In May 1963, Enzo Ferrari insulted Ferrucio Lamborghini, which made him very angry. He decided that he would not let it go. He rushed into his garage and promised to make something better than what Ferrari had.
In the year 2020, Lamborghini is one of the most famous car brands, if not the best. Most people know Lamborghini as a company that makes beautiful super sports and hyper sports cars. Most people don’t know, though, that Lamborghini used to make superbikes as well.
When Patrick Mirman took over the well-known company in 1978, he reorganised and rebuilt it from the ground up. In 1986, Patrick also released the Lamborghini Design 90, a 997cc (750cc and 900cc engines are also thought to have been available) superbike. The Lamborghini Countach and the LM002 were both huge hits.
It’s good that not much is known about the bike. Lamborghini only made about 50 of these crazy horses because the price was so high that they couldn’t really make more. We’ve used different sources to find out as much as we could about these beautiful ladies from the golden age.
For its time, the Lamborghini Design 90 was a very powerful superbike. Priced at a whopping $13,500, or 9.60 Lakh Indian Rupees. At the time, this price was almost twice as much as Japanese Superbikes that were just as fast.
We know that the 997cc inline-four-cylinder engine in the Design 90 was very powerful. It also had disc callipers with a gold finish (they were really cadmium plated, coated to give a gold look). Well, you’d definitely expect something like this from a big, well-known company like Lamborghini. Brembo braking systems, another Italian company that makes a lot of brakes, came up with the brilliant idea.
Let’s talk about design and how things look. Given the current state of technology and research, you would expect Lamborghini to make a car like the 1986 Yamaha Tenere.
Or something like a Kawasaki Z1000RX
Well, Lamborghini went in a different direction.
You might think the design is weird now, but in 1986, people thought it was… “sexy.” During this time, boxer bikes were all the rage, and the design shows it. Also, it was said that Lamborghini did not design the vehicle. In fact, this Lamborghini Motorbike was designed and put together by a company called Boxer Design.
The engine came from the Kawasaki GPZ1000RX (Video below)
The body had several vents so that the vehicle’s aerodynamics were almost perfect, letting it make sharper turns and move faster. The engine’s raw power had to be sent to the wheels, and the boxy design would definitely slow the car down. This is exactly why these “holes” and streamlined pathways were cut into the body
Even though this made the bike look a lot worse overall, it definitely improved how well it worked.
Lamborghini did well selling V12 engines to companies that make powerboats. But they didn’t have a small engine that they could put in their superbike.
But at the time, Kawasaki had a line of motorcycle engines that dominated the superbike market. Kawasaki gave Lamborghini their 750cc, 900cc, and 997cc engines. All of these engines had four cylinders in a line and made between 80 PS and 130 PS of power. Today, these numbers might not seem like much, but these engines were used in the best superbikes back then.
Versions and Modifications
The bad news is that only 50 of these bad boys were ever made. Also, neither the people who used them nor the people in the area liked them. One Design 90 model was recently put up for auction with a price tag of $58,000. One might think that the price is pretty fair, given that it is a limited edition of a well-known brand. Except that not a single person bid on the bike.
The Lamborghini Design 90 failed in every way. Patrick Mimran may have made this bike in a last-ditch effort to keep the company going before he sold it to Chrysler in 1987.
The fact that the bike came out a year before the company was sold adds to the strength of this idea. Chrysler and the other owners of Lamborghini (the company had many owners before it joined the Volkswagen family in 1998) decided that Lamborghini should make fast racing sports cars instead of bikes.
We may never see another bike from the Lamborghini family again, but the Design 90 made history while it was around, leaving a permanent mark on the otherwise perfect golden bull.
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