Meet the Lamborghini-powered van
Ah, yes. The epitome of Italian madness
If you ask someone what decade was the best when it comes to the car industry, chances are that you will very often hear the answer: ‘1980s’. And, I agree. This is when car makers just went bonkers and started producing, what we refer to as, ‘poster cars’. Think about the Ferrari F40 and Testarossa, Porsche 959, Lamborghini Countach, various AMG Mercs and fast BMWs and many more. The 1980s were just mental.
And the maddest cat of them all was the Italian Bertone. You see, this Italian company decided to seek for the definition of ‘mental’ and what they came up with was a van with a Lamborghini engine.
After 30.000 man hours being invested into this project, the car was revealed at the 1988 Turin Motor Show. The world was finally introduced to the Genesis, a sports van designed by Bertone’s chief Designer Marc Deschamps. The idea was to create a sporty-looking van, but all of the interesting bits were on the inside. Bertone shoved a Lamborghini Countach QV engine in the Genesis, which still produced 455 bhp.
However, unlike in the Countach, the engine was actually moved to the front of the van. Due to its size, the front seats had to be placed on top of the engine itself. The gearbox was a TorqueFlite 3-speed automatic taken from Chrysler, which was a bad choice since it meant that the acceleration was quite slow and the gear ratio was way too long.
The chassis came from a Lamborghini Espada and, thanks to its width of exactly 2 meters, it seemed very bulky. But, at least the interior was spacious. To get in, you can either use the gullwing front doors or the sliding rear doors - features that makes it look like a UFO. It could accommodate 5 people, and the passenger seat could rotate at 180 degrees. Unfortunately, it was quite heavy for a car of its caliber, with almost 2 tons pressing on the delicate suspension.
But, with only a few quirks here and there to be fixed meant that the Genesis was not far from a production line. In fact, the impression of the sporty van was rather positive even back when people dreamt of supercars and fast sedans. And, the Genesis was introduced not long before Lamborghini ended the production of the LM002. It seemed like the perfect time to add this to the lineup along with the Jalpa and Diablo.
It’s never too late, though...