Chrysler Corp. acquires another Italian supercar maker, Lamborghini, for a reported $25 million on April 23, 1987.
Chrysler hoped to bring prestige, performance and engineering prowess to its U.S.-centric product lineup with the acquisition.
"We intend to maintain the tradition and integrity that is the root of the Lamborghini mystique,'' Gerald Greenwald, the chairman of Chrysler Motors, told Lamborghini's work force at the company's factory in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, when the deal was disclosed.
Chrysler already owned 15.6 percent of Maserati, with an option to hike the stake to 51 percent by 1988, and was negotiating to buy American Motors Corp. and its vaunted Jeep brand. So Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca and Greenwald couldn't resist the opportunity to buy another famed automaker when Lamborghini went on the sales block.
Lamborghini's roots stemmed from a dispute between two of Italy's most powerful industrialists, Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari.
Lamborghini, a wealthy manufacturer of tractors, was having trouble getting the Ferrari factory to pay attention to problems he was having with his Ferraris.
He reportedly requested a private meeting with Ferrari, who was often more interested in the company's race team than with service problems. Lamborghini was rebuffed and, legend goes, immediately began work to build an exotic car superior to Ferrari's.
Since the first Lamborghini was produced in 1963, the company's products have ranked among the most powerful and fastest in the world.
Lamborghini, facing financial pressure from his other operations, sold a controlling interest in the auto company in 1972 and retired in 1974 to produce wine.
After passing through several owners, Lamborghini went bankrupt in 1980 and was purchased by the French-Swiss Mimran family, which sold its 100 percent interest in the company to Chrysler.
Chrysler sold Lamborghini to a group of Indonesian investors in 1994 and four years later, VW took over Lamborghini.