Ferruccio Lamborghini

From humble beginnings as a producer of tractors, Ferruccio Lamborghini emerged as a creative and eye-catching automotive engineer. In the mid 1960s, his 350GT (335 bhp, 0-60 mph in 6.8s and a top speed in excess of 150 mph) and 400GT were much admired, but it was the 180 mph Miura which engrained the Lamborghini name on public consciousness. Until the arrival, 10 years later, of the Countach, the Miura remained the most charismatic example of the marque.

Lamborghini sold his business empire around 20 years ago, but the name has remained synonymous with seductive supercars that are affordable only to a few.

In recent years, Lamborghini, through parent company Chrysler, has also been a regular F1 fixture with V12 engines that have powered Lola, Larrousse, Lotus, Modena and Minardi chassis. The latest Larrousse-Lamborghinis showed real promise in the hands of Philippe Alliot and Erik Comas during the South African GP on March 14. Sadly, Ferruccio Lamborghini was not around to witness their progress. On February 20, not long after he had suffered a heart attack, he passed away at the age of 76.

His legacy, however, lives on. In addition to the racing cars whose engines carry his name, there is also the 200 mph Diablo, launched as successor to the mighty Countach in 1991.