The Lambo SUV That Never Was: LM003 Borneo

The question is, what would be better to deal with? The depreciation of an Urus, or the engineering issues of a Lambo SUV from the nineties, built by Indonesians?

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Zagato via Sawiyya Sikumbang

Sant'Agata's first SUV, the V12-powered LM002 was the result of . Financially, the project was such a disaster that Lamborghini's Swiss owners were forced to sell the company to a group of food entrepreneurs long before the SUV could make it into production. The successors, the Mimran brothers, were clever enough to update the Countach to a level where it became legal in America, also launching the production LM002 in 1986. What's more, they even let young Horatio Pagani come up with the revolutionary Countach Evoluzione, a supercar concept mostly made of carbon fiber.

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Pagani at work.
Pagani Automobili

But, per usual, the money ran out, and in 1987, Lamborghini landed in the hands of Chrysler Corporation's Lee Iacocca.

Chrysler started by toning down Marcello Gandini's original design for the Diablo, thus forcing the master to create the V16-powered Cizeta Moroder. Among other things, Chrysler also came up with a V12-powered, Bertone-designed minivan and sedan concepts, powerboat engines, and a bad F1 car.

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But once Lambo's sales started to decline again, the smallest of the Big Threes called it quits as well. Not before shutting down the production of the LM002, of course.

Lamborghini was bought up by the Indonesian-owned, but Bermuda-registered, holding company MegaTech in 1994. If that sounds shady, you're not mistaken.

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Lamborghini via Lambocars

The Indonesians had for the brand, including a close collaboration with America's greatest supercar company, Vector, since they also bought a stake in that mess.

Megatech's greatest hit was the Diablo SuperVeloce. Following some strict cost-cutting measures, the company managed to break even in 1997. Not long before that, Lamborghini also started working with the remains of Zagato, SZ Design. The most well-known result of that was , the crowd's favorite at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show.

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But SZ Design's team led by Nori Harada also came up with a mock up for the "LM003," Lamborghini's answer to the V8 Range Rover.

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Zagato via Sawiyya Sikumbang
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Zagato via Sawiyya Sikumbang
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Zagato via Sawiyya Sikumbang

Except the new SUV was never supposed to leave the gates as the LM003. Since they have already used that name for an awfully underpowered, equally stillborn turbodiesel-powered LM002 using VM Motori's diesel, the brand new model was about to hit the road as the Borneo or Galileo, depending on the market.

The LM003 was supposed to be a joint venture between Timor, an Indonesian based automaker, and the Italian factory. As the maker of the Kia Sephia-based S515, Timor was more than qualified for the job, since their badge-engineered wonder was supposed to become the national car of Indonesia. But even after escaping import tax, luxury tax, and an import surcharge, Timor failed.

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Zagato via Sawiyya Sikumbang

Despite the trouble in Indonesia, the Zagato team built a full-sized mockup in 1997, just in time for the Asian financial crisis to send Lamborghini right into Volkswagen's hands through Audi.

Perhaps that is why Lamborghini's real LM002 successor, the SUV they made us wait almost six years for, is not much more than a beefed up Audi Q8. And something lazy birds should start worrying about.

As always, hat tip to

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