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Crazy Concepts: Lamborghini Genesis

A five-seater minivan with the heart of a Lamborghini Countach

Can you imagine anything as crazy as cramming a 5.2-litre Lamborghini V12 engine sourced from the Countach into a minivan? Well, imagine no more. Because it happened.

The year is 1988 and Italian styling house Bertone thought it would be fun to experiment with the minivan segment. But this was no ordinary people mover.

For starters, it featured signature Lambo gullwing doors at the front while the rear doors more conventional sliding numbers.

That fabulous V12 was mounted longitudinally at the front and was mated to a Chrysler parts-bin (Lambo was owned by Chrysler at the time, remember) three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission sending an astonishing 340-or-so kilowatts to the rear wheels.

Inside, swathes of Alcantara met passengers and driver alike while the seating configuration could be adjusted electrically in any number of ways, including having the passenger swivel 180 degrees to face the rear.

The middle seat in the second row sat elevated and forward of the outboard seats, much like that later found in the McLaren F1. There was also a TV back there to keep passengers entertained.

Interestingly, despite being designed as a minivan, the Genesis could only carry five people – admittedly in comfort – the same as an ordinary sedan. Still, that’s three more people than a Countach could carry in comfort. Hell, that’s five more people than a Countach could carry in ‘comfort’.

Sadly, despite the six Weber carburettors feeding that stonking and heroic 5.2-litre V12, the Genesis didn’t exactly exuded supercar performance, thanks largely due to its portly circa-1800kg weight, around 400kg more than the heart transplant donor car.

Bertone unveiled the Genesis at the 1988 Turin motor show and while it would be fun to imagine ferrying a family in comfort and style all while that howling V12 played its sonorous and glorious soundtrack, it was never intended for production.

But, Bertone had done the unthinkable, and proved minivans could be stylish and cool. Bravo.

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