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The Lamborghini Cala is My Favorite Lamborghini That Never Was

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.

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  1. I never understood why Lamborghini never produced vehicles affordable to most people, Offering all the style but perhaps less of the performance, They would sell like hotcakes! I suppose they don’t want mere plebeians driving Lambo’s… Funny how elitist a company gets considering they produced Tractors! GM needs to step up to the plate and produce affordable mid engine cars with an option for a manual transmission, Essentially it would be like a modern Fiero with a wedge shape and scissor doors, I promise you they would sell well especially if the price was that of a Camaro.

  2. Sometimes I see cars like this and it amazes me they actually had to make this almost a production car and the costs of that for what? Nothing. Things like the mirror housing, door handles, everything had to be made – all that time and money…

  3. I knew this car looked familiar… Need for Speed II SE had this car. The pictures and videos included in that game are seared into my mind, my favorites being the Jaguar XJ220 and McLaren F1… Watching them now just makes them seem so 90’s, with screetch rock and stupid camera angles…

    Still was amazing to have quality video and pictures like that before the internet was as prolific as it is today. Heck, I remember the Ford GT90 prototype supercar and it’s Ceramic exhaust standing out. 

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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