Feature: The Lamborghini Family

Originally published in the supercardriver.com members magazine, May 2012. Photos by Dom Fisher (dfishpix) and used with permission.

The Lamborghini Family

The Lamborghini Family

Lamborghini came to being in the early 1960’s, after the owner reportedly had a disagreement with Ferrari, following a fault on his own Ferrari 250GT. Wanting to produce a grand tourer to compete with his rivals, Ferrucio Lamborghini launched with the now legendary Muira supercar. Lamborghini grew in popularity and fame and in 1971, the Countach concept was born. And this is how our story begins, with eight of our favourite Lamborghini’s since the Countach, right up to the latest Aventador.

A line of Lamborghinis.

A line of Lamborghinis.

Our meet point for the photo-shoot is in a hotel car park and as photographer Dom and I arrive, the party is already in full swing with all but the Murcielago in attendance. Scanning the array of cars, you can’t help but grin when you see any Lambo. Those mad shapes, curves and creases which look like they serve no other purpose than being shouty and ‘because we can’. Even the Aventador, with all of its mod-con’s and legislative safety design features still looks as angular and bonkers as its older brethren. They all look stunning and all are pretty mad colours, save for the Countach which is a reassuringly calm blue. Until the engine is fired up and in doing so, wakes all of the gods – but more on that later.

Will arrives just a few minutes after us in the Murcielago. We hear him coming, as does the rest of Yorkshire. Brief “hello’s” over with and it’s time to head to our shoot location, over at Revolution Specialists in Brighouse, just a few minutes drive away.

We set off in convoy – beaming from ear-to-ear and a long line of brightly coloured Lamborghini’s snake their way down the road to our destination. Heads are craning everywhere we go as this colourfully loud spectacle passes through the otherwise sleepy town.

Yellow Lamborghini Murcielago

Yellow Lamborghini Murcielago

Steve is in the Gallardo Superlegerra and he has reverted back into a 10-year old child. “This is brilliant!” he says excitedly, as we arrive at the shoot location. He points back at the main road; “Driving down that dual carriageway, I had Lamborghini’s in front of me and even more in my rear view mirror. It’s like a big kids dream come true!” There was a moment I had wondered if he’d forgotten that he actually owns one himself and is indeed driving it today, but not wanting to curb the immense enthusiasm we go along with it as he springs step-forward to look at the cars again and chat to the owners. These Lamborghini owners are a mad bunch.

Lamborghini Countach Blue

Lamborghini Countach Blue

It’s time for some photos. Photographer Dom loves the Countach, he’s never photographed one before and so job one begins with the ultimate poster pin-up. The car you see here might actually have been a poster pin-up too; it was the one used by the press in several motoring magazines and, as was customary in those days, had been fettled with slightly to make the car even more appealing. To that end, this car has straight-through exhaust pipes and makes one hell of a noise!! It is also the stereotypical 80’s supercar – a real handful to maneuver and you can never be quite sure if the Countach is in the right mood to start or not. I collar owner Tim and advise him it is time for some photographs. “OK, what’s the plan, it needs to be one maneuver.” he advises. Dom provides the logistics and Tim heads back to the car.

The sprightly conversation being held by the other owners dissipates to a silence as Tim climbs into the Countach, ready to fire it up. The anticipation in the air is almost palpable as we all stand, motionless waiting for it to start. The key is turned and the ignition turns over. It turns over a bit more. And then a lot more with no sign of igniting the 5-litre V6 engine. The anticipation turns to prayer. “Please don’t let the iconic depiction of the ultimate Supercar fail to start”.

Tim looks up with a knowing nod that suggests “It is ok, this is normal”. A couple more rotations of ignition and the engine awakes from its slumber with an almost deafening roar! It’s hard to describe in words just how extremely loud this Countach is, but I can’t imagine it would be a great ambassador for neighbour relations. It’s extraordinary and once again those smiles on all faces return. It’s a car that was well deserved to be the poster on every petrol-head child’s wall in the 80’s.

Lamborghini Diablo Black

Lamborghini Diablo Black

The Diablo followed the Countach production, it launched in 1990 and was originally designed by Marcello Gandini, who had also designed the Countach.

However, under the now Chrysler ownership his design was softened considerably, much to the dissatisfaction of Gandini who ultimately went on to produce a more faithful version of his original design under his own brand a few years later (called the Cizeta-Moroder V16T).

But that’s not to say that the years haven’t been kind to the Diablo. Quite the opposite – it looks superb, blending retro with modern exceptionally well. It’s almost a dateless design and rapidly becoming a classic.

“Diablo” is, following tradition, named after a fighting bull from the 19th Century. In terms of power, the original Diablo came with the 5.7 litre engine developing 492bhp and a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. The top speed is 202mph which went pleasantly over the original design brief of 196mph.

The original Diablo was built until 1998 along with several other special edition models and in 1995, the SV model was launched alongside it, bringing a return to the Super Veloce title previously seen on the Miura.

It has an adjustable rear spoiler and is based on a 2WD version of the Diablo with added power taking it to 510bhp. Tony owns this everso-mental Diablo SV (that’s the bright yellow one with “SV” written on the side, in case you were wondering).

Yellow Lamborghini Family

Yellow Lamborghini Family

The car sits lower than the standard Diablo (which is already very low) to the point where its passage to our makeshift photo studio today is almost foiled by a dropped kerb.

With a few back-and-forth attempts we find an angle that suits the car and owner Tony creeps over with millimetres of ground clearance to spare.

Tony loves this car, he’s had a few sports and supercars in the past, but nothing quite as extreme as this one. Does it get a lot of attention? “Yes, it does”, he laughs, “but that is what you expect when you buy something like this”.

Lamborghini has had several owners in the past and following Chrysler it changed hands again and Audi ultimately bought the company in 1998 and gave the Diablo a facelift and most notably dropped the pop-up headlights of the previous model.

The engine was upgraded to 6 litres and 529bhp and a carbon fibre centre console was fitted amongst other German niceties.

Tim’s black Diablo 6.0 is a 2001 model and is complete with these additional mod-cons. He bought this car recently to replace his Ferrari 456 as he wanted something more special for a weekend car.

“The Lamborghini was a poster on my wall as a child” he says (there’s a theme building here!) so the Diablo is a dream fulfilled.

The car you see here is one of the last Diablo’s to be built, being replaced the same year by the Murciélago.

The Murciélago, which we will come on to shortly, shared the same sales era as it’s baby sibling and another product of the Audi ownership years – the Gallardo.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo

Production started in 2003 with a simple, yet potentially conflicting remit; to be a true sports car worthy of the Lamborghini name, whilst also being comfortable enough to allow it to be driven on a daily basis. The result was a Lamborghini of relatively compact demeanor, but with strong performance that would allow a driver to use it on either a track, or on long distance journeys.

The mid-engine layout provides a 42/58 weight distribution, with short body overhangs, independent double wishbone suspension system and permanent all-wheel drive.

Lamborghini Family

Lamborghini Family

The Gallardo has been a hugely successful model for Lamborghini, with more than 10,000 sold to date. Throughout its lifespan we have seen many iterations of the Gallardo, which started with the standard model in 2003 for the 2004 model year. Steve owns such a vehicle with the 5 litre manual engine, producing 492bhp, reaching 60mph from standstill in 4.2 seconds and top speed of 192mph. Not too shabby for the ‘baby’ of the Lamborghini family!

For Steve, this purchase was the realisation of a long held dream. “I’ve owned several Porsche’s and a raft of other great cars over the years”, he says “but in 2009 I finally had the opportunity to tick the ‘Lamborghini’ box – and I’m very glad I did!”

“The Lamborghini brand seems to bring out the best in people from the very young to the very old, 99.9% of reaction that I’ve experienced has been very positive. I spent literally years hoping that each time I went to an event or out for a drive that I would see a Lambo and very rarely did. Now and for almost 3 years all I need to do is to open my garage door and there it is! That gives me so much satisfaction.”

“All that remains now is to do the European road trip and to take the car back to Sant ‘Agata. I visited back in 2001 for the Murcielago launch and have also hoped to return one day in my own car”.

In 2005, Lamborghini launched the Gallardo SE with a limited production of 250 cars. The SE comes in two-tone colouring, the example here today [photo on the previous page] brought along by Elliot is black and yellow. For the exterior, the black roof colouring extends to the rear deck and spoiler, with the interior being a luxury blend of the same colours. The leather stitching, centre console, instrument covers, even the doors and floormats match the exterior of the bodywork and really brighten up the Gallardo’s interior.

The SE Model also comes with extra toys as standard including a reversing camera and sat-nav.

The final model in our Gallardo photo line-up is the latest, and most extreme derivative to date – the LP-570 Superleggera. A lightened, more powerful version coupled with lashings of carbon-fibre give the “SL” 70bhp more than the original Gallardo and it will get from 0-120mph a staggering 5 seconds quicker than its older sibling. Top speed is more than 200mph.

Steve (a different Steve!) has brought the SL today, having previously owned the original Gallardo spider. That model was in black but he wanted something a little more outlandish this time around, something that provided a more hard-core driving experience to boot. I think we can say with confidence that the SL certainly achieves that remit!

Like all of the owners here today, Steve finds that people warm to the eccentricity of the Lamborghini brand; “I like the fact that people seem to really like Lambo’s and always come over and ask questions” he says. “You also get let out into traffic and get loads of thumbs up when you are driving it. Oh, and you are always asked to rev it!” he laughs.

Murciélago

Murciélago

Moving on to the modern day giant of Lamborghini; the Murciélago is big in more ways than one. The powerhouse of its time, launched more than 10 years ago (has it really been that long?) this original Murciélago has a 6.2 V12 engine, developing 572bhp.

This is Will’s toy, as subtly described on his registration number. He’s owned the car for four years so far with no immediate plans to change – although could be tempted by a convertible version!

The car follows the Lamborghini tradition and is named after a famous bull. This particular bull reportedly survived 28 sword wounds, and the matador chose to spare its life and gave the bull to a local breeder. The lineage of this bull is still around today.

The Murciélago car was produced until 2009, and spawned a number of special editions – and increased its engine and power output over time to 6.5 litres and 661bhp respectively. The Murci’ also formed the basis for the limited edition Reventon – an extreme (and extremely expensive) edition of an already bonkers car!

Fast-fact for you – the fastest ever Lamborghini was actually a derivative of the Murciélago – a Le Mans edition dubbed the R-GT with a reported top speed of 370 km/h!

But even the road-going version of the Murciélago does everything to excess. From Will’s custom wheels, to the extreme sound, the low-wide stance and the bright yellow paintwork; it is all unmistakably Lamborghini!

And of course, being the V12 Lamborghini it has the trademark scissor opening doors – themselves made all the more dramatic when open as the car itself stands less than four-feet tall!

And now we present the latest and greatest from the Lamborghini stables – the mighty Aventador!

Orange Lamborghini Aventador

Orange Lamborghini Aventador

In appearance, he Diablo was a more ‘rounded’ representation of the Countach, with the Murciélago being rounder still. The Aventador looks like it has gone back to the days of the Countach, with angles and creases all over the place. You could imagine that the prototype was fashioned from rocks and then honed with chisels into a shape that resembled a car!

Yet despite the multitude of angles, the car still looks very sleek – it certainly makes a dramatic statement and even more-so on the road with a rear spoiler that adjusts to three different angles depending on your speed. A real work of art, this car.

In terms of performance, the Aventador is a large step beyond anything that has come before it with 690bhp. That’s good for a zero to sixty time of just 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 217mph.

This bright orange version is owned by John and had his order in place for more than a year. He was one of the first to put the deposit down and it has been a long wait!

“I have been offered substantially more than list price to sell it on”, John admits. “But there is no chance of selling yet, it has been well worth the wait!”

Lambo Countach and Aventador

Lambo Countach and Aventador

All Lamborghini’s are mad, it would seem. It’s a company with a sense of humour. A company that goes out of its way to always make sure they are nothing like anything else out there.

SCD Lambo Shoot Web (28)And surely that is their alluring attraction – they aren’t making a fashion statement, they are making a ‘fun’ statement and forget what everyone else thinks. Not that you need to though, because the amount of heads turning and smiles created whilst doing this photo-shoot it is pretty clear that just about everyone loves a Lamborghini.

Our sincere thanks go to Revolution Porsche Specialists, for allowing us to do the photo-shoot at their premises.