- Post is under moderationGetting 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.
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- Post is under moderationGlut of quality MGBs heralds a downturn in prices / #MGB-RV8 / #MGB / #MG
VALUE 2012 £10k
VALUE NOW 2018 £13.5k
June auctions saw MGB prices take a downward dip. Barons dispatched a red ’1978 roadster with a chrome bumper conversion, fresh MoT, 43k miles and £1600-worth of bills for a giveaway £2915.
CCA also had mixed results, with five MGBs all knocked down for tempting money. An as-new #1970 Bronze Yellow roadster subject to a total bare bodyshell resto made only £9350 – probably half the rebuild cost. A #1980 rubber-bumper GT in Glacier White with 5200 miles made only £9k, while an as-new 1980 GT in BRG with a tiny 1540 miles didn’t sell. Neither did a completely restored 1970 roadster in red. Even a nicely mellowed ’1972 roadster with Oselli-tuned engine and 20-year ownership made just £5740. Anglia Auctions struggled too, with no fewer than 14 MGBs. The best pair, both older Heritage bodyshell total rebuilds, made only £8904 and £13,780, eight others averaged out at £4600 each and two were no-sales.
There’s tremendous value in MGBs right now. Over-supply is putting pressure on values and even very fine ’Bs are around 40% down from 2015. MGBs may be a bit clichéd, but they’re still uncomplicated, good to drive and infinitely more interesting than an MX-5. There could also be a softening in #MGC and #MGB-GTV8 prices. CCA’s 1970 older restoration MGC GT made only £12,320, while H&H’s very original white ’1973 V8 with 84k was unsold.
Track the market carefully – a totally rebuilt MGB complete with new Heritage bodyshell for around ten grand is cracking value. And looking at today’s market, finding one shouldn’t be hard.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEveryday 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 .Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIn 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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCAR #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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationIn the year of the departure, three German sedans set completely new accents. The Audi 100 emancipated itself from DKW and immediately became a star of the middle class. With the six-cylinder Type 2500 BMW celebrated its comeback in the luxury cars, and Mercedes said goodbye to the bestseller dash-eight of Blechbarock and swing axle.
/ #Audi-100-F104 , 1968–1976 / BMW-2500 3.3 Li, Typ E3, 1968–1976 / Mercedes-Benz W115, 1968–1976
/ #Mercedes-Benz-220D-W115 / #1970 / #1970-Mercedes-Benz-220D-W115 / #Mercedes-Benz-220D / #Mercedes-Benz-W115 / #Mercedes-Benz-W114 / #Mercedes-Benz
/ #BMW-2500-Typ-E3 / #BMW-2500-E3 / #BMW-2500 / #BMW-E3 / #BMW / #1971 / #1971-BMW-2500-E3
/ #Audi-100LS-Typ-F104 / #Audi-100LS-F104 / #Audi-100LS-C1 / #Audi-100-C1 / #Audi-100 / #Audi / #Audi-Typ-F104 / #1974-Audi-100LS-Typ-F104 / #1974-Audi-100 / #1974Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCAR #Aston-Martin-DBS-V8 / #Aston-Martin-DBS / #Aston-Martin / #1970-Aston-Martin-DBS-V8 / #Aston-Martin-V8
Year of manufacture #1970
Recorded mileage 57,942
Asking price £130,000
Vendor Premium Classic Cars, Woodbridge, Suffolk; tel: 01394 459493; www.premiumclassiccars.com
WHEN IT WAS NEW
Max power 320bhp
Max torque 360lb ft
0-60mph 6.5 secs
Top speed 161mph
This is one of the first home-market V8s. Delivered new to London, it has recently returned from Australia via The Netherlands, and before that had several bouts of restoration work in 2013 and 2014, including a colour change from Aegean Blue. It’s also had a clever programmable fuel injection set-up added, while retaining the major components of the original early Bosch mechanical system for a near-standard appearance.
The structure is solid and rot-free, plus the paint and chrome are superb, the bumpers having been redone. Its unscuffed alloys are polished, wearing well-treaded 2014 Maxxis tyres, plus an older Roadstone on the spare. Peering under the back reveals fresh dampers and a newish exhaust. Inside, the dash and instruments are smart and it has been retrimmed in the not-too-distant past with new leather in the original fawn. There are no splits or cracks in the dash covering, and the carpets are in good order.
The headlining is excellent and both electric windows work. This car had the adjustable Armstrong Selectaride dampers, though on our brief test drive it was hard to tell if they still adjust or even were still fitted.
The engine is tidy. The oil is between levels, coolant nice and pink, and the transmission fluid, though a slightly darker shade than new, doesn’t smell burnt. People are scared of the mechanical injection – though it is possible to set it up at home with practice – but this new system, fitted in 2010, does away with those worries. It starts easily and drives nicely, with a supple ride and lots of prod, as you’d expect. The automatic ’box kicks down if you floor it and the brakes work smoothly, though pulling slightly to the left. Oil pressure was 80psi-plus, the coolant temperature steady at 70ºC, and the aircon tries its best. After our run the tickover was high, at 1500rpm, though the system is eminently tweakable via a laptop.
There are lots of Aussie bills, plus copies of the guarantee and factory service records to 1973. If sold in the UK, it will be registered and supplied with a new MoT – and could be a five-speed manual for an extra £8000.
EXTERIOR Excellent chrome and paint
INTERIOR New leather, good carpets
MECHANICALS Healthy thanks to lots of recent work; electronic fuel injection
For Attractive early styling; stonk
Against It’s not exactly as it came out of Newport Pagnell
SHOULD I BUY IT?
It appears to have no stories and is the quickest of the V8s. If you don’t like autos (with this much torque it hardly matters), there’s a solution.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationCAR: #Ferrari-365GT-2+2 / #Ferrari-365GT / #Ferrari-365-GT / #Ferrari-365 / #Ferrari / #1970-Ferrari-365GT /
Year of manufacture #1970
Recorded mileage 31,481
Asking price £234,990 Vendor Rardley Motors, Grayshott, Hampshire; tel 01428 606616; www.rardleymotors.com
WHEN IT WAS NEW
Price £8749 10s 4d
Max power 320bhp / DIN
Max torque 268lb ft / DIN
0-60mph 6.2 secs
Top speed 152mph
Like all cars that seemed massive when they were new, the 365 doesn’t look quite as large as it used to. One of 70 right-hookers, it was originally supplied to Hong Kong, was repainted twice there in 1985 and came to the UK in 1986 having done just under 12,000 miles. It was then subject to various refettling works plus rechroming and a respray. The floorpans are excellent, the sill edges sharp, and there are bungs in the door shuts marked Tuff-Kote Dinol – evidence of previous rust treatment. It still presents very well, though there’s some slight crazing to the roof paint following an incident with Silly String, and one tiny run at the bottom of the left A-pillar. The chrome is still good, and straight, the alloys refinished and shod in 2003-dated XWXs, which show how little mileage it has covered in recent years. The spare matches, but is older.
Inside, it was retrimmed from its original red in 2010, and is all still nice, with a couple of small key marks on the edge of the dash. There’s a modern face-off stereo replacing the original Blaupunkt and the clock works – a replacement in 1985 – as do the electric windows.
The motor is clean and tidy, with cleanish oil to the minimum mark on the dipstick, though the car was standing on a slight slope, and the coolant needed topping up. It last had a clutch less than 10,000 miles ago, in 2001, and the rear self-levelling units were changed in 1984.
It starts easily (not too much throttle!) and drives much more tightly than you’d expect, with taut suspension, decent feel through the power steering and a firm brake pedal. The 365 feels narrower than it really is, a mark of a car’s poise. The clutch and synchros all function well and it pulls up straight, though actual retardation is ’60s style. Oil pressure is healthy at just over 70psi, rising to nearer 90 with a few more revs, while the coolant temperature is steady at 170ºF, the fans cutting in at 180 when you stop. The handbrake holds well. It will be sold with the original handbook and warranty card, a replacement tool roll and a new MoT.
EXTERIOR Resprayed 20 years ago, but most of it is still really smart
INTERIOR Newish hide; everything works
MECHANICALS Lowish mileage; properly fettled
For Grand old barge in great nick
Against Make sure that you have space; it’s almost 5m long
SHOULD I BUY IT?
If you want a rare classic Ferrari that really can carry the whole family – with luggage – it looks great value against a DB6Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationClassic Audi Retro Cool #Audi-100S-Coupe-C1 #1970 / #1976 Audi’s first coupé is still one of the best looking; here’s a brief history of this rare car… Words Davy Lewis. Photography Audi AG.
/ #Audi-100S-Coupe / #Audi-100-Coupé-C1 / #Audi-100-C1 / #Audi-100 / #Audi /
Retro Cool Audi 100 S Coupe. Everyone like a classic Audi and they don’t come much better looking than the 100 S Coupé. You could say that as Audi’s first foray into the coupé market, they nailed it first time. This 1970 model comes courtesy of Audi’s press department and looks truly stunning photographed in their studio.
Compared with its ‘sensible’ sibling, the 100 saloon, the 100 S Coupé was a revelation. It featured a very sleek profile with a long bonnet, muscular haunches, and a sweeping, fastback rear. Looking at it now, over 40 years later, there are definitely echoes of the design language in the current A7. It also has a touch of Aston Martin DB5, especially around the rear quarters. From the front, the large, Audi rings dominate things, complemented by a brace of twin headlights, giving a sporting appearance.
Under the bonnet of the S Coupé, Audi fitted a 1.9-litre 4-cylinder engine that made a lively (for 1970!) 112hp. 0-60mph took a leisurely 10+seconds and the top speed was around 118mph. But it was rear-wheel drive and weighed less than 1100kgs; with relatively skinny rear tyres, provoking a slide was not difficult.
In 1976, Audi refreshed the 100 range and the Coupé was dropped in favour of the more practical hatchback, which also received the new, inline five-cylinder engine.
Which means that the 100 S Coupé is a rare beast today, with fewer than 31,000 cars produced worldwide. To put that into perspective, almost 800,000 more saloon versions of the 100 were built. Today, classic car traders are asking from around £40,000 for a decent S Coupé.
You can trace a direct lineage to the present day, with the recently launched A5 Coupé. Of course Audi’s most famous coupé is the Ur-quattro, which re-wrote the rulebook and brought fourwheel drive to the masses.
QUICK SPEC #Audi-100S-Coupé
Engine 1.9-litre 4-cylinder
Transmission 4-speed manual
Top speed: 118mph
Weight: 1080kgStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.