The Lamborghini LM002 is terrible. Whether or not it can be described as a ‘car’ is debatable, but if so, it’s probably the worst one Sant’Agata ever made. It was too big for its own good, had a heinous thirst and is pretty ropey to drive. The Italian company sold just 328 over seven years - in contrast, its vague spiritual successor, the Urus, sells more during the average month.
And yet, it’s so much more intriguing than the Urus. The current high-riding Lambo relies heavily on the Audi parts bit, taking a platform, engine, electronics and much more besides from its parent company. The LM002, on the other hand, is far more bespoke.
The story of its birth is much more interesting, too, and one that has a surprise tie to the BMW M1 we were looking at recently. It started life as the ‘Cheetah’, a light military vehicle intended to woo the US military into sending truckloads of money Lamborghini’s way. What the company and its Californian partner Mobility Technology International (MTI) came up with was, according to rival bidder FMC, a blatant copy of its XR311 prototype.
A lawsuit ensued, but in the end, it was moot - General Motors was awarded the contract thanks to its Humvee. All of this contributed to Lamborghini’s worsening financial position in the late 1970s, forcing it to back out of its deal to build the M1.
The Cheetah would live on in civilian form, though, with the prototype’s workhorse Chrysler V8 swapped for a fittingly flamboyant 5.2-litre V12 from the Countach. There was even the option of a 7.2-litre V12 normally found propelling offshore powerboats.
1989 example you see here uses the former, producing 449bhp. This sounds reasonable until you realise the LM005 isn’t all that far away from weighing three-tonnes - as such, 0-62mph takes nearly eight seconds.
It represents a rare opportunity to own one. That original number of 328 has dwindled over the years, not helped by the US military blowing up one that used to belong to Sadam Hussein’s son to test the effects of an IED blast. As such, we’d expect the £5000 starting price to increase to a healthy six-figure sum when the Collecting Cars online auction finishes on 4 December.
It’s done just 14,293 kilometres (probably because doing much more than that would be unbearable) and is in an unrestored but decent state from the looks of it. The LM002 had a spell in the US lasting from 1997 to 2009, before being exported to the UAE.
It had the front dampers refurbished in 2017, at a no doubt terrifying cost. It had a bunch of gaskets, the air conditioning condenser and the front brake pads replaced a couple of years before. The giant Pirelli Scorpion tyres are said to be in good condition, but they’re also 20 years old. It was recently serviced by Lamborghini Dubai, where the vehicle currently lives awaiting its new owner.
We’ve no idea what we’d do with one, but still, we can’t help but dream. Just us?