The Lamborghini Cala is the Lamborghini that could’ve been. The vehicle you see above is a Lamborghini that almost found its way into production, but never quite made it — a predecessor to the Gallardo that never happened. It’s my favorite Lamborghini that never was.
Here’s the back story: The Cala was designed by Italian design house Italdesign, famously the domain of Giorgetto Giugiaro — one of the most storied car designers in history. It made its debut at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, and it was intended to replace the Jalpa as an "entry-level" model in the Lamborghini lineup — a rival to the Ferrari F355 that had just debuted. It was also gorgeous, and striking, and very cool.
The Cala was fully functioning, and it used a 400-horsepower V10 mated to a 6-speed manual transmission — the V10 foreshadowing things to come a decade down the road, when the Gallardo finally came out. The Cala was intended to go into production by Lamborghini’s owners, an Indonesian firm called Megatech, but Megatech ran out of cash and sold Lamborghini to the Volkswagen Group. VW shelved plans for the Cala and decided to develop its own entry-level model, which, of course, became the Gallardo.
So the Cala was an unfortunate victim of circumstances: A gorgeous car with gorgeous lines that was built during Lamborghini’s turbulent times of ownership change — and, thus, it never saw the light of day. Just one Cala was made, the Geneva show concept car, and it’s long since been forgotten by just about everyone … except you, now that you’ve read this article.