The Italian Almanac

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inside a Lamborghini Diablo

Italian News - May 2

With Ferrari's return to winning ways on the F1 race track and Fiat battling back into the black, Italy's motor industry is showing signs of revival. Another indication that things are on the up comes from Hollywood, where Italian cars are increasingly winning prestigious roles in blockbuster movies. Niche sports carmaker Lamborghini is the company that is leading the Italian charge on Hollywood at the moment.

Last year the Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster made its movie debut as the drive of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in Batman Begins. Powered by a 12-cylinder, six-litre, 580-horsepower engine, the Murciélago Roadster can reach 100km/h in 3.8 seconds from a standing start and has a maximum speed of 320km/h. So it was a natural choice for the Caped Crusader, especially given that 'murciélago' is the Spanish word for bat.

The model followed this up with a starring role in Transporter 2. It is used by the film's hero, Frank Martin (Jason Statham), a mercenary with a Special Forces background, to save the day in the dramatic final car chase. More importantly, silver-screen superstar Tom Cruise gets behind the wheel of a slick, flame-orange Lamborghini Gallardo in the recently released Mission Impossible III.

The Lamborghini sports car company was founded in 1963 by Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916 1993) as a spin-off of his successful tractor firm, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A., based at Sant'Agata Bolognese, near Bologna. Ferruccio Lamborghini reportedly started making cars after an argument with Enzo Ferrari about a problem with the clutch of his Ferrari 250 GT. Enzo Ferrari is said to have sent Ferruccio away, telling him to stick to tractors as he knew nothing about cars. Ferruccio went back to his factory and set about proving him wrong.