Showing posts with label Lamborghini Sports Cars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lamborghini Sports Cars. Show all posts

Lamborghini Diablo

Lamborghini Diablo 1990s Italian supercar

The Lamborghini Diablo had to top the Countach - its wedge-shaped predecessor. To do so, it would need to be pretty special. Hence the fact that Marcello Gandini was given the design brief. He fulfilled it to perfection. All the way from the inlaid headlights, to the four-barrelled exhausts. The Diablo roared classic Italian supercar from the moment Gandini picked up his pen. It was Lamborghini's mid-engined riposte to the Ferrari F40 - and the Diablo had all the allure of that Italian masterpiece. Materials used were state of the art. The Diablo was fitted with a strengthened carbon-fibre chassis. That was clad in aluminium and composite-plastic body panels. Lamborghini spent a cool £50m on development. Diablo is Spanish for 'Devil' - and there was a heck of a lot of detail to be paid for!

But, there was even more to the Diablo than stunning styling. For a roadster, its performance was off the graph. A 5.7-litre V12 maxed out at 492bhp. Top speed was a gargantuan 202mph. Indeed, the Diablo was the first production Lamborghini to attain that mythical figure. Torque measured a colossal 428lb-ft. From the Countach, Lamborghini had taken what was already an incredible engine - and improved it. Bigger - and tidier of design - it now came catalysed and fuel-injected. The Diablo hit 100mph in second gear alone.

They say the devil has all the best tunes. Their were to be several variations on the Diablo theme. SV, SV-R, Roadster and VT versions duly appeared. There were both 2- and 4-wheel drive models to choose from. The biggest beast of all was the limited-edition Diablo SE30. It topped out at 210mph. 0-60 came up in 4.2s. But - for all the Diablo's power - comfort was not compromised. Ergonomics were expertly-crafted. Adjustable suspension was but an arm's length away. Interior trim was impeccable. The sole flaw - if it can be considered so in a supercar - was a lack of luggage-room. But, when the choice was between storage space - and a more voluptuous V12 - most buyers did not hesitate. End of the day, the Diablo was not built to lug stuff about. Lamborghini were testing the limits of design and science!

Lamborghini Countach

Lamborghini Countach 1970s Italian classic supercar

The Lamborghini Countach was styled by Bertone - Italian masters of automotive design. In its first incarnation, the Countach flew to a top speed of 186mph. That was exceptionally quick in the Seventies. Its engine - a classic Lamborghini V12 - produced 375bhp. Again - in the 1970s - that was a gargantuan stat. The models that followed output still more power.

Handling-wise, too, the Countach was well up to snuff. Mid-engined as it was, its gearbox was at the front - nestled snugly beneath the banana seats. Weight distribution was optimised. As a consequence, the Countach's cornering capabilities soared. A 5-speed set-up only added to the fun!

Countach is a Piedmontese exclamation/expletive. In its mildest form, it means 'wow' - though it can have fruitier connotations! Certainly, the first definition was more than apt. Later versions of the Countach, though, somewhat over-egged the stylistic pudding. Pointless spoilers - and over-sized wheel-arches and ducts - bordered on the kitsch. To be fair, by the time such models hit the showrooms, the firm's founders were no longer at the helm. Financially, it found itself in choppy waters. Latter-day faux pas notwithstanding, it was largely down to the Countach that Lamborghini stayed afloat. When it made its début - in '74 - the Countach stunned show-goers. Lamborghini's rivals were left reeling. In a way - over the course of its run - the Countach summed up the Seventies. Insomuch as it was a decade which could veer wildly between masterpiece and parody!

Lamborghini Murciélago

Lamborghini Murcielago 2000s Italian supercar

The Lamborghini Murciélago was styled by Belgian Luc Donckerwolke. He had been chief designer at Audi - which, in '98, was taken over by Lamborghini. Traditionally, the latter had recruited Italian design houses. On that basis, Bertone were briefed to create the new car. And indeed, their work was ready to go into production. At the last, though, the Bertone project was canned. The design reins were duly passed to Donckerwolke.

When the Murciélago was launched, it was with no lack of fanfare. Sicily's Mount Etna provided the backdrop. The accompanying son et lumière show was equally spectacular - including, as it did, a volcanic eruption. Well, a virtual one, at any rate!

Designer Donckerwolke decked the car out in razor-sharp lines. Bodywork was carbon-fibre and steel. The chassis was fashioned from high-tensile tubing. Given the supercar's shape, a low drag coefficient was a gimme. As a result, top speed for the Murciélago was a searing 205mph. 0-60 appeared in 3.85s. Notwithstanding, steady torque delivery - and electronic engine management - rendered the car relatively tractable. Suspension and brakes were, naturally, state of the art. Late in the day though it had been, Lamborghini's decision to give the design gig to Luc Donckerwolke paid off. The Murciélago exhibited plenty of Italian flair ... as well as a dash of Belgian panache!

Lamborghini Espada

Lamborghini Espada 1960s Italian classic supercar

The Lamborghini Espada was designed by Bertone. Their styling standards were of the highest - both inside and out. Sitting pretty atop the tail lights, for example, was a clear glass panel. Not only was it a sweet visual flourish - it assisted with parking, too. An impressive blend, then, of form and function. The Espada's interior was state of the art. Its focal point was a control console, between the front seats. The console - and 'techie' dashboard above it - housed an aircraft-type array of dials and switches. And - Sixties supercar though it was - the 4-seater Espada was far from cramped.

The top-spec Espada was good for 155mph. It was powered by a 4-litre V12. The motor sat beneath an alloy bonnet. Pierced NACA ducts adorned the front profile. Engineering-wise, a one-off 5-speed gearbox did shifting duty.

The Espada's ride was pliant and smooth. That was aided by all round wishbone suspension - plus, a wide track and fat tyres. Overall, handling was excellent. Power-steering and auto transmission were options on later models. The Espada was based on the Marzal concept car. On its release - in '68 - the Espada set a new speed benchmark for 4-seaters. So - in every automotive aspect - the Lamborghini Espada was a genuine Italian masterpiece!

Lamborghini 350 GT

Lamborghini 350 GT 1960s Italian classic sports car

The 350 GT was Lamborghini's first production car. It was launched in March, '64. Touring - Italian coachbuilders extraordinaire - were tasked with styling it. Headquartered in Milan, Touring's brief was based on the Lamborghini 350 GTV prototype. Bodywork comprised alloy panels. They were hung on a Superleggera steel frame. The 350 GT's light body was key to its top speed of 152mph. The solid round-tube chassis was supported by coil spring and tubular wishbone suspension. Girling disc brakes stopped the plot.

Gian Paulo Dallara - alongside Giotto Bizzarini - engineered the GT. Power was supplied by the trusty Lamborghini V12. The crankshaft of the quad-cam 60° motor was machined from a single billet. 280bhp was duly produced. The V12 was fed by side-draught carburettors. That, in turn, led to a rakishly low bonnet line. Capacity was 3,464cc. The 5-speed transmission - and steering box - were by ZF. The rear diff' was by Salisbury. Fast, smooth and tractable, the 350 GT handled superbly. So - with both the form and function of their first model sorted - it seemed Lamborghini was off to a flyer!

The 350 GT was eminently user-friendly. There was, for example, a synchro-mesh reverse gear. The cabin was a chic and comfortable place to be. Just 143 cars were built. Exclusivity, then, was part of the package. Of course - in terms of sheer glamour - the 350 GT falls short of Lamborghini's supercars. But - as an opening sports car shot - it had all the allure and panache that would become so synonymous with the marque.