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Lamborghini Cheetah
Production 1 (Remained a prototype)
Class SUV
Body Style Four-seater, off-road vehicle
Length 4320 mm
Width 1880 mm
Height 1580 mm
Wheelbase 3000 mm
Weight 2042 kg
Engine Chrysler V-8, rear mounted, permanent four wheel drive
Power 183 bhp at 4000 rpm (290 bhp in turbocharged version)

32 Kgm at 3500 rpm


The Lamborghini Cheetah was Lamborghini's first attempt at an offroad vehicle that wasn't a tractor. It was built on contract from Mobility Technology International, which in turn was contracted by the US military to design and build a new all-terrain vehicle. The basis of the design came from MTI, and was largely a copy of FMC's XR 311 prototype developed for the military in 1970. This resulted in legal action from FMC against MTI and Lamborghini in 1977 when the Cheetah was presented at the Geneva Auto Show. The XR 311 and Cheetah could be considered progenitors of the current Humvee.

The Cheetah was built in San José, California. After initial construction, the prototype was sent to Sant'Agata so Lamborghini could put on the finishing touches. They decided to go with a large, waterproofed 180bhp 5.9L Chrysler engine, rear mounted, with a 3 speed automatic transmission. The body was fiberglass, and inside there was enough room for four fully equipped soldiers as well as the driver.

The mounting of the engine in the rear gave the Cheetah very poor handling characteristics, and the engine choice was not powerful enough to be adequate for the heavy vehicle (2042kg/4500lbs), resulting in overall poor performance.

The US military tested the Cheetah and ended up destroying the only prototype. The damaged remains were never returned to Lamborghini or MTI.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> In the end, the contract was awarded to AM General and their similar looking HMMWV.

The failure of the Cheetah project, and Lamborghini financial problems lead to the cancellation of a contract from BMW to develop their M1.

Lamborghini eventually developed the Lamborghini LM002 — a similar design, but with a 12 cylinder motor from the Lamborghini Countach mounted in the front.

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