Gigliato Aerosa

Car of the Day #25: Gigliato Aerosa

Gigliato Aerosa
Gigliato Aerosa • via allcarindex

Look at it — building this sports car seems like a no-brainer. Except…

First, I've been trying to figure out what engine is in this car, and I think I've straightened it all out. See, most of the information online points to it being fitted with a 4.6-litre Ford V8 from that era of Mustang  Cobra — a company rep even mentions it on camera in the Men & Motors clip below.

Except for one source. In the Google results, John Lamm's book Supercars has a throwaway line in his article on the Acura NSX-T, saying that the Aerosa was at one time powered by the Yamaha V8 from the Ford Taurus SHO. Eight cylinders, OK.

Gigliato Aerosa • via allcarindex

Wouldn't a V8 be perfect?

Perfect, but unlikely: there is a Japanese brochure scan that clearly shows a transverse V6 engine, one suspiciously alike the one fitted to the Taurus SHO. A Taurus engine makes sense, though, right? The Acura NSX, with which the Aerosa shares many design details, had a similar layout. 

A story on allcarindex says that the early version, shown in 1993, had a mid-mounted Ford V6. The car was later shown, in 1997, fitted with a Ford V8—from the Mustang—mounted front to back.

Former Lamborghini man, Luigi Marmiroli, recently wrote an entire history of the Aerosa, filling in several details, but at the same time mentioning the production engine was to have come from Lotus: the twin-turbocharged ‘Type 918’ 3.5-litre V8 used in the Esprit. Figures. 

Nobuo Nakamura, the car's designer, is said to have come from Isuzu. But no matter who worked on what, or which engine had ultimately been chosen, the Aerosa was, sadly, doomed from the start.


Gigliato Aerosa interior • allcarindex

Thing is, for the car's vivacious looks and very possible market success, the car's development was hampered by incredibly bad timing. After being bought by Chrysler in 1987, Lamborghini was unceremoniously dumped by the American automaker in 1993 to a Bermuda-registered company called MegaTech.

One thing led to another, and by 1997, Lamborghini had signed an agreement with Gigliato to engineer the Aerosa production vehicle.

The car was to be designed in Japan, engineered in Italy, and built in England…until the German Lamborghini dealer convinced everyone that it should be made there instead. In addition, Asia was in the middle of an intense financial crisis.

This led to Lamborghini being sold to Audi in 1998 and surely didn't help the Aerosa's chances of being produced — in fact, it is why the project was axed.

Period articles say it was designed to compete with the Ferrari F355 sports car and that it would sell for a very low price of approximately $85,000 Usd. 

See what I mean? It was all just too good to be true…

Gigliato Aerosa rear lights • allcarindex

Check out Luigi Marmiroli’s tale below:

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 invi