|Manufacturer||Mobility Technology International|
|Body style||All Terrain|
|Platform||4 wheel drive|
|Engine||Chrysler 5.9 liter V8|
|Length||179 in (455 cm)|
|Width||60 in (152 cm)|
|Weight||Net (including fuel) 4500 lb (2042 kg)|
|Wheelbase||118 in (300 cm)|
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 XR 311 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 Auto Show. The XR 311 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 180bhp 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 (2042kg/4500lbs), resulting in overall poor performance.
The US military tested the Cheetah and ended up destroying the only prototype. The damaged remains were never returned to Lamborghini or MTI. In the end, the contract was awarded to AM General and their similar looking HMMWV.
Options (partial list)
- Top and Door Kit
- Turbocharger Kit
- Electric Winch Kit
- Police Vehicle Kit
- Armored (Kevlar) Top Kit
- Armored (small arms) Fuel Tank and Radiator
- Weapon Mounting Kit
- GI Joe: The Cheetah’s styling was used to create several vehicles for GI Joe. Beginning with the VAMP [Multi-Purpose Attack Vehicle] which was first released in U.S. toy stores in 1982 and included a driver named Clutch. The VAMP was discontinued in 1984. However, the VAMP mold was later used in 1984 to create the VAMP Mark 2 and the Cobra Stinger Jeep, in 1989 to create the Tiger Sting, and in 2001 to create the Desert Striker. The VAMP and its counterparts can also be seen in GI Joe cartoons and video games.
- MacGyver: Glasslite released an action figure, as well as a number of accessories, for the MacGyver TV show. The package included several vehicles. However, according to the description, the only ones scaled for the 3 3/4-inch figure are the Lamborghini Cheetah and the Ferrari Testarossa. You could also buy the Cheetah in a package by itself.
Surviver: The Surviver, a fiberglass kit car (dune buggy) distributed by BMB Automotive in 1979, was heavily influenced by the Cheetah's distinctive profile and stance. Very few were made and the original mold was destroyed in a 2003 California forest fire.
Tamiya Corporation: created A 1/12th scale remote controlled model introduced in 1978. Tamiya was known for its realistic vehicles.
Bburago: introduced A 1/24th scale die cast model.
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|Lamborghini road car timeline|