Lamborghini’s determination to survive even in the most difficult years can clearly be seen in two important projects, the P140 and the Calà. When the company was absorbed by Chrysler in the late 80s, Lee Iacocca himself asked for a mid-range model to accompany the now-ready Diablo. The completely in-house project was designed by Marcello Gandini, who penned a mid-engined, targa-top sports car with a removable roof, powered by a beautiful 10-cylinder engine.
This model, in 1:1 scale, was put into competition with two prototypes, one built by Chrysler and the other by Bertone. Needless to say, it was Gandini’s instantly recognizable hand that prevailed, with its sober lines that were nevertheless deeply connected to the Lamborghini image in those years. Just as everything seemed ready for production, Chrysler sold the company to an Indonesian Group in 1994, which had other ideas and focused all the company’s commercial efforts on the Diablo.
But it was not enough, the numbers were too small. The idea of the “small” Lambo resurfaced once again, and Giugiaro was invited to propose a new style on the P140 platform. The Calà was born. Ready for production. The look of the car, which was very different from Lamborghini’s, was nevertheless extremely interesting and very well received. But, once again Lamborghini’s will to survive was thwarted by yet another change of ownership.
Fortunately, this time it was the right one. Audi arrived and from the ashes of the 140 project, the marque’s revival could finally begin. In 2003, the Gallardo was introduced, the car that heralded the rebirth of the car maker.