60 Years’ Tells a Fascinating, Convoluted History


Veteran British motoring journalist, and author, Stuart Codling has been covering the world of exotic cars for decades, but as a full-time journalist he doesn’t exactly make supercar money. “I drive a Skoda,” he said Car and Driver from his driveway in England, one of the few places on his property where he receives cell reception. But this ordeal, common to those of us in the automotive writing industry, hasn’t stopped him from indulging his love of outrageous sports cars in other ways.

He is the author of the new book Lamborghini: 60 yearsa coffee-table-scaled compendium of everything the bold Italian automaker has done since it showed off its front-engined, V-12 350 GTV grand tourer at the 1963 Turin Auto Show. And for fans of the brand, or anyone who respects Lamborghini’s consistently challenging show off, we think it’s worth the $60 price tag.

Working with respected automotive photographer James Mann, Codling was able to track down, examine and sample just about every car the charging bull brand has brought to market, along with some that didn’t do it. And while he doesn’t currently own a Lambo, after doing all his research, he knows exactly which model he would buy.

“I’m particularly a fan of some of the obscurata that the brand produced in the late 70s and early 80s. Also, when I was a kid I particularly liked cars with targa roofs – I think I too watched many episodes of Magnum P.I– so my choice would be the Silhouette, which was a targa-top car related to the Urraco but built in small numbers,” he said. “Unfortunately, it would melt away like April snow in my damp English driveway .”

Codling credits some of his personal fascination with Lamborghini to the brand’s complicated history. While Ferrari was founded by Enzo and was controlled by him until his death, Ferruccio Lamborghini tired of the challenges of running his namesake supercar company and sold it, leaving it somewhat in the lurch.

lamborghini countach, lm002

James Mann

“Ownership of the company in successive decades was passed around like a tray of cakes before it really began to flourish under Volkswagen-Audi Group ownership,” said Codling. “So, it’s a very interesting story to tell—there are not only the fingerprints of individual designers, but also the entrepreneurs and the various very eccentric people who got involved at various points. It’s not just a book not about the cars, but also about the people behind the cars.”

The Lamborghini mythos envelops and distorts so much of the marque’s history—and, by association, automotive history. This presented Codling with interesting challenges as he tried to sort out the facts of the apocrypha.

“There is the theory that the Lamborghini V-12 engine was actually not designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, but that it was designed by Honda. That’s part of the story, but it doesn’t really add up,” Codling said.

lamborghini miura

James Mann

“There is also the persistent myth about the most famous Italian designers in automotive history – Giorgetto Giugiaro and Marcello Gandini – arguing over who actually designed the Miura,” he added. “Sorting that one out was particularly interesting because Giugiaro is not exactly a reliable witness. He changes his story a lot.”

Codling was able to solve that issue, sort of. “I think that Giugiaro—probably after a number of harsh messages from lawyers—moved his story to something like, ‘I may have left some drawings, which may have been a little inspiration, but may not have been,'” Codling explained, “I think that’s about as close to the truth as we’re going to get.”

Header from Brett Berk

Contributing Editor

Brett Birch (s/he) is a former preschool teacher and early childhood center director who spent a decade as a youth and family researcher and now covers the topics of children and the auto industry for publications including CNN, the New York Times, Popular mechanics and more. He published a parenting book, The Gay Uncle’s Guide to Parenting, and has driven and reviewed thousands of cars since 2008 for Car and Driver and Road & Lane, where he is contributing editor. He also wrote for Architectural Digest, Billboard, ELLE Decor, Esquire, GQ, Travel + Leisure and Vanity Fair.