Lamborghini was in the off-road business before the cult classic LM002, cooperating with MTI on a military vehicle concept dubbed Cheetah in the mid-seventies that it hoped to sell to the U.S. armed forces. The 4,500-pound, fiberglass-bodied troop carrier used a 5.9-liter, 180-horsepower Chrysler engine mounted in back. Hardly Cheetah-like, the vehicle delivered lackluster performance and didn't handle well.

Even worse, it was a badly translated copy of a vehicle already made by another firm, which landed MTI and Lamborghini in court when the Cheetah was revealed at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. The U.S. military tested the sole prototype and totaled it.

Perhaps this is the worst part: the Cheetah was such an expensive failure for Lamborghini that it was one of the reasons the company was unable to follow through on its commitment to BMW for the M1 project.

And with that history lesson digested, you'll get even more wry satisfaction from the narrator's dialogue in the Cheetah promo video, which you'll find just below.

Lamborghini Cheetah Concept Promo Video from eGarage on Vimeo.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      With music like that, who could say no?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cheetah = someone who doesn't play fair?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Reminds me of a Meyers Manx . The video narration and background music reminds me of Marty Stouffer's Wild America.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It does alright in the little promo video, though it looks like the tires are pancaking against the fender wells over rough terrain. Biggest missing component for this thing to be used in the field? Compare the shots in the video to the shots of the Humvee. Note what's missing on the Cheetah. Yeah, side panels and a ROOF. All of which are useful when providing moderately protective cover. Forget armor. Just occluding your enemy's line of sight to the squishy targets inside helps. But that would've meant more weight on those vaunted soft tires and suspension.
      Bryan South
      • 3 Years Ago
      The announcer makes it sound like it's for the average family, not just for the military. Ample storage for all your grocery's! Able to knock down trees and climb over rocks on your way to the gym!
      • 3 Years Ago
      That long wheelbase and low ground clearance made me hear scratch or clang over each bump (in my head watching the video). Plus it was gas, military vehicles need to be diesel.
      • 3 Years Ago
      reminds me of the GI Joe Vamp
      • 3 Years Ago
      The raptor of the 1970's
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      It takes some real engineering wizardry to manage only 180hp from nearly 6
      • 3 Years Ago
      And now we have the lovely badge engineered new Lamborghini POS SUV. Another embarrassment.
      • 3 Years Ago
      this shows that most prestigious car makers were once copycats..
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