Lamborghini Cheetah

Lamborghini Cheetah

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Lamborghini Cheetah

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Description:
The Lamborghini Cheetah was an off-road prototype built in 1977 for the Italian carmaker Lamborghini.

History

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's XR311 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...
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