- Post is under moderationRUN BY Dougal Macdonald
OWNED SINCE October 2004
CAR: #Lamborghini-Islero / #Lamborghini / #Lamborghini-V12
TURNING A DREAM INTO REALITY
I blame the September 2001 issue of C&SC. Aged 26 and working in Hong Kong, I was living a life of long hours, little sleep and no cars. Then a story by Richard Heseltine on the Lamborghini Islero started a dream that took 17 years to bring to fruition, and life has now come full circle with a role on the magazine. Four years and multiple re-reads of the article later, that dog-eared issue of C&SC and I returned to the UK. I had always fancied a classic, but why an Islero? I wanted a fast four-seater with a boot, good for drives to the Highlands or southern Europe – in other words, a proper GT. And this restrained express has always been overlooked. Which was exactly why I wanted one. Insurance was the main barrier.
At 29, with no insurance history for five years, that barrier was firmly down: I remember getting a £5200 quote for cover on a BMW 520i. In a moment of madness, I asked one insurer for an Islero quote. After liaising with the classic department, she said: “How does £600 sound?” I almost fell off my chair.
The chase was on, but how was I going to find and finance my unicorn? The latter was answered when my grandmother passed away and left me some money, but the former proved trickier. Just 255 of this lesser-known Italian were built: 125 first-generation cars, then 100 of the ‘S’, uprated from 320bhp to 350bhp and easily identified by its bonnet scoop and flared arches. I prefer the earlier model and they were a little cheaper – about the price of new Ford Mondeo – but engine fires and crashes took their toll on survival rates. Then, in February 2004, I saw an advert in C&SC for a 1968 car with Joop Stolze Classic Cars. I struck out for The Netherlands to find the car at the back of a barn, covered in dust and looking unloved. I had planned to drive home so was disappointed, but bought it nonetheless.
A friend gave me the number of a Putney garage, and the car arrived on a dark and rainy night. I can’t explain the thrill as I got in, turned the key and it fired, but after a few seconds of chattering chains the garage owner told me to turn it off.
I didn’t know then, but that was the last time it would run for 14 years. The engine block was sound, but the rest of the car was knackered. Eventually, a deal was done: I would do the laborious and non-technical work; they would train me and do specialist work when they had time. And so began the next four years. My first job was removing nearly four decades of dirt and underseal over three weeks of hell. The more I took off the Islero, the more problems I found. One rear quarter was full of rust, which had been filled over and took five days to remove, and the passenger footwell was so rotten that I put my foot through.
By the end of the year I’d stripped and rebuilt the engine. By the end of the four years, though, the time had come to get back to work and I left for Africa. Over the next seven years the car was resprayed and the suspension reattached before, in 2013, the garage owner asked if I’d return to London to help sell his stock of exotic cars. I packed my bags and the following Monday I started my new job.
Focus returned to my beloved Islero, and major jobs were done when money was available, including a handmade Larini exhaust. By 2015 it was time to move and I was unsure it would ever get finished. I was given the name of Lambo specialist Colin Clarke and we agreed a figure to complete the work. Finally, in May 2018, I picked up the car and my wife and I went away to the Cotswolds for my birthday… marred only slightly by a terrifying drive to the hotel in the dark with no headlights.
Further scares have included a return trip from Goodwood with only full beam – so I had to hold the stalk all the way – and driving back from Bicester in 36ºC with the windows stuck up… explaining to my brother why I arrived with no trousers on took some explaining. But the Silverstone Classic gave me a tick on the bucket-list when I got a parade lap of the circuit for the Islero’s 50th anniversary. The V12 at 4000rpm in fourth still gives me goosebumps, and moments like that make it all worthwhile.
Clockwise from top left: at Colin Clarke Engineering, with the engine about to go in; reassembly begins at last after the respray; finished interior; glorious V12 is now as good as new.
Main: the Islero has been taken back to exactly as it left the factory. Above: as found in Holland. Below right: at Silverstone for the model’s 50th anniversary.
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- Post is under moderationLamborghini Murciélago With one Scandinavian trip cut short but another in the offing, the big Lambo is also gearing up for a close-up down under.
Date acquired September 2004 Lamborghini Murciélago
Total mileage 267,838
Mileage this month 1331
Costs this month £225 oil and filter mpg this month 14.5
/ #2004 / #Lamborghini-Murcielago / #Lamborghini / #Lamborghini-V12 / #V12 / #2004-Lamborghini-Murcielago /
With the exceptionally hot weather this summer it’s been interesting to see the rear-mounted ‘bat wings’ on the Murciélago almost permanently in the raised position – something I’ve seen only very rarely in the UK. On past trips to warmer climes I’ve clocked that they usually rise up to aid cooling only when the outside temperature reaches about 29deg C. Travelling south during summer on the continent they invariably make an appearance when passing the French city of Lyon, staying raised from there on until reaching Lyon once again on the trip back.
They certainly weren’t seen in action in beautiful but bitterly cold Norway, which is where I last reported on the Murciélago from. I actually called time on that trip a day prematurely because the heater called it quits. After catching the ferry back to Frederikshavn in northern Denmark I endured a rotten journey south late at night: sea mist hanging thick in the air and no street lighting or catseyes. It wasn’t fun and I was glad to cross the German border near Flensburg some 220 miles later, where I bunked up for what remained of the night. I promise I’ll never complain about UK motorways again…
That stretch and the horrific road-works around Hamburg aside, I enjoyed my Scandinavian road-trip experience immensely – so much so that by the time you read this the big Lambo and I will be back there again. This time, however, the plan is to miss out Denmark (nothing personal – the Murcie and I just have a thing for car ferries) by planting the Lamborghini’s rubber on the boat that travels from the German port of Kiel directly to Oslo in Norway, before taking up where I left off last time. I’ll let you know how it goes soon.
Talking of travel, another epic trip is looming courtesy of a US film production company. During October the Murciélago will be strapped inside a Maersk shipping container before docking a couple of months later in Nelson. That’s not Nelson in Lancashire, you understand, but Nelson, New Zealand. The movie company had been looking for a Murciélago SV to star in the first few minutes of the remake of an early 1980s classic – the original also having a certain V12 Lamborghini in it. I’m not actually privy to which movie it is yet, but I don’t think it’s that difficult to guess. Let’s just say that back then the Lamborghini in question sported a huge rear wing (and a dreadful front-mounted one, too) plus a set of carburettors and had two particularly attractive female occupants.
Apparently no SV owners were willing to have their pride and joy cross the Pacific in a metal box (not surprising really given SVs are now exceptionally serious money), so SG54 LAM will be transformed into an SV lookalike complete with an enormous rear wing, wider side skirts and a glass engine lid. However, rest assured it will be returned to standard afterwards, the wing possibly becoming a useful garden ornament.
Unfortunately, I’m unlikely to be behind the wheel during filming (I look awful in a jumpsuit) but I hopefully won’t be far away either, since the plan is then to add another two or three thousand miles of Kiwi roads to the Murciélago’s long-suffering V12. It’ll soon be ready for clutch number eight at this rate… Simon George
Above: the Lambo’s active air intakes have been called into action a lot this year; bodywork will soon be given an SV-like makeover – with good reason.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 moderationLamborghini Murciélago. It’s still on the road, even through winter – but it has a strong rival on cold mornings…
Date acquired September #2004 / #Lamborghini-Murcielago / #Lamborghini / #Lamborghini-V12 / #V12 / #2004-Lamborghini-Murcielago /
It’s been some time since I last wrote a report on ‘Trigger’s Broom’, but I’m told evo’s readers keep asking after the quarter-million-mile (and rising) Lambo, so here’s an update on how it’s been fairing since its nut and bolt rebuild.
Despite a few small teething problems since the wide Pirellis were reacquainted with tarmac early last year, I’m pleased to report the Murciélago is running amazingly well. Of course, being an old-school supercar it still possesses an obstinate dislike for second gear, which it refuses to engage when cold, despite the whole ’box being rebuilt in not so ancient times. I learnt many moons ago to simply ignore this cog and skip straight to third – something I still do subconsciously.
Although winter is now in full swing, the Lambo is still accumulating miles at a steady rate; it’s wearing winter rubber and thankfully the recent new heater works perfectly. That said, since it and a #Range-Rover-Sport-SDV8 that I also run never ever see the inside of a garage, it takes some real enthusiasm on a frosty morning to press the unlock button on the remote for the Murciélago, rather than that for the Range Rover, before embarking on my 90-minute commute.
This is probably something to do with the fact that the #Range-Rover can preheat its sumptuous interior for half an hour before I get into it and will waft onto the M1 with seamless gearchanges and a near-silent soundtrack. There’s a definite appeal there, certainly next to climbing into a freezing Lamborghini before fighting a stone-cold ’box with no second gear and wondering what mood it’ll be in today.
Regular readers may remember that, when the Murciélago was first test driven following the rebuild, I was still a tad concerned that it might not track in a straight line given its prior severe chassis damage. I need not have worried – not only does it point its short nose where it should with accuracy, it’s also tremendously smooth to drive. Coupled with that wonderful rising and falling V12 soundtrack orchestrated by the manual ’box (when it’s warm), it’s just heaven. Sure, it’s not got the outright pace of today’s exotica, but I enjoy the effort required to perfectly synchronise the long manual throw with the equally long travel of the clutch. Beats a paddleshift hands down.
So to say I’m pleased with what’s been achieved with this Murciélago is an understatement. No, it’s not quite perfect yet. The rear spoiler gets stuck in the upright position (very common), small parts of the leather trim are still waiting to be replaced, and the badly worn symbols on the petrol cap release will stay worn, as will the faded exterior V12 badge – both as a nod to the car’s past.
Business commitments meant I never did get to take it to Italy last year as planned, but since I’ve always fancied touring Scandinavia, I’m now plotting to drive it north to Sweden, via Germany and Denmark, during 2018. I’m now confident enough in the car’s reliability to keep piling on the miles indefinitely. And, let’s face it, I’m way beyond having to worry about depreciation!
Simon George (@6gearexperience)
Date acquired September 2004
Total mileage 262,334
Mileage this month 1066
Costs this month £130 oil change
Mpg this month 13.0
‘You’re fighting a stonecold ’box with no second gear and wondering what mood it’ll be in today’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRight: steering wheel and dash have been retrimmed in Alcantara; Simon George is looking forward to putting them to the test soon.
Date acquired September 2004 / #Lamborghini-Murcielago / #Lamborghini / #Lamborghini-V12 / #V12 / #2004
Total km 415,280
Km this month 0
Costs this month TBC
L/100km this month n/a
Lamborghini Murciélago Its refreshed interior is ready for action, but the mid-mounted V12 is not
It’s been a frustrating few-months for ‘Trigger’s Broom’, which has been struggling with an electrical issue with its engine, thereby delaying its long-awaited return to the road. Lamborghini’s Manchester dealership has therefore become the Murciélago’s second home whilst its technicians try to get to the bottomof why the car’s once mighty #V12-engined has become a limp in-line six.
As regular readers will know, the Lambo lost an argument with an oak tree back in November 2012, which left it (the car, not the tree) damaged way beyond economical repair. Being the sentimental sort, I chose to embark upon a nut and bolt rebuild all the same, and three years later the car has more replacement parts fitted than original, so its nickname has never been more apt!
Somewhat ironically, after the aforementioned catastrophic incident the Murciélago’s engine still ran sweetly, but somewhere along its road to recovery the main bus fuse was blown and the 426kW V12 lost a bank of six cylinders.
Electrical gremlins can take many hours to nail down in Italian supercars, and despite changing all the ECUs and investigating myriad other theories, the problem has not yet been solved. Now a systematic testing of every part of the wiring loom is in progress, so hopefully I’ll hear some good news – and the sound of 12 cylinders running smoothly – soon.
On a more positive note, the Lambo’s interior has recently been refreshed and updated by having the dashboard and steering wheel re-covered in Alcantara. It really looks the part and will hopefully reduce the reflections in the Murciélago’s huge windscreen. I look forward to finding out shortly, not least because my goal is to hit 500,000km by the end of 2017. More news soon.
The 6.2-litre 426kW V12 has lost a bank of six cylinders.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationItalian? Check. V12? Check. Orange? Check. This Aventador ticked all the boxes for a place on Simon George’s supercar experience fleet. And it means he also has a new daily driver.
NEW ARRIVAL #Lamborghini-Aventador-LP700-4 / #Lamborghini-Aventador / #Lamborghini / #2016 / #Lamborghini-V12 / #V12
Date acquired April #2016
Total km 38,653
Km this month 911
Costs this month $0
L/100km this month 22.0
For most businesses, sinking the best part of three quarters of a million dollars into new machinery is a pretty significant decision. When that machinery happens to be a #V12-engined #Lamborghini , it’s one you want to be particularly sure of.
Only a tiny minority of the 6th Gear Experience’s 45,000 annual customers are actually petrolheads. The overwhelming majority are members of the public who have been bought a driving experience as a gift. This means most aren’t quite sure which supercar is which, although a Ferrari has to be red and any Aston Martin is usually associated with James Bond. That said, there are some cars that most customers instantly recognise as something special. The Ferrari 458 Italia is one, a big V12 Lambo another. Anything with doors that go upwards always goes down a storm. Throw in a bright colour and you have the pulling power of a bikini-clad Kelly Brook stood amongst a line of smartly attired fashion models.
Enter the Aventador LP700-4. Another Sant’Agata supercar had been on the cards for some time. Prices, though, have recently firmed up, with even the earliest Aventadors seldom dropping below $600,000 (they cost $760K new).
It was a tip-off through a main dealer that led us to LJ12 KJZ, which was a bit leggy at 38,000km but had a full Lamborghini service history complete with every invoice. And it was the right colour and sported a plain black interior. Not my personal preference, but spot-on for what we needed it for. Additionally, the carbon-ceramic brakes had recently been replaced at an eyewatering $30,000. Regular readers may remember my thoughts on ceramics, which work well for an owner who is familiar with how they behave but are not ideal for use by a customer who isn’t – and that’s even with an experienced instructor in the passenger seat with their own stop pedal. So whether the ceramics stay, we’ll have to see.
After a lengthy inspection, a deal was struck at $590,000 and within 24 hours our new leviathan was negotiating its way at speed around Castle Combe. And I really do mean speed – 515kW propels just 1575kg for a power-to-weight ratio that matches a Carrera GT’s.
First impressions? It’s difficult to write anything that hasn’t been said before, of course, but compared with the Murciélagos we have run in the past, the Aventador unsurprisingly feels punchier, although both models seem to have almost identical all-wheel-drive handling characteristics. I’m guessing that with its more modern driver aids it’ll look after you better than the older car in a crisis, too. It’ll be interesting to see how the Aventador copes on a wet track. On the road it certainly generates overwhelming attention, which as many supercar owners will confirm is great at first but can become tiring in the long term.
With the imminent return (yes, I know, I’ve been saying this for months) of the monster-mileage Murciélago, too, it looks like the future is bright. Orange, too…Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe making of a hero / #Lamborghini-Aventador / #Lamborghini-Aventador-S / #2017-Lamborghini-Aventador-S / #Lamborghini / #Lamborghini-V12 / #2017
Lamborghini’s Aventador stunned at launch then fell behind. Now hail The S. Words Steve Sutcliffe.
When Lamborghini unveiled the Aventador back in 2011, the world of fast cars gasped for a moment in disbelief. Because, at the time, the Aventador, with its cartoonish good looks, its thunderous V12 engine and 210mph top speed, was like no other supercar on Earth. It was also near the technological cutting edge back then, featuring a carbon monocoque chassis with pushrod suspension and four-wheel drive with which to deploy its prodigious power.
But since then the atmosphere among the upper echelons of fast cars has thickened somewhat, and dynamically the Aventador has struggled to keep up. Which is why Lamborghini has come up with this car, a dramatically more advanced Aventador known simply as ‘The S’.
It costs £277,000 and boasts four-wheel steering and revised electronic suspension. That famous 6.5-litre V12 has also been tickled to produce 730bhp and 509lb ft, with more torque available towards the top end this time.
Aerodynamic efficiency is up by an impressive 50%, too, with 130% more downforce than before and a lot less drag, says Lamborghini. And, as you can see, the S also looks quite different from its predecessor, with an unashamed design nod towards the Countach around its rear wheelarches.
The technical progress doesn’t stop there, however. There’s a bespoke new Pirelli tyre, while the dynamic drive programme, which featured three modes – Strada, Sport and Corsa – has been re-written to include a fourth setting called Ego. This allows a driver to alter the dynamics of the steering, powertrain and suspension separately from each other, which is a minor eureka moment for the Aventador.
The other key technical change is the fitment of one single ECU to control all the car’s dynamic functions. And this, Lamborghini claims, has enabled its engineers to develop a consistency in response that you can’t achieve with separate ECUs.
On the move the S has a new-found harmony in the way it reacts to your inputs – be that on the throttle, via the steering wheel, on the brake pedal, and most of all beneath your backside – and this alone means it represents a huge step forwards dynamically over the old car. What you notice first is how direct the front end now feels; then how much cleaner the throttle response is. You instantly feel much more in control of the car as a result. And without question the single biggest difference is the four-wheel steering.
From behind the wheel this manifests itself in much sharper front-end bite everywhere and, because the car is so much better-balanced under power, the engineers have been able to send much more torque to the rear axle at any given time. Which makes the S feel more like a rear-wheel-drive car than a four- wheel-drive one.
The more time I spent in it, the more the S blew me away. And it wasn’t only the new handling set-up that impressed. The V12 engine is also a rare gem that shines brighter than ever here; the carbon-ceramic brakes have huge power and a lot more feel than before; and, although the gearbox remains fundamentally unchanged (which means it works OK if not brilliantly, when compared with the best of the best), its automatic mode has been softened to make it smoother.
But it’s the chassis that’s the stand-out feature, because it’s just so much sharper and so much better-balanced than it used to be. At last, dor has the underpinnings to do that heroic #V12 engine justice.
Above and top left Latest Aventador looks wilder than the original and packs a power boost to 730bhp, but the improvements to its handling are what really count.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.