Link copied to your clipboard
Items tagged with #1970
Pinned Items
Recent Activities
  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 12 months ago
    Getting off lightly
    CAR: 1970 Lamborghini Espada
    OWNER: Harry Metcalfe

    / #1970-Lamborghini-Espada / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini

    With the Espada’s engine out and on the bench (see last month’s), it’s time to delve inside and finally discover why it had an unsustainable appetite for coolant and why its crankcase was breathing so heavily.

    First job is to remove the cylinder heads. These have a habit of being sticky on a #Lamborghini-V12 of this vintage but we’re in luck because, when this engine was last rebuilt in the mid-’80s, all the cylinder studs had been liberally wiped in copper grease. So the heads slip off with little effort. It soon becomes clear that both head-gaskets are knackered, which is the cause of all the coolant issues. But instead of coolant leaking into the cylinder, combustion gases were leaking into the coolant passages under compression. That’s why the system was getting overpressurised and coolant was bubbling past the radiator cap. Weirdly, this is good news as it’s an easy fix, but it doesn’t fully explain the low compression readings. So the next job is to remove a couple of pistons. Cylinders nine and ten had the worst leak-down results, so these pistons are removed first. I’m hugely relieved to discover that the big-end shells show little wear, but the less-good news is that as each piston comes clear of the block, the piston’s top compression ring drops to the floor because they are broken in half. The middle oilscraper rings are very worn, too.

    It’s the same story on ten of the twelve pistons: no wonder the engine breather was puffing so heavily at tickover.
    Again, this is actually good news because we have the answers to all of the engine’s ailments and none of the causes are very serious. It looks as though new piston rings were fitted to the old pistons the last time this engine was rebuilt, but either they weren’t matched exactly or the ring grooves in the pistons have worn. Iain Tyrrell measures the top compression rings at 1.55mm thick while the groove in the pistons is 1.66mm, so each ring has been oscillating up and down at high frequency in the piston and eventually breaking up.

    There are no more surprises inside. A bit of wear in the valve guides needs attention, and all the valves had been fitted with rubber valve-guide seals from a Ford Pinto during the last rebuild. These look as if they have been capturing oil and then leaking it down the guide, making oil consumption worse, rather than better as the previous engine builder must have hoped.

    So I’m finding that, far from being the nightmare it could have been, this whole engine-rebuild process is enthralling. The next job is to extract the cylinder liners from the block and send them off for a slight overbore to 88.5mm (88mm is standard). New forged pistons are on order and the beautiful steel crankshaft, milled from a single billet, will be polished and balanced.

    I’ll report back once the rebuild begins but, for now, I’m just happy that the Espada engine is in such good hands. I look forward to its return, probably even better than it was when new way back in 1970.

    From top A big space where the engine used to be; stripdown begins with removal of front-end drives; coolant loss was down to leaking head gaskets but head castings are fine; top piston rings had broken.
    Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS Farewell, my lovely

    / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada / Mark Dixon / #Lamborghini

    It’s gone. The beautiful Lamborghini that good mate Richard Heseltine and I bought together, about two-and-a-half years ago, has a new owner. And since he already has a number of classic Lotuses, he’s the perfect guy to take on the responsibility of running an old Lambo.

    Not that the Espada was ever unreliable. It always irked me when acquaintances, on hearing of what we’d bought, would shake their heads sadly and make comments along the lines of ‘You’re a braver man than I am!’ Fact is, the Espada is not temperamental, unlike some exotics. Don’t forget that Ferruccio started out making tractors. No, if Richard and I have any regrets, it’s simply that we didn’t get to use the car enough. The Espada spent ages waiting for work to be done at Cheshire Classic Cars – and, to be fair, I didn’t hassle them, because it was quite handy having it in their nice dry storage unit – and then, just when it was all ready to go, someone came along and made a decent offer… Bugger.

    Even so, we put enough miles on the car to prove its usability, particularly on a road trip to Le Mans Classic in 2014. Despite some horrendous traffic jams en route – when will I ever learn to avoid Rouen? – it never overheated, and the only problem we had was with a couple of wheel spinners working loose. Le Mans winner Andy Wallace lent us the jack from his daily-driver Audi so that we could get home safely.

    After 27 years as a classic car journalist, I was regularly surprised at how much attention the Espada attracted on the road. Stuck in three lanes of gridlock on the M40 one evening, I was distracted by a young American woman who dodged through the lines of stationary traffic to knock on the driver’s window and ask ‘What is this car? I just have to know! It’s so beautiful!’ And, to my slight embarrassment, I was once approached at a petrol station by a schoolgirl who said she had a passion for Lamborghinis… Such is the Espada owner’s lot.

    What sweetened the pill of the Espada’s sale was that Richard and I roughly doubled our investment in just two years. Now, we didn’t buy it to make money, we bought it because we loved (and still love) the car – but it did vindicate the gamble I made in extending my mortgage to do so. At about that time, a Government minister made a quip about people cashing in their pensions to buy Lamborghinis; maybe that wasn’t such a daft idea after all.

    Left, above and right Few cars can match an Espada in full flight for drama; its new owner having his tentative first drive off the delivery truck; Mark, Richard and Andy Wallace (pointing) in Le Mans car park wheel-tightening episode.
    Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    CAR #1970-Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini / #1970

    OWNER Mark Dixon

    For me, one of the fascinating parts Of buying a ‘new’ classic car is that moment when you sit down with whatever history came with it, and try to piece together the story of its earlier life.

    Fortunately, there’s a thick pile of paperwork for the Espada, which was sold new in Switzerland and remained with its first owner for 15 years. And, thanks to the power of the internet, I may be able to track him down.

    The invoices show that the first owner was a Dr Urs Blum, who worked for a family firm of patent lawyers in Zurich. Dr Blum was clearly a man of catholic tastes, because there’s a garage invoice dated 1975 for work on three cars owned by him: the Espada, a Cadillac and a Range Rover!

    It turns out that Dr Blum was the Swiss representative of the International Lamborghini Club, too. I know this from a photocopied page Of a book that shows pictures of ‘my’ Espada (I have a 50:50 share with Octane contributor Richard Heseltine) and mentions that it had an exposed metal gearshift gate specially fitted by the factory. Unfortunately, all I know about the book is that it’s in English, the relevant page is 68, and it was published in 1983 – does that sound familiar to anyone?

    It took mere seconds to find a website for the Blum law firm, which helpfully provides biographies of the family members. This shows that Dr Blum didn’t retire until 2006, so I’m very much hoping that he’ll still be hale and hearty, and willing to share some memories of his time with the Espada when it was new.

    Back in the present, we’re getting very close to fully sorting the car. In last month’s Octane Cars I described how having the front brake calipers rebuilt had almost, but not quite, cured an alarming pull to the right under braking. I felt sure that the residual problem lay with the steering, and I’m now feeling rather smug because it turns out I was right.

    MoT tester Simon at the superbly named Sunnyside Garage in Kempsey, Worcestershire, very kindly let me put the Espada on the ramp while he and my classic car fettler Derek Magrath levered at a suspicious-looking steering link that had recently developed an audible ‘knock’. It turns out that the joints at each end are both knackered, which explains why the Espada currently lacks the steering precision I knew it should have. Entirely predictably, the steering link costs an extortionate amount of money to buy new – but Derek is confident that he can fabricate it, once he’s sourced the correct balljoints.

    It may be too late to get this done before the dreaded winter salt hits our British roads and the Espada goes into hibernation, but how sweet those first drives in spring will seem.

    Above and below Espada has always performed well in a straight line, and hopefully it will soon be just as satisfying in the twisty bits. Former owner Ian Stringer is kindly allowing Mark to store it in his garage, alongside his superb Montreal.
    Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    In for a spot of sword sharpening

    CAR: #1970-Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini-Espada / #1970 / #Lamborghini /

    OWNER: MARK DIXON

    There aren’t many car restoration shops in the UK where you can find not one or two or three, but four Lamborghini Espadas in for work. That’s how many I counted at Cheshire Classic Cars when I popped up recently to check progress on the car I share with friend and colleague Richard Heseltine. There were about the same number of Miuras, too; proprietor Iain Tyrrell knows these V12 Lamborghinis intimately and it was his company that restored the famous Italian Job Miura that was our cover car in #Drive-My .

    Besides being a Lamborghini expert, Iain is a thoroughly nice bloke, so choosing his company to sort a few jobs on our Espada – which is the silver car on the ramp, above; the gold ex-Australian RHD example has just been sold to a customer – was a no-brainer. There’s nothing majorly wrong (we hope!) but there are a number of minor defects, including a couple that came to light during our trip to Le Mans Classic in 2014.

    Among the most serious faults are the rubbish front dampers. The car would ‘porpoise’ at speed on a motorway yet, should you hit a pothole, the relevant damper would seize solid and send a most appalling crash through the car’s structure. It was so bad that we were afraid it would crack the windscreen.

    Then there’s the exhaust system. The centre boxes are genuine Lamborghini and may have been on the car since new – it has covered less than 70,000km since 1970 – so they’ve started to perforate, while the pipes aft of them have been badly crushed by clumsy jacking. It’s amazing the car has been performing as well as it did, considering the restriction in gas flow. We’ve asked Iain to replace the centre boxes with straight pipes, partly for cost reasons but mainly because we’d like to liberate some more #V12 howl – the Espada sounds just a bit too refined.

    Structurally, the car is in amazingly good condition. It’s had one repaint, probably in the early ’90s, to a very high standard, but there are a couple of rust bubbles on wheelarch lips that need catching now before they get any worse. It appears to be perfect underneath, as the picture, right, of the nearside front inner arch shows, and Iain assures us that it is an extremely good example.

    And that is causing us some heartache. Do we keep the car a while longer or sell it now, in the hope of realising a return on what we paid for it two years ago? Both Richard and I are contemplating house moves this year – different houses; we’re not that good friends! – and money is tight. On the other hand, we’d really like to do a proper European road trip and live the dream.

    Whatever the outcome, it will be a tough decision, because we’re both still utterly besotted with this sexy, fabulous, underrated machine.
    Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  •   Harry Metcalfe reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    Everyday Espada / #1970-Lamborghini-Espada-Series-2 / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada-Series-2 / #1970 / #Lamborghini-Espada / #Lamborghini /

    I’ve spent the last few weeks having an affair. The mistress in question is an Italian model who’s a year older than me. To make matters worse, she normally lives with my father. Around three years ago, I was fortunate enough to acquire both a new BMW i8 and an early-1970 #Lamborghini-V12 Espada Series 2. The i8 has been my main car since then and the Espada, after a light restoration – when the car was pictured alongside Mark Dixon’s silver example in Octane Cars [above] – moved into my dad’s garage.

    His affection for the car was marginally greater than mine, since one had been at the top of his ‘wish list’ in the 1970s, and it therefore seemed fitting that she should move in with him.

    The i8 is a truly remarkable car and I honestly can’t think of what I’d replace it with for everyday use. However, the Espada has never been far from my thoughts. When my father announced that he would be spending five weeks out of the country, a thought entered my head: how would the Espada perform as an everyday car in the modern world?

    The first thing that struck me was just how similar the Espada and the i8 are in size. The Espada is only 4cm longer than the i8, but it is a full 10cm lower, and it’s this that gives the impression of length. They both weigh about the same, but it really doesn’t feel that way behind the wheel. The Espada, with unassisted steering, provides a real work-out at parking speeds and still feels very heavy up to around 25mph, after which everything lightens up considerably. The physical effort required to drive it is almost shocking if you’ve just stepped out of a modern car, but you quickly get used to it and it becomes an important part of the overall experience.

    It’s only when you live with a car on a daily basis that you really get to know all of its idiosyncrasies. The magnificent engine is exactly as I’d expected, but it’s the way the Espada covers ground at high speed that really stands out. Genuinely you can feel everything coming together; the car relaxes and that means you can relax too. It’s almost like an aircraft: clumsy on the ground, but entirely at home when it’s in the air.

    Also unexpected were the quality of the ride and the space inside the cabin. The Espada glides over the ground with a smoothness that exceeds that of any of the modern cars I drive – the very tall profile of the Espada’s tyres goes a long way towards explaining this. It also has more rear legroom than many modern saloons, let alone 2+2s, and a boot that will happily swallow a week’s shopping.

    It’s not all sweetness and light, though. The handbook tells you how to start the car when it’s cold and also how to start it when it’s hot. Get it wrong and it’s all too easy to sit there with starter whirring and absolutely nothing happening. When you do get it going, you have to feed-in the throttle carefully below 2500rpm to avoid spluttering progress and you need to rev the engine well beyond this point if you want spirited performance. This is no chore, but it does mean that mpg hovers somewhere in the low double digits. Combine this with an inaccurate fuel gauge and the complexity of filling the twin tanks to capacity and you end up with a real-world range of less than 200 miles – hardly ideal for a grand tourer.

    And yet… after living with it for a few weeks – it’s pictured [above] in my office car park – I’m happy to report that the Espada is entirely useable in the modern world. It can soothe or excite according to your mood and can turn heads like no other. I’m going to miss her a lot when she goes back to my dad’s house. Just don’t tell the #BMW-i8 .
    Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
No hashtag items to show here
Unable to load tooltip content.

Drive-My.COM MEDIA EN/UK based is United Kingdom’s top cars/retro/classic/modern/tuning/moto/commercial news, test drive, classic cars and classifieds. For car advertisement be it an RETRO/CLASSIC/OLD-TIMER/NEW-TIMER, Coupe, MPV, SUV, Luxury Car, Commercial vehicle, OPC car or even an auction car. We update you with latest information on new car prices from both parallel importers and car authorised dealers with brands such as Aston-Martin, Bristol, TVR, Bentley, Ford, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover, Citroen, Tesla, DS, Alfa Romeo, Subaru, Toyota, Acura, Honda, Nissan, Audi, Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Volvo, Mitsubishi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz. Find new car pricelists, new car promotions, new car reviews, latest car news, car reviews & car insurance UK. We are also your information hub for parking, road tax, car insurance and car loan, car audio, car performance parts, car discussion, motor insurance, car grooming, car rental, vehicle insurance, car insurance quotation, car accessories, car workshop, & car sticker, tuning, stance and Cars Clubs

Our Drive-My EN/USA site use cookies