Lamborghini and Gigliato: a Great but All-Too-Short Story

At the end of his career at Lamborghini, Luigi Marmiroli was invited to take part in a supercar project being launched in Japan. It could have been a unique opportunity for the Sant’Agata-based manufacturer, if the project hadn’t been blocked mid-way, ending up – as the engineer tells us – in the bottom drawer of broken dreams.

Photos courtesy of Luigi Marmiroli Archive

Towards the end of 1996, and at the end of my fantastic experience as Technical Director at Automobili Lamborghini, I was invited by the then-CEO to a meeting for the presentation of a unique supercar project: the ‘Aerosa’ by Japanese designer Nobuo Nakamura, president of Gigliato Japan. In addition to the project, those Italian-sounding names tickled my curiosity: Gigliato and Aerosa.

I must say that a few years early in Lamborghini we had been enthusiastically working to try and design a car, which unfortunately did not come to fruition, to replace the Diablo, so that this would not be the only Lamborghini on the market: the P140, which I will describe to Speedholics readers in another article soon. Styled by Gandini, it could have been worthy of the line-up of the Urraco, the Jalpa and the Silhouette. Unfortunately, the project was sacrificed during the transfer of ownership from the US Chrysler to the Indonesian Megathec.

After my job at Lamborghini, and returning full-time to my Fly-Studio in Modena - where I sought to maintain that raging bull imprinting - I thought that a partnership between Lamborghini and Gigliato could have been a solution to the problem of the Diablo as a single product.

I set off for Japan, enjoying an unforgettable “full immersion” in the ancient Japanese culture as well as their modern industrial and technological world. In this respect, I must admit that I quickly learned to perform the “ceremony” of exchanging business cards...

I must say that, thanks to my experience and background in Lamborghini, and Ferrari before that, all the doors opened for me, including those in the largest companies. And so, when I finally met Nobuo Nakamura, I realised how much talent he had expressed in the Aerosa and, beneath that typical Japanese veil of impassiveness there was that passion for supercars shared by Latin peoples.

When I returned to Italy, also with the agreement of Lamborghini, I threw myself into a preliminary technical and financial analysis of the Aerosa with a view to a joint venture between Italy and Japan.