Lamborghini tractors – from World War II to Clarkson’s Farm

Jeremy Clarkson’s Amazon Prime series saw Jeremy purchase a beautiful Lamborghini tractor. At this moment, the British public became more aware than ever of Lamborghini tractors, but outside of Clarkson’s high jinks are 73 years of hidden tractor history.

Jeremy Clarkson in Lamborghini tractor from Clarkson's Farm season 1

When Jeremy Clarkson first announced he had bought a Lamborghini tractor it was met with many eye-rolls. Anyone who has watched the first series of Clarkson’s Farm will know that he encountered more than a few problems operating his Lamborghini R8 270 DCR.

Those outside of the agricultural community could easily be fooled. They might well think that the tractor was the result of a foolish car company trying to cash in on the farming market by making the biggest, brashest tractor they could.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Lamborghini began producing tractors nearly 20 years before they moved into the luxury car industry they are best known for today. The brand’s tractor sector represents 70 years of Italian design, ingenuity and resilience.

After the Second World War, Italy was desperately short of agricultural equipment. Experiencing financial ruin having lost most of its infrastructure, the country needed affordable solutions to its growing issues. This laid the foundations for the birth of one of today’s best-known global brands.

The early Lamborghini tractors

Ferruccio Lamborghini founded Lamborghini Trattori in 1948. To start, the company produced its first tractors using discarded war materials.

Ferruccio had a long history with machinery. Having grown up in an agricultural family with their vineyard, he likely started working on the family tractors at a young age before going on to study mechanics. During the war he served as a supervisor of vehicle maintenance in the Italian Air Force.

Following a short stint as a British prisoner of war, Ferruccio Lamborghini returned home and embarked on a life of innovation which helped the country rebound from its war-time woes.

The second-hand nature of the reclaimed parts used on these tractors meant the first models were far and away from the modern luxury you would associate with the brand today. The designs were simple, using components from haulage and military machines. The tractors were cheap and easy to repair – it’s unlikely Jeremy Clarkson would describe his modern model as either of those things.

The second generation

After only a few years, the company was ready to move on from their scavenged designs. They launched the ‘L 33″ in 1951, marking a turning point for the company. This was the first production tractor made entirely by Lamborghini, with the exception of the engine: a diesel-fuelled 3,500 cc in-line six cylinder Morris, equipped with a new fuel atomiser patented by Ferruccio Lamborghini.

The first Lamborghini crawler, the DL 25 C, was introduced in 1955, followed by the DL 30 C in today’s well recognised bright yellow colour.

1961 Lamborghini 2R tractor orange and grey
A 1961 Lamborghini 2R.

It was during the 1960s that Lamborghini began adding the more luxurious modern conveniences we now expect to find in the cab and under the hood. In 1962, they introduced four-wheel drive and air cooled engines with its ‘2R DT’ model. Lamborghini produced the first tractors in Italy to be fitted with a synchronised gearbox as standard.

Bigger and more powerful Lamborghinis

One year later in 1963, Ferruccio discovered that his Ferrari was made using the same clutch and other parts from his tractors. Promptly, he decided he could make his own luxury cars. This soon became the most famous of his enterprises, but work on tractors continued. Lamborghini have continued to produce tractors from 1948 to the present day.

In the 1970s, with Ferruccio moving into retirement, Lamborghini became part of SAME Deutz-Fahr, which still remains its parent company.

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Over the subsequent decades, the tractors have gotten bigger and more powerful. The R6, R7 and R8 ranges entered production at the turn of the century, signalling a particular spike in size and horsepower.

The model hitting headlines after starring in Clarkson’s Farm is the R8 270 DCR. Fitted with Deutz Common Rail TIER III engines with 24 valve heads, Lamborghini describes the machine as its flagship model and “an imposing beast”.

The UK public was largely unaware of Lamborghini tractors until Jeremy’s made the news, as they have remained a rather uncommon sight in our fields.

There’s no doubt that the giant specimen Jeremy Clarkson chose is impractical for the English countryside. Although, when viewed as the end product of 73 years of development from wartime scrap, it can’t help but be a little inspiring.

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