30th October 2008 commemorates 45 years of Lamborghini’s sportscar production; most publications would get themselves a Lamborghini sportscar and take to for a spin. Not us, we decided to take a look (drive rather) down memory lane of where it all began.
Ferruccio Lamborghini was a mechanical engineer by trade and worked for the Italian army during World War II. Upon his return to Italy Ferruccio started his own business manufacturing tractors and other farming equipment in a small town Sant’Agata Bolognese.
Not much has changed since then except the agricultural company Same Deutz has taken ownership of Lamborghini tractors, they are now manufactured in the town Treviglio of Bergamo and they are now selling in Australia.
We contacted the distributor in Australia for Lamborghini tractors Inlon and asked to experience first hand the super-tractors. Coincidentally Joe Mantella, the Account Manager at Inlon is an Italian chap and kindly obliged.
On early Wednesday morning we made our way to Red Hill in South Eastern Victoria on the Peninsula to meet with Joe. Upon meeting Joe he said “alright follow me around the corner, we have one in action”. We followed Joe to a stunning boutique winery which settles on a large property with a holiday house and panoramic views of Western Port Bay. The house overlooking the property was of fine architecture, the kind where you would expect a garage full of Lamborghinis to reside. However the Lamborghinis weren’t in the garage, they were out working and getting dirty.
Joe introduced us to Jonathan, a kiwi who works for Montalto. Montalto has a team that a number of wineries in the area use to maintain their vineyards, of the 200 wineries on the Mornington Peninsula, Montalto personally maintain a quarter of them.
The Montalto fleet includes 5 Lamborghini tractors; the model we especially came to see today is the RF-100. The RF series prides itself on concentrated technology for confined spaces; these tractors must travel down vine rows as narrow as 1.8 metres.
Jonathan’s RF-100 is fully optioned, not unlike the Supercars where customers can choose the paint and leather and trinkets etc, these tractors can be optioned up to include a canopy, Roll Over Protection System (ROPS), front end loaders and a range of trailers.
The ‘100’ stands for 100 hp, Lamborghini tractors come in a wide range of models from 25 hp to 280 hp, power figures obviously different from the 560 hp found in the Gallardo. But can the Gallardo tow a 2 tonne trailer?
At the vineyard today, Jonathan from Montalto was driving the RF-100 up the narrow vine rows spraying the crops; we observed with jealousy that this guy drives a Lambo everyday with a beautiful view. We also noticed the refinement of the engine ticking over.
Here’s a bit of information on the tractor, on paper the RF-100 has an impressive list of specifications, it sports a four cylinder 4.0Litre engine and assisted with a turbocharger and churns out 377 Nm of torque, not to mention the four wheel disc brakes. It uses a common rail diesel injection system whilst the Murcielago still uses a standard fuel injection system.
Lamborghini is also well known for being one of the first agricultural machinery manufacturers to introduce all wheel drive to the industry. “Nowadays it’s hard to find a tractor that isn’t 4WD Joe tells us”.
Unlike the Supercars Jonathan demonstrates the RF-100’s impressive turning circle, these tractors are designed to turn right as sharply as possible and to get the job done quickly.
As these tractors are equipped with front and rear remote plugs they are capable of doing two jobs at once. For example the front can be fitted with a hedge trimmer and the rear a sprayer, two birds with one stone, well… a Lambo.
We’re told Lamborghini tractors are innovative and technologically advanced, and why shouldn’t they have the all the gadgets? Guys like Jonathan are in these tractors for up to 8-10 hours a day, their job made more comfortable with air conditioning, CD players, 45 gears, a pneumatic driver’s seat and Stop and Go.
The rear tyre is 420/70 24 inch, wrapped with Pirelli rubber. The clutch can be operated manually or automatically, similar to technology found in cars today. When the clutch is needed, the driver can choose between a conventional foot operated clutch or a finger operated button clutch on the gear shifter.
So who buys a Lamborghini tractor and why?
Joe tells us "they’re not as expensive as you’d think, they’re actually competitively priced and offer excellent fuel economy... these tractors operate an 8 hour day and only use about 25 litres of fuel”.
Soon after we leave this beautiful boutique vineyard Joe takes us to one of his best customers, Montalto winery. The Montalto winery is located on the Mornington Peninsula, with picturesque views over the vineyard and wetlands from the stunning French cuisine restaurant, it’s no wonder Geoff Clarke who manages the agricultural side of the business has no trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
John and Wendy Mitchell purchased the property in 1998; the inspiration came from holidaying in the south of France. What started off as a hobby farm growing some olive trees and a few vines has turned into a thriving destination for tourists. BMW are even using the Montalto winery to host their media launch for an upcoming vehicle. John and their daughter Heidi manage the operations of the business and Wendy maintains the vegetable and rose gardens.
The Montalto winery is luxurious; with pristine surroundings and attention to detail of all aspects, the five Lamborghini tractors used to maintain the property surely do not feel out of place. As they drive around the property spraying vines or edging bushes there are sculptural pieces of art everywhere to be seen over the property.
Every year Montalto hosts an art competition where artists submit their sculptures and the winner of the competition sells the piece to the winery and it is then positioned on the property for restaurant customers and visitors to come and admire.
Geoff took us to see the oldest Lamborghini tractor the Montalto business uses, an eight year old model, called the Multispeed 990 Agile. It has a 90 hp engine and took six years of regular work to replace the first set of tyres. Geoff swears by them, and when asked if he would ever consider buying another brand he laughed and replied “it would have to a bloody good tractor to replace these”.
The Lamborghini’s are easy to service and maintain, we had chat with Mathew Giordano who services Lamborghini tractors. “They are designed in such a way the body panels can be removed with ease and there is lots of room around the engine to fix and replace parts”
The Montalto business is growing and always very busy so they cannot afford to have any downtime with their machinery. 50 vineyards around the Mornington Peninsula rely on Montalto’s tractors to maintain, spray and hedge so having the best and most reliable agricultural machinery is not an option… it is mandatory.
As you can imagine the Lamborghini tractor range is quite large, from 25 hp engines to 280 hp. There are different types of tractors depending on the job; there are vineyard-orchard tractors and general purpose tractors, tractors with wheels and some with tracks, some with cabins, and some with roll bars.
When we asked the Managing Director of Inlon who distributed Lamborghini tractors in Australia what we can expect in the future he replies “Lamborghini has an intense focus on bio-fuel tractors, at present much of the (Lamborghini) range can operate on 100% Biodiesel B100 while many competitors are still talking about their tractors being B5, B10 5% and 10% respectively…. In the next 12 months Lamborghini will release a revolution in specialist vineyard tractors and a wide range of continuously-variable transmission general-farm tractors.”
The tractor market in Australia sells approximately 12,000 units per year, this year Lamborghini Australia is on track for record sales in 14 years. In Italy Lamborghini has had the strongest market share since 2005.
For any agricultural job we reckon you should check them out first.
Plus, just think you can tell your mates you own a Lambo… these guys do.
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