Lamborghini’s first ever development and test driver Bob Wallace, has passed away at the age of 75 in the Italian supercar manufacturer’s 50th anniversary. Wallace who was born in New Zealand played an extremely key role in the firm’s road car development between 1964 and 75, he joined the firm as a mechanic initially and he was extremely influential in the V12 engine development.
Wallace moved to Europe when he was just 21 and travelled to Italy to work for the Maserati and Ferrari race teams. After a motorsport Stint, he moved that short distance to work for Lamborghini as a mechanic. Wallace worked his way up the ranks of the company quickly, progressing to a role as a development and test driver assessing prototypes for Lamborgini at 170 miles per hour on the Autostrada under the cover of darkness. Though the connection that Wallace had with Lamborghini went far deeper than maxing out the companies latest supercar.
Wallace played an important role in establishing the Lamborghini we know today
Wallace was renounced for his amazing feel and deft touch, along with his great ability to give feedback to engineers about the performance of a chassis. He also played an extremely important role in establishing the Lamborghini that we know today.
Wallace’s drecits include the 400GT, the Miura, the Miura SV/J, the Jarama S’Bob Wallace Special and the Urraco.
The Jota is probably Wallace’s most famous legacy. Based on the Miura chassis 5084, it was a test bed for a new racer for Lamborghini that would allow the company to compete under the FIA’s Appendix J racing rules. Jota is the Spanish word for J. The completely unique development model from 1970 was almost destroyed during a crash on the at the time unopened ring road around Brescia, a City in Italy. Though it has since been restored.
Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Wallace was not able to attend celebrations for Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary, he instead sent a video message.
CEO of Lamborghini Stephan Winkelmann expressed his and the companies sorrow
Stephan Winkelmann, who is the President and Chief executive officer of Automobil Lamborghini expressed his sadness and said that the passing of Bob Wallace has hit him and everybody at Lamborghini and left them with great sorrow. Wallacey has played a key role in the early years of the Lamborghini company.