Video: Jay Leno drives the Lamborghini LM002

If you’re an Audifile, you already know that Audi bought Lamborghini some time ago. The current Lamborghini Huracan is based on the same platform as the brand-new Audi R8 and the Audi R8’s V10 engine is sourced from the Italian firm’s previous generation Gallardo. So the two brands are quite interconnected. However, Lamborghini wasn’t always owned by Audi and wasn’t always in good financial standing. So it bounced around to a few different owners over its long existence.

One of Lamborghini’s owners was Chrysler, back in the ’70s. During this time, and through a convoluted mess of information, Chrysler had been commissioned to build a military vehicle that could handle anything off road, was bulletproof and virtually indestructible. Said military vehicle was originally supposed to have a Chrysler V8 under its hood. However, after buying Lamborghini, Chrysler decided to put a Countach V12 in it and make it a highly desirable luxury performance military vehicle. Thus the LM002 was born and famous Comedian and car enthusiast, Jay Leno, got to drive one and we get to learn a little bit about this mysterious vehicle.

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Lamborghini LM002

Built out of what seems to be fire and brimstone, the LM002 is a behemoth. It’s massive, intimidating, loud, powerful and indestructible. It’s the ultimate military vehicle. Inside, it’s swathed in leather and even has the option of a $10,000 clock, like a Bentley. However, underneath its thick metal and leather skin is the heart of a proper Lamborghini. A 5.2 liter V12, pulled from a Lamborghini Countach, develops 450 horsepower and drives it through a five-speed manual gearbox. Apparently, the ZF-sourced manual gearbox is robust and about as durable as it gets. The LM002 is equipped with four-wheel drive, but to engage it, one must manually lock the hubs (though that wasn’t uncommon for its era).

Jay Leno is a lucky man, as his fame allows him to get to drive these incredible vehicles. He takes the LM002 out for a spin in his latest video and it’s truly something to behold. The V12 screams like a proper Italian supercar of the day, but the noise is coming from a truck so intimidating that it’d make a Hummer run and hide. It’s genuinely strange to behold such a sight.

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Though owning this behemoth comes at a hefty price. Leno didn’t say how much this model costs today, but they generally run for a couple hundred thousand dollars. And that’s just the price of the car, not to mention maintenance, fuel or tires. The custom-made tires cost a whopping $4,300 each. That’s more than I spend on my first car.

The Lamborghini LM002 is a truly special vehicle, one that’s often forgotten in automotive history but shouldn’t be. It’s massive and powerful and exciting and scary all at the same time. It’s like an atom bomb with four wheels. Check out this video and watch the engineering madness that is the Lamborghini LM002.

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Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.