Monday, January 15, 2007

The LM002: Ostentatious Ruggedness

So what do old-money Dutchmen, Uday Hussein, Hunter S. Thompson, and Vladivostok mafioso all have in common? They all own(ed) Lamborghini's uber-SUV, the LM002. Forget the AMG Gelandewagen or the Cayenne Turbo S. The LM002 was the original high performance, luxury SUV, preceding the aforementioned by decades.

The LM002 was created for armies of Middle Eastern autocracies, e.g. Saudi Arabia and Libya. Although these governments snatched up over 100 of these in total, with machine guns mounted in the back, they never caught on as a military vehicle.

Towards the end of its life, Lamborghini wanted to enter modified LM002s in the Paris-Dakar Rally. For financial reasons (supposedly), the project fizzled.

In the end, the notorious LM002 became an extension-- no, a badge-- of its infamous owners around the world. For the Dutch gentleman who got his fortune merely because his ancestors were astute middlemen, owning an LM002 in a cramped and expensive country known for bicycles represents his I-don't-give-a-shit-about-anything attitude and wealth. To Uday Hussein, Saddam's bloodthirsty son, ownership exuded his uncontrolled power.

Hunter S. Thompson, the father of Gonzo journalism, also owned an LM. And just like Thompson, the Lamborghini was profane. It was decadent. It was an exaggeration.

When I was little, I had a zebra striped Matchbox Cheetah, the LM's prototype. I would not see my first real life LM until 2005 when I happened upon one near the Geneva Airport. It was bigger than life. A beast. Monolithic. It was an LM002.


By the way, Uday's LM002, was confiscated by the U.S. Army and blown up to demonstrate the force of IEDs. It was not until the offending soldiers returned to the States and showed photos of the blown up LM that their more knowledgeable, car-savvy friends pointed out that they had destroyed a rare supercar. Kinda sums up our entire (mis)adventure in Babylon, no?

1 comment:

Alan said...

How the hell do you not guess a 4 door Lamborghini pickup is rare?