Run-flat tires are hit or miss with performance. Automakers have installed them on new cars with mixed reviews, as older versions could be too rigid. The tires have become better over the years, to the point that they no longer bring the performance penalty they once did. Bridgestone wants to take run-flat tires to the exotic world, but not for use on the road. The company was selected as Lamborghini’s exclusive partner to produce tires for the new Sterrato off-road supercar.
Ferruccio Lamborghini finally realized his dream of a proper four-seat grand touring coupe with the introduction of the Espada in 1968. The Espada entered production after a long and difficult styling process, which occurred simultaneously with a long and difficult engineering process. After multiple restyling attempts (and the use of a canned Jaguar coupe design), the Espada was produced in its Series I format from March 1968 to November 1969.
In 2021, Lamborghini announced the Aventador Ultimae, a super-limited swan song to the automaker’s iconic V12 engine. Unfortunately for Lambo and anyone waiting for one of the cars, a shipwreck took some of the cars down with it, leading the automaker to extend the timeline and build more cars.
It was a long, uphill battle to get the Espada into production. Seemingly no designer would deliver on Ferruccio Lamborghini’s desire for a four-seat grand touring coupe. While style was fine, outlandish design was unacceptable. Yet designers disappointed him on the Islero (which was supposed to be a real four-seater) and fought him on what became the Espada.
Marcelo Gandini at Bertone was forced to redesign the Espada more than once to comply with Lamborghini’s wishes, even though its Jaguar Pirana looks stayed intact. Gullwing doors were a favorite feature of Gandini’s, but Ferruccio declared they were ridiculous and impractical for such a car. And while the styling was being settled, there was quite a bit of new engineering taking place for the Espada, too.
In 1968, Lamborghini launched two new front-engine grand touring coupes at the same time. It was only the second time the company introduced two new models in the same model year. The two cars in question were the restrained and conservative Islero 2+2, and the larger more in-your-face Espada. While we covered Islero’s rapid demise previously in this series, the four-seat Espada had a much more successful life.
It was the realization of a large four-seat coupe from company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, who’d wished for a car of said type since the company’s inception. The short-lived Islero turned into a last-of-moment for Lamborghini, as its sales flop proved the company with the raging bull logo was better served by more exciting, outlandish designs.
We covered Espada's styling in our previous entry. Penned by Marcelo Gandini at Bertone, the Espada was nearly a Xerox copy of the Jaguar Pirana concept, at 125 percent magnification. But its large size and generous interior space for four caused some new challenges for Lamborghini’s engineers; the road to the production Espada was not a smooth one.
We return to our timeline of front-engine Lamborghini GT coupes, but take a step back in time. Our last entry left us at the conclusion of 1969 when the slow-selling Islero ground to a halt. Dealers had a difficult time shifting all 225 examples of the Islero, comprising 125 regular Isleros and 100 of the upgraded Islero S.
Ferruccio Lamborghini dictated the Islero’s restrained and elegant design to Mario Marazzi, after several concepts to replace the aged 400GT did not meet with the boss’s approval. What Lamborghini was really after was a four-seat grand tourer in the finest tradition of grace and pace. The Islero fit most of those qualifications, but was a 2+2 and (as mentioned) almost impossible to sell. Luckily, there was another front-engine Lamborghini GT that debuted at almost the same time as Islero in 1968. Say hello to Espada.
We return to our Rare Rides Icons coverage of Lamborghini’s front-engine coupes at a moment of relative triumph. After three earlier design proposals failed to pass muster with Ferruccio Lamborghini, a fourth received approval and was chosen as the 400GT’s replacement. Part of an in-house collaborative effort between Mr. Lamborghini, Carrozzeria Marazzi, and Lamborghini’s engineers, the resulting coupe was sedate, elegant, and not that removed from the outgoing 400GT 2+2.
When we last left Lamborghini’s front-engine coupe timeline, Ferruccio Lamborghini found himself about out of time to designate a replacement for the 400GT 2+2. Touring’s Flying Star II two-seat shooting brake was radical and possessed neither the restrained GT styling Mr. Lamborghini desired, nor the full four-place capacity. The company turned to Bertone and design legend Marcelo Gandini, who proposed the four-seat Marzal.
The Marzal’s design was as radical as the Flying Star if not more, and had gullwing doors and an interior filled with silver textile. After it debuted Ferruccio remarked how the Marzal was just a fun design exercise and was not intended to be a production car. Whether that statement was actually true remains unclear, but seems unlikely given the events that occurred post-Marzal. Lamborghini needed a real production design, and fast.
We pick up our Lamborghini front-engine grand touring coverage at a time of design disappointments. Though the exotic Miura gave the company instant notoriety as it simultaneously created the super car class, the company’s other model was due for replacement. A more traditional looking two-door, the 400GT 2+2 was an edit of the 400GT Interim (2+1), which was itself an engine upgrade on the 350GT, the company’s first production car.
Ferruccio Lamborghini anticipated the need for a new design, and went in search of a 400GT replacement around the time it entered production in 1966. Lamborghini turned first to Carrozzeria Touring. But even though they penned the 350GT and 400GT designs, their two-seat shooting brake suggestion, Flying Star II, was not to Lamborghini’s taste.
In fact it was sort of like Touring didn’t read the prompt. An abandoned race car design called the 400GT Monza from Neri & Bonacini was also presented as an option. The firm built Lamborghini’s tube frames a few years before, but that didn’t lend them enough goodwill at Lamborghini to get their design accepted. Time for take three!
Lamborghini proved it could make a luxurious grand touring coupe that a few people were willing to buy instead of a Ferrari with its first-ever production car, the 350GT. Based on the 350GTV prototype that was not actually drivable, the 350GT eventually grew and matured into the very similar 400GT we featured last time.
At its inception, the 400GT was just a 350GT with a larger engine, since the intended roof edits to turn the 2+1 into a 2+2 were not production ready. Lamborghini advertised the 350, 400, and 400 2+2 as three separate models, a fun take on the truth. But after three variations of the original 350 design, it was time for something new. The replacement process was not without drama.
The 350GT was Lamborghini’s first production car, and as we learned in our last entry, was a very rapid adaptation of the 350GTV prototype. And while the GTV was certainly more elegant looking than the GT, the former’s foibles included a hood line that was too low to fit the company’s V12, as well as a general lack of practicality.
Practicality was the word of the day in the 350GT’s development. The 2+1 grand touring coupe brought Ferruccio Lamborghini’s vision to life, as a competitor to the well-established finery from Ferrari. There were just 120 examples of the 350GT produced before its successor joined the ranks. The new car had a larger engine that made more power but looked very similar to its brother. Meet the 400GT.
After Lamborghini’s 350GTV show car debuted in Turin, Ferruccio Lamborghini was very intent on turning the coupe’s good publicity into sales of a real production Lamborghini. But the prototype lacked running gear, an engine that fit under its hood, and there were many other miscellaneous issues. As we learned last time, redesign work began on the GTV’s chassis, engine, and body at a furious pace. That’s where we pick up today.
We return to our coverage of Lamborghini’s front-engine grand touring coupes today, and the story of the company’s first prototype. A teardrop-shaped two-door with sweeping lines and an angular rear, the 350GTV was the first passenger vehicle Ferruccio Lamborghini ever made. His past experience was as a successful businessman and builder of stylish Italian tractors at Lamborghini Trattori.
The high-strung 3.5-liter V12 was completed (albeit in race car specification) and the coupe’s body had been casually assembled by the craftsman of Carrozzeria Sargiotto, who usually made plastic moldings and not cars. Was the next stop the 1963 Turin Auto Show? Nope.
I was reminded the other day (by Facebook) about a particularly beautiful coupe I’d photographed at a local car show in 2014. It had two doors, a big engine in the front, svelte and restrained styling, and a Lamborghini badge on the nose. It’s easy to forget that Lamborghini made elegant grand touring coupes long before it got to the likes of the outrageous Countach or LM002. We start at the beginning, with the company’s very first prototype, the 350GTV.
We’ve featured a number of Zagato-enhanced Rare Rides previously, the majority of which were from exotic European nameplates. The most recent example of the type was the Ferrari 599 GTZ Nibbio Spyder. Today’s Rare Ride is from a different Italian brand, one thus far unrepresented by Zagato edits.
Presenting the Lamborghini 5-95, from 2014.
Today’s Rare Ride is one which defies most all expectations of vehicles in its class. It’s larger, more powerful, more exclusive, and more ridiculous than any of its contemporaries. Suitably, it has a raging bull emblem on its hood.
Presenting the Lamborghini LM002 from 1990.
Today is the second portion of the Vector story, which we began in our most recent Rare Rides post. Troubled from the start, the company underwent a hostile takeover by a firm called MegaTech, and fired its founder almost immediately.
The first MegaTech-developed product is our subject vehicle — the long and low M12. With an NAIAS debut in 1996, it seemed like Vector had a promising immediate future. Or did it?
Lamborghini has talked a lot about electrification over the last few years, remaining careful never to commit to anything. While meager production rates seriously limit the environmental impact of its vehicles, the Italian automaker is nonetheless subject to the same pressure to go green as larger brands. Almost a decade ago, the brand vowed to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of its vehicles by roughly one third while simultaneously covering the factory roof with solar panels. It later hinted it might implement widespread turbocharging, much like Ferrari, or go the electrification route.
The greenwashing trend continues today, likely encouraged by Lamborghini’s suddenly eco-conscious parent, Volkswagen. Facing an important crossroad, and surrounded by regulatory and environmental pressures, the company has chosen its path. While Lamborghini’s Stefano Domenicali still seems gently apprehensive, the CEO claims plug-in hybrids will be the best way forward for the brand.
Lamborghini is allegedly working on a limited-edition vehicle based loosely upon the utterly spectacular Terzo Millennio concept. The hybridized hypercar, codenamed LB48H, hasn’t been shown to the public, but there was a very exclusive private event held in Italy earlier this month. There have also been posts on social media from the event that make passing mention of the model.
The LB48H is rumored to be showcased in Tokyo and New York in the weeks to come. It remains unclear if these will be also private showings, but that seems likely.
Supercar recalls are a guilty pleasure of mine. Though they’re frequently subject to the same failings as mainstream automobiles, there is something charming about a recall announcement that only affects a dozen cars. High-end manufacturers also go to weird lengths to keep customers happy in the event of a minor issue. If you’ll recall, Bugatti promised to mobilize its team of “ flying doctors” last December to schedule house calls for 47 sick Chirons because 1 percent of the total might have suffered from bad seat welds.
Last month, the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a similarly svelte recall on the Lamborghini Centenario. The 2017 model, built to commemorate the 100th birthday of company founder Ferrucio Lamborghini, is basically an Aventador on crack. Instead of the standard model’s 6.5-liter V12 pumping out 691 horsepower, the Centenario surpasses even the beefed up variants with its 759 hp. It also comes with exclusive bodywork that can be conservatively described as insane.
You’re probably under the assumption that the Centenario recall has to be related to the tweaked engine or unique exterior then. Nope! Lamborghini is recalling them because they need to have a sticker replaced.
Bright red paint, an interior to hide even the largest cocaine spillage, a targa roof, and sweet deep dish aero alloys all help define the Lamborghini Jalpa as a product of its era.
It’s the one everyone forgets as their minds gravitate to the older Countach or the newer Diablo.
In our last Rare Rides entry we had a look at the oddball little BMW Freeclimber, a Daihatsu Rugger as edited by Italian design firm Bertone. Small SUVs has never been Bertone’s forte, however. No, the most well-known Bertone designs fall into the sports coupe category.
And here’s a prime example — the Alfa Romeo Montreal.
Back in the spring of 2012, I penned a sort of existential whine about the absolutely unnecessary idea of a Lamborghini SUV. In the five-and-a-half years since then, it’s often looked like the “Urus” would be canceled or at least shelved indefinitely — and why not? Under the protective umbrella of VW Group, Lamborghini had absolutely no need to balance the books with a Me-Too Iguana Mommytruck.
Even more importantly, the company’s core product has become absolutely first-rate. If you haven’t driven a Huracan, you owe it to yourself to at least try three rental laps in Las Vegas or elsewhere. The Huracan Performante is, quite possibly, the most exciting and emotionally involving exotic car since the demise of the Ferrari 458 Speciale, while the Aventador S neatly balances the demands of outrageousness and everyday usability.
If you’d put a Urus in showrooms next to the tired-looking-from-Day-2 Gallardo and just-a-bit-plain Murcielago, there might have been a bit of sad synergy across the product lines. Maybe. Half a decade ago, Lamborghini wasn’t second fiddle to Ferrari so much as it was the weekday shift janitor at the symphony. But now it’s Ferrari that struggles with issues of public perception and dealer gouging and unfocused product offerings while the German-Italians from Sant’Agata keep raising the bar to stratospheric levels.
The Urus will be an exception to this new tradition of excellence. It’s a deeply compromised product, a sort of mish-mash between the Audi S8 and VW Tiguan and God knows what else. Its primary competition in the marketplace will surely be the related-under-the-skin Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne, two vehicles that I suspect are made deliberately gormless for the same reason the so-called “419 scams” are so obviously fraudulent — to weed out the cognoscenti and ensure that only the least discerning customers make it through the purchase experience. It’s not good news for anybody except my colleagues at the buff books, who will have a chance to escape the winter blahs with a trip to Italy. As a genuine fan of the Lamborghini brand and lineup, however, I can’t say that I am anything other than disappointed at Lamborghini’s decision to develop and sell this product.
Which raises, for me at least, a question: How can I continue to respect Lamborghini in a world where the Urus is providing the bulk of the sales volume? The answer is simple.
Eagle-eyed fans have spotted a revealing clip in a new teaser video for the upcoming Lamborghini Urus, potentially confirming the shape of the Italian company’s new machine.
In a teaser spot meant to highlight its track-focused Corsa mode, a quick shot of the infotainment display shows what appears to be the entire vehicle without any camouflage. Lamborghini quickly took down the video and reuploaded it with an edited version, but not before a couple of quick-on-the-draw Youtubers put the original video on their own accounts for the world to see.
BMW presently sells the hybrid i8 to the eco-conscious performance driver. It is mid-engined, has butterfly doors and what have you, and it’s quite striking.
But did you know that it’s not the first mid-engine BMW? No, that title goes to our Rare Ride today — the M1, from all the way back in 1981. Don’t worry, it’s not all that Malaisey.
In the car world, Pope Francis is most famous for abandoning the popemobile to drive himself around in various small hatchbacks. Perhaps thinking he was an automobile enthusiast, Lamborghini gifted him a white Huracán RWD Coupe with gold detailing to match his catholic dressings on Wednesday, just outside the Vatican hotel where he lives.
Unfortunately, while he blessed the crap out of the car, he doesn’t want to keep it. Instead, the church will auction it off to fund the Nineveh Plains Reconstruction Project — a group primarily focused on helping women who were victims of trafficking at the hands of ISIS.
While we wish they would have orchestrated a photo shoot where His Holiness performs a burnout, turning to the camera to look over a pair of wraparound sunglasses whilst uttering “Good God,” we understand he’s supposed to remain reverent — or whatever. It just seemed like a missed opportunity and could have upped the resale value of the car the pontiff laid rubber with. Besides, it would have been for a good cause.
Lamborghini has a long history of ludicrous designs. When the Miura came out in 1966, it was unlike anything that had come before. The following decade yielded the Countach, which possesses a wedge-shaped geometry that would still look at home in any sci-fi romp Hollywood could muster. But, while Lamborghini continues to produce stunning automobiles, it’s the company’s concept vehicles and one-offs that push the styling envelope clear off the desk.
The Aventador-based Veneno is a personal favorite. However, other bonkers examples, like the Egoista, Athon, and Marzal leave me wondering what might have been if the manufacturer figured out how put them into production. Its newest concept car is no exception. In fact, Lamborghini has to find a way to build it, as it’s too beautiful to exist as just a dream.
The company that sells SUVs together stays together.
So it goes, or is likely to go, with Lamborghini. Keep in mind that the Volkswagen Group supercar manufacturer has already seen massive sales growth. During the half-decade before Stephan Winkelmann took over as boss at Lamborghini in 2005, the brand was selling only 800 cars on an annual basis. But by the time Winkelmann was done a decade later, Lamborghini was averaging 2,300 annual sales. In 2016, Lamborghini sold 3,457 vehicles around the world, including more than 1,000 in the United States.
Those figures will soon seem paltry because the unfortunately named Urus SUV will double the brand’s volume. But what does such a massive change do to Lamborghini’s operations?
For such a venerable supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini doesn’t have much of a racing heritage. That’s not necessarily a fault, considering the brand has long been about ludicrous automotive pageantry over ensuring adherence to nonexistent track pedigree. But Lamborghini wasn’t willing to settle on just being difficult to ignore on the streets, it wanted something to rival Ferrari’s own Scuderia.
Half a decade ago, the gauntlet was thrown with the introduction of Lamborghini’s own Squadra Corse (Racing Team) but nobody took the introductory Super Trofeo (Super Trophy) cars all that seriously — not even the manufacturer. That changed a few years ago, when the company introduced the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo and GT3 racing cars.
After selling roughly 150 of the first-generation Super Trofeos, Lamborghini has prepared the new one — which it is calling the EVO.
According to a report in Autocar, the rise through Volkswagen Group ranks accomplished by Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann will continue in 2018.
Formerly a Fiat employee, the 52-year-old Winkelmann became famous in the auto industry during his decade-long run as president and CEO of Lamborghini. Winkelmann then took over at Audi’s Quattro performance division in March 2016 before changing its name to Audi Sport. But the Rome native’s tenure at Audi Sport will reportedly be cut short by Volkswagen Group’s need to fill the lead position at its flagship brand, Bugatti.
If Autocar’s sources are right, look for Winkelmann to take over at Bentley in 2019, as well. Makes you wonder: Winkelmann has climbed from Fiat to Lamborghini to Audi Sport to Bugatti and Bentley. What’s next?
I stood face-to-fascia with a childhood dream, thanks to a tangential connection to Houston’s 2016 Lamborghini Festival. And yet, like all designs born pure and modified to remain relevant, the original Lamborghini LP400’s purity of form is sometimes absent in this time capsule, all-original LP5000.
But please believe that, LP400 or no, it took every fiber of my being to avoid the typical auto journo blather on this sheet of vellum.
Countless hours of development, design and construction. Exacting details wrought in boardboardrooms and wind tunnels. Exotic materials, experimental engine designs, hand crafted bodies. The goal?
Simple. Make the fastest car in the world.
But even if a designer or firm achieves that goal, they don’t necessarily have a winner on their hands. Even when the facts and figures support one supercar design over another, intangibles often decide which one will be a success.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some superlative automobiles over a few decades and see how fate played out.
That’s the sound of a sad trombone playing.
Dodgy offshore tax havens get a lot of press lately, but what about mass movements of capital to friendlier shores that hide in plain sight? The New York Times has a heartbreaking story today of young Chinese adults in Vancouver, Canada who just can’t figure out what to do with all that cash their fathers earned.
They do know one thing it’s good for: obscene quantities of ultra-high-end cars.
Over the years, so many alternate ways of cooking a holiday turkey have proliferated that some now refuse to eat a conventionally roasted bird. A British car enthusiast, who goes by the YouTube handle of Shmee150, decided to broil his Christmas turkey using the flames that shoot from the exhaust pipes of a Lamborghini Aventador at full, ahem, boil.
Silly, perhaps, but not entirely stupid. Using the waste heat from a car engine to cook food likely goes back to the early days of the automobile age. A Google search shows numerous guides and tips on how to cook under the hood. Though my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook does not have a miles per pound table in their cooking time charts, there’s a dedicated car cooking cookbook, “ Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine!,” that’s been in print for decades, with multiple editions.
Volkswagen, as usual before the Frankfurt Auto Show, will be showing all its wares live, Apple-style, the night before press days.
We will keep track of the reveals after the jump.
A short time ago, I left you with my impressions of the Porsche 911 GT3. Even now, I am still in love with that car (Tiffany…call me). However, love is blind and everyone’s a critic.
Just after the publication of that piece, I got a text from a buddy who published an outstanding review on the Lamborghini Huracán. It simply declared “No way a GT3 can keep up with a Huracán.” Well my limited resources were never going to make that track test happen, but I do have access to a pair of Huracáns…
So, why not see what the hype is about?
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, $2.4 million
It’s impossible to visit Manhattan without noticing wealth and privilege. Though I’m loathe to use the P word as it’s been corrupted by politics, how else can you describe someone driving a S Class Mercedes-Benz with “MD” New York license plates other than as affluent and expecting special treatment from parking enforcement that won’t be extended to some zhlub from Jersey in a Camry?
New York City generates so much wealth that the people there can afford the opportunity and real costs involved with insane traffic, general congenstion and expensive infrastructure. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the New York International Auto Show is where car companies go to show off their goods from the top shelf.
The idea of a rear-wheel-drive Gallardo was so obvious that it’s a wonder it took six years for it to appear on the market as a limited edition and another year after that to join the standard lineup. Indeed, the 550-2 was popular from the moment it appeared in dealer order sheets, though not for the reason you’d initially suspect.
I truly love the Best&Brightest of TTAC. So much so that one of the common attack vectors used by my involuntarily-celibate, low-T, sub-neurotypical detractors is to parody that affection in a manner that reveals more about their fumbling attempts to interact with their “MLP:FiM” Meetups than it does about my admittedly wide range of personal flaws. Nevertheless, I do occasionally find myself frustrated by the B&B’s relentless desire to nitpick the articles that we put up.
As an example: Due to the
distressingly low number of contributors close-knit team at TTAC, it’s often necessary for one of us to pitch in during the off-hours to get a story up. And sometimes that call comes during what I think of as “The Ketel One Hour”, leading me to make inebriated mistakes like referring to deposed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as “Roy Batty” or “Scott LaRock”. The typical response of the readers is to completely pounce on me (or, more often, Derek) for making these mistakes, forgetting that if we had a so-called “editor” to “edit” what we write, we wouldn’t have any money to rent Camrys for track tests.
So, with that in mind, we’re on our third Supercars To Go test, and not a single member of the B&B has been sufficiently incensed to hit the “Reply” button and e-scream:
Yes, exotics aren’t really the main draw for TTAC readers – discussions of Panthers, W-Bodies and the minivan versus CUV debate tend to get everyone going – but it’s nice to break up the monotony every now and then. Besides, where else can you find a naturally aspirated 610 horsepower V10?
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- Art_Vandelay It's not like everyone is topping their ICE vehicles off and coasting into the gas station having used every last drop of fuel either though. Most people start looking to fill up at around a 1/4 of a tank. If you constantly run the thing out of gas your fuel pump would probably be unhappy. If you running your EV to zero daily you probably bought the wrong vehicle
- ToolGuy Imagine how exciting the automotive landscape will be once other manufacturers catch up with Subaru's horizontally-opposed engine technology.
- FreedMike Oh, and this..."While London likes to praise its own congestion charging for reducing traffic and increasing annual revenues, tourism has declined..."The reason London's tourism numbers are down is that the city has resumed its' "tourist tax." And why did the tourist tax get reimposed? Brexit. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/tourist-tax-cost-millions-myth-hmrc-survey-foreign-visitors-spending-uk-b1082327.html
- Dukeisduke Eh, still a Nissan. Nope.
- Kosmo "And, indeed, there remains a big screen atop the dash in the 2023 Nissan Z"Not the best look, but far safer while driving, when compared to lower in-dash units.Nissan blew it on so many levels with this, but I'd still enjoy one (though I'd certainly buy the Mustang instead).