Lamborghini Trattori grew quickly, developing many specialized models as well as proprietary engines and power units, becoming one of the largest agricultural manufacturers in Italy. While separate from automotive operations, the tractor business has been steadily successful and remains in business, still producing specialized equipment for orchards, vineyards and other specialist farms around the world.
This delightful 1955 Lamborghini DL 25 is equipped with a 2-cylinder diesel engine of Lamborghini’s own design that produces about 26 horsepower. Power is fed through the rear wheels, along with the addition of a belt-drive PTO which can power various accessories. Carefully restored, it presents in beautiful condition, finished in traditional Lamborghini Trattori red on the bodywork with a gray finish on the chassis and wheel hubs. Of course, this is a robust piece of agricultural equipment, so it is strictly business behind the wheel, but that is not to say there isn’t plenty of charm to be found in its simple styling. The very basic diesel engine has been well detailed with proper and well-executed finishes. This little Lambo runs well yet appears very correct and is pretty enough to show. If you’re an adventurous farmer with a penchant for vintage machinery, we’re sure it could even be put to work if you dare get it dirty.
Lamborghini never officially imported their tractors to North America, so they are a very rare sight on our shores. Interesting, beautifully restored, and a wonderful conversation piece, this rare and delightful 26 horsepower Lamborghini would surely be a hit at just about any Italian car show; and would make a welcome addition to a collection of Italian cars or vintage agricultural implements.
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