Here comes… Cheetah! Lamborghini’s Off-Road Genesis

In the late 1970’s, the US Army were in the process of finding a new multi-purpose vehicle, and one of the contestants for the bid was a small company called MTI, who developed the Cheetah. However, long story short, the US Army went with AM General’s offer and MTI looked further, all the way to Italy, to be precise. The Cheetah caught a flight from the US to Europe in time for its presentation as a Lamborghini at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show, thus becoming a huge surprise to those even remotely familiar with Lamborghini’s heritage at the time. However, times were hard for Lamborghini, and exploring new possible markets became a necessity.

The Cheetah never reached production, but the idea of an off-road vehicle stayed alive at Lamborghini, and they created the LM001 in the early 1980’s. Further development led to the LMA, which in turn became the basis for the LM002 production vehicle. Between 1986 and 1993, a total of 301 LM002 left the factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Fast forward 24 years to today and we’re once again awaiting an off-road vehicle from Lamborghini, albeit an SUV, not a jeep, as the Cheetah and LM cars were. The highly anticipated Urus will open a brand new page in Lamborghini history when it reached production within a year.

The Cheetah itself was presumed lost until a few years ago, when one resurfaced in the US. Believed to be an original – there might have been more than one built – the Cheetah once again finds itself in Europe, and I was lucky enough to get an exclusive look at it. Enjoy the gallery and comment below if it gets your mind spinning.

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