Lamborghini Supercars 50 Years is a new coffee table-sized book focusing on the development of Lamborghini’s signature motorcars but also makes time to introduce you to some of the players. This includes the late Ferruccio Elio Arturo Lamborghini (April 28, 1916 – February 20, 1993,) who came up with the idea for creating an alterative to Ferrari grand touring cars. But you’ll also meet people you might already be familiar with and may not have known they were part of Lamborghini’s origin story. Names like Dallara, Bizzarrini and Gandini along with others, such as New Zealander Bob Wallace who played an important role in developing the Countach.
Stuart Codding is a wonderful writer who takes you behind the scenes of the creation of some of the most amazing supercars ever constructed, while providing insights, exploding myths but at the same time creating enough mystery to make you not quite sure if some of the myths aren’t true after all. And that makes for a fun read because the creation of Lamborghini’s cars is not without some histrionics and drama that would have made a helluva reality TV show. But fear not, gentle reader, we have something better—without commercials—where Codling and photographer James Mann show what are undeniably the most amazingly beautiful and outrageous sports and GT cars ever built.
A word About James Mann. Mr. Mann is, I think one of the finest automobile photographers in the world and certainly Lamborghini Supercars 50 Years is a splendid example of the sheer artistry of his work. He is also author of the sadly out-of-print (but well worth searching for) How to Photograph Cars that takes you behind the scenes showing how he creates his automotive masterworks.
The book is structured almost like a novel with chapters built around a specific car. I especially enjoyed how Giugiaro—a designer whose work I’ve always admired—claimed then unclaimed then claimed again that he designed the groundbreaking Miura, which after much debate seems was Gandini ‘s work. The Countach chapter alone would make a wonderful movie or HBO series with all of the evolutionary changes in a car that would in itself be a game changer in the world of sports and GT cars and influence car design for many years.
Lamborghini Supercars 50 Years may look like a coffee table, with lavish production values and 224 page with beautiful printing and Mann’s stunning photographs add to that, but it’s much more. It’s a fascinating history book about one of the most unique automobiles companies that was ever founded and as you follow the company through it’s many owners over the years to Volkswagen’s stewardship, you will be struck by how faithful VW has been to the soul of the marque making all of us glad that Lamborghini is still around and building breathtakingly beautiful state-of-the-art automobiles. Lamborghini Supercars 50 Years is simply the best book on automobiles I’ve read all year.