The Lamborghini Cheetah
was an off-road
prototype built in 1977 for the Italian carmaker Lamborghini
The Lamborghini Cheetah was Lamborghini
's first attempt at an off-road vehicle. 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
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 Motor Show
. The XR311
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 180 bhp 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 (2042 kg/4500 lb), resulting in overall poor performance.
The US military tested the Cheetah and allegedly destroyed the only prototype. The "damaged" remains were never returned to Lamborghini or... Read More