By now, even casual automotive enthusiasts are familiar with the story of how Ferruccio Lamborghini got involved in the car business in the 1960s. But for those who need a refresher, the tale tells us that Mr. Lamborghini had a bit of a spat with Enzo Ferrari that started with the former complaining about the quality of sports car the latter had provided. In response, Enzo arrogantly brushed Ferruccio aside telling him to stick to making tractors and leave sports cars to the experts… or something to that effect. Of course, this did not sit well with a fellow fiery Italian and Mr. Lamborghini set off to build a sports car that would beat Ferrari at his own game. Exactly how much of that is true we’ll never know for sure, but Lamborghini certainly did get Ferrari’s attention with cars like the exquisitely built 400GT and the jaw dropping Miura. But the details of Mr. Lamborghini’s tractor production are usually just a side note to the story. He was, in fact, a very successful industrialist and the tractors that bear his name are still in production today.
The company was founded in 1948 as not just a manufacturer of tractors but also of military and industrial engines. Using a modified Morris Six engine as a basis, Lamborghini devised and patented a clever fuel atomizer that allowed the engine to be started on gasoline, and then switched over to run on diesel. This allowed his engines to be easily started in cold temperatures, negating the worry of hard-starting diesels and giving them a distinct competitive advantage over those with pure diesel engines. Lamborghini Trattori grew quickly, developing many specialized models as well as proprietary engines and power units, becoming one of the largest agricultural manufacturers in Italy. While separate from automotive operations, the tractor business has been steadily successful and remains in business, still producing specialized equipment for orchards, vineyards and other specialist farms around the world.
This rare survivor of the C503 tracked model was discovered in original condition in South West Spain by our UK vendor, and was returned to form part of a small Lamborghini collection here. In his ownership the tractor has been refinished in blue and ivory, with a retrimmed interior in tan leather. The tractor is said to start and run well, and we are sure will prove to be a hugely entertaining addition to any farm or private estate.