This Rambo Lambo Is A 600 HP Diesel-Swapped Lamborghini LM002 Used To Tow Ferraris
This Turbo-Cummins swapped LM002 uses 1,200 lb-ft of torque to work as a Ferrari shop truck.
A Lamborghini LM002 towing a Ferrari race car across the Southwestern desert might seem like a mirage, but it is the real deal. This 1989 LM002 belongs to Italian Design and Racing, a Ferrari restoration shop located in Phoenix, Arizona, run by father-son team Jim and Michael Carpenter. It is one of the 48 U.S.-spec models sold here, and rather than being a Bring a Trailer queen, it works part-time as a Ferrari shop truck.
The Carpenters' shop told us this particular "Rambo Lambo" handles the workload thanks to a 600 horsepower 5.9-liter turbo-charged Cummins diesel engine swap cranking out 1,200 pound-feet of torque.
LM002 owes its evolution to Tina Turner—yes, that Tina Turner—who swapped the V12 Countach engine on her LM002 for a 5.0-liter Mercedes V8 with an automatic. The idea convinced a doctor in New Port Beach, California to modify this 1989 LM002 the same way.
That's the thing about the Rambo Lambo. It may be the original super-SUV, but the 5.2-liter 455 HP Countach V12 lacked the muscle to move this 6,000 pound SUV like a supercar. But in the 1980s, the Rambo Lambo wasn't used to run stoplight drags on Rodeo Drive. It was a V12-powered Italian fashion accessory with an ashtray full of Colombian nose candy (presumably.)
The doctor converted the LM002 to the same Mercedes engine but was unsatisfied with the results. The truck ran fine, but it didn't move like a Lamborghini, so it sat at the back of his car collection. Jim got his hands on the Rambo Lambo thanks to a friend who purchased the V12 engine prompting Jim to ask, "Where's the rest of it?"
It took several months for Jim to convince the doc that he was not just looking for a quick flip. In 2017, Jim gained enough trust to buy it. Jim's goal was to finish what Lamborghini started and make the LM002 run as well as it did on paper.
First drafts included a 600 hp 9.0-liter Lamborghini marine engine, but it was too big to swap into the LM002's chassis. Jim's son Michael decided to buy a junkyard 5.9-liter Cummins diesel out of a Ram truck. A mild-race build, a 68mm turbo, FASS fuel lift pump, Steed Speed manifold, and a Hellmann side-draft intake cranked the Cummins engine up to 600 hp and 1,200 pound-feet of torque.
The Rambo Lambo is mostly original apart from some necessary improvements like King Shocks, and Wilwood six-piston brake calipers with 16-inch rotors. Every modification done has been bolt-on to ensure that the LM002 could be restored to original-spec if needed. One cool detail are the 3D-printed door handles designed by Michael Carpenter.
Jim and Michael tow completed Ferrari projects to clients using the Cummins-Rambo Lambo. It is a shop truck, company vehicle, and weekend toy. Current plans for the LM002 is a race-prepped 48RE transmission swap to give it those 600 horses some legs while trail-blazing the Arizona desert. Their long-term goal is to run this truck for a million miles.
Hey, with that kind of diesel under the hood, it probably can.