Words by Raj Hunjan & Lamborghini Club UK Owners
For me the Lamborghini brand stands alone in offering hugely exciting yet intimidating cars, the bright colours they are often painted in demandattention from all that come across them. I’ve always wondered if there is something special about the owners too. I had the opportunity to meet a large number of owners on the Lamborghini Club UK stand during Silverstone Classic. Right from the outset I found the owners to be extremely welcoming, they all wanted to show me every inch of their cars and explain why they love the Lamborghini brand so much. What struck me the most was actually the different ways they each got into owning a Lamborghini. Some had saved for many years to get into the position of buying their dream car, one had sold a company and used some of the proceeds to buy a Lamborghini – as a celebration of their success. Each had a strong character and extreme passion for cars, mainly just for Lamborghini’s though! It was an enlightening experience spending two solid days with the Lamborghini owners, hearing them speak so vividly about their lives with their cars and the reactions they get from others. Often it’s the stories about kids spotting their cars and going crazy that seem to impact them the most.
With the values of classics like the Countach, Diablo & Miura reaching for the stars they also provide a great asset – although the owners I spoke to would never part with their cars, Geoff Armstrong, the proud owner of a Countach Anniversary puts it perfectly, “I have no plans to part with my Countach, however, there will come a day when I won’t be able to get in or out of it, so it will have to go.” Quite a statement of his commitment and love for the Lamborghini marque! I was lucky enough to get a passenger ride in Geoff’s Countach Anniversary, it is an experience that will stay with me for a long time. The unique glass house and leather that cocoons you is quite a hot place to be when the sun is out! The Countach is what I would define as being a true supercar, incredibly fast, loud, manual and intimidating. These traits make it the most exciting experience – even as a passenger. I asked some of the owners I met for some words about what Lamborghini means for them, their accounts make great reading.
Steve Watts – Jarama S
I got introduced to Lamborghini when watching the Cannonball Run with that crazy black Countach at the start. I think from that point on I tore down the poster of Olivia Newton-John and stuck up a poster of the Countach. Of course, this was thirty odd years ago when I was a spotty new teenager with no hope of ever owning one. I accidentally got into Lamborghini ownership. I was looking for an old car to tinker with in my garage. Something to while away rainy days and I stumbled across “Kermit” – a bright green Jarama S. It was a risk, not knowing anything about Lambo’s, but the lure of a Lamborghini V12 sort of got to me and I took the car without even viewing it. My thoughts were that if it didn’t work then so be it. It was my man-cave project and it didn’t have
to work. That was in January 2012. It only took three months to get Kermit back to roadworthy condition.
I love the story behind the creation of Automobilia Lamborghini. Sticking two fingers up to Ferrari. I love that, the colour of Kermit and the noise. I can’t get enough of hearing that engine running. You could be ‘Lord of the Manor’ or a lowly computer programmer but knowing you’ve got a Lamborghini in the garage is pure magic. The rarity of any Lamborghini is so cool but having a front engined, four seater is so different. People want to know about it. They generally hear me first, have a quick glance and then double take when they see the colour and the styling. The Jarama S is a low car. It was never a fan favourite but with nearly perfect weight distribution it handles magnificently.
It has very little body roll and for a car built in 1972 it has lots of rubber on the road. I often get people hanging their phones out of their windows as they pass on the motorway taking pictures. The two most enjoyable things I do are working on the engine and taking people for rides. Everyone smiles when the engine passes 3,000 rpm. The note changes and that mad bull just pulls and pulls. If my mother-in-law had anything to do with it my Lamborghini would be replaced with a conservatory and a new kitchen. That isn’t happening! I’d only replace my Lamborghini with another Lamborghini. I would like a 400GT2+2 if I was given free reign but Katherine, my wife, would like a Miura. I think most people would agree that she has better taste.
Owning an older Lamborghini is not as expensive as some would imagine. The cars of the 60’s and 70’s were made using some of the best component manufacturers of the time. Kermit for instance uses Girling brake components, a mix of Lucas and Carello lights, a Borg & Beck clutch and Bosch electrical components. A clutch plate for Kermit is the same as for an E-type Jaguar (which is the same as a Mk2 Land Rover). The brake boosters were also put on Ford Escorts of the day. The clutch slave cylinder is the same as on a Rover P5. It’s just a matter of figuring out what other cars used the same component and then tracking them down.
Dave Thomas – Gallardo Spyder
My introduction to Lamborghini was as a small boy who watched every showing of The Italian Job at my local cinema – for the opening sequence alone! As a brand Lamborghini has always been slightly edgy, different and just a bit bonkers – OK, sometimes quite a lot bonkers! I love the fact that no two cars are ever the same and they come in a huge variety of vivid colours to catch the eye. Overall I just love the special feeling you get when you slide in behind the wheel, look down at the raging bull emblem, and silently say a big thank you to Ferruccio Lamborghini for having the guts to start the whole enterprise off in the first place.
I have had two Gallardo Spyders. The first was a 2007 LP520-4 and my current one is a 2012 LP560-4. I’d only consider replacing it with another Lamborghini of course. Money no object I’d love to have a Miura, as well as a modern stable-mate, but if I could have just one I could be tempted by the new Huracan Spyder – as and when they produce it. I find the size of the Gallardo perfect for UK roads, with the Aventador just a bit too wide and intimidating. The Huracán should be more of the same, only more up to date.
Most people love seeing my Lamborghini and ask me to rev the engine – which I am happy to oblige with as it sounds so good! Occasionally you get the unwanted bit of envy spilling over into unnecessary comments questioning your manhood. I have to say that in France and Italy people adore the cars and are so grateful to see one and I have never had anything other than great reactions in Europe. My wife and I were lucky enough to be on the 50th Anniversary Grand Giro trip with the club last May and it was one of the best experiences of my life outside getting married and the birth of our two children! Driving 1000km through Italy in a convoy of 350 Lambo’s of all eras, with townsfolk encouraging you to rev up and go faster was just mad and all part of the style of Lamborghini. In summary Lamborghini is a great company, the Lamborghini UK club is fantastic and my dealer experience with Sevenoaks has been great too.
Cliff Graham – Lamborghini Espada
I first became aware of Lamborghini with the Miura in The Italian Job, around the same time my father had a friend who had just bought an Espada in Liverpool in 1969 – in a very similar colour to the one I own now. He brought it round to show my father, it looked amazing then and I think still does now. In those days you had to send it to London to get it serviced!
I am relatively new to Lamborghini ownership compared to some of the other club members, I have only had my Lamborghini for about 3 years. The whole Lamborghini experience is always good fun. I just think Lamborghini’s are a bit mad especially in bright colours. Also they push the design boundaries more than anyone else out there. When people see my car they seem to love it! They often want to have a proper look at it, ask lots of questions and photograph it, even on the motorway. The best part of it all for me is that it really makes people smile.
My Espada has been quite reliable but it can be frustrating if something goes wrong. However I have to remember it is forty years old! When it was new it was TWICE the price of a new Rolls Royce! It was also the fastest four seater car in the world at 158mph. It came with electric windows, leather seats , air conditioning, 5 speed gearbox, limited slip diff and it’s V12 engine has 6 twin choke weber carbs – and does about 8 mpg! Over a ten year period they only made about 1,200 and very few in right hand drive. It also has a celebrity link, I believe it was once owned by Bono of U2. I don’t think I’ll ever replace it. I have more modern cars for everyday use which will get replaced, but the Espada will always be with me.
Mark Hart – Countach QV
I first became aware of Lamborghini when my dad showed me a picture of a Countach LP400 in around 1973 on the front cover of Autocar magazine. I’ve been lucky enough to own a Countach 5000S previously and currently I have a Countach 5000QV. The reason why I love Lamborghini so much is the looks of course – the attention they create is unrivaled. I really enjoy talking to people about it and have made some really good friends because of it. People that see me out in it are startled, amazed, curious and excited – especially kids – just like I used to be when I saw one when I was young!
The first owner of my car used to drive around the West End in London, I worked at a hotel in Piccadilly at the time and saw him in it regularly. I managed to get a lift from him to Victoria station one night. It was only when I checked the MOT certificates after I had bought it that I realised the car used to be his! It’s a shame that I never met him again and he doesn’t know I own it.
There are other cars I love too, such as the Porsche 930 3.3 Turbo, Ferrari Boxer – but my first choice would be a Murciélago 670. If anyone is thinking about Lamborghini ownership, make sure it has a good current history file, if you see no recent bills I would advise not to buy.
Tim Parr – Gallardo Spyder
When I was a kid I had loads of dinky toys and the Miura was one of my favourites along with the De Tomaso Mangusta. I played with them for hours. Later came the Countach posters for the wall – along with the famous tennis girl of course! The rest is history and when my sister and her husband bought a Diablo, I was taken! I current own a Balloon White Hamann Gallardo Spyder. I love absolutely everything about owning my Gallardo. I still get a dry mouth every time I drive her. The car looks stunning every time I look at her in my garage and I still pinch myself in case I am dreaming. I never thought I would ever be able to own a supercar.
Lamborghini is such an iconic brand. The cars really are ‘in your face’, imposing and buck the trend of other car manufacturers in keeping that raw spirit of aggression, styling, sound and just utter presence on the road! The Lamborghini Club UK is more like a big family rather than a club. I have met so many warm and friendly people there and they have all been great and welcoming. The club social life is better now then it’s even been – my wife loves it too!
On the road I’ve always had a fantastic reaction from others regarding the car. Luckily I have never had any abuse from road users when out and about, just thumbs up, pictures being taken and encouragement to make the engine scream for them! I have heard horror stories but luckily with the Gallardo I’ve never had this! Many people see them for what they are and not just a rich mans toy. There is only one thing I would replace my Lamborghini with – another Lamborghini…
One of the highlights of ownership was actually Silverstone Classic last year, Valentino Balboni came as our special guest. He even did me the honour of signing my car! We had a great event with over eighty cars present and the gala dinner on the Saturday night was a real blast with great food, drink (far too much!) and fantastic company! This years event was a first as we had a few international club members from the Continent across to join us as well. They were all great company and they all had a great time with us at the event. Limoncello at two in the morning was obviously called for!
What a brand and mould breaker Lamborghini is. They refuse to conform to the norm and as a result they can produce stunning cars in fantastic colours and specs! There is no sea of red in sight and not a turbo in sight either. Just pure unadulterated engines with mind blowing soundtracks! Bring on the tunnels!
Geoff Armstrong – Countach Anniversary & Urraco
I first became aware of Lamborghini as a marque as a youngster, probably in the playground game Top Trumps at school. I bought my first Lamborghini in 2000, a P250 Urraco, as a company car believe it or not! I had always liked the Urraco, it is such a pretty car. I still have it but it is in a state of disrepair at the moment.
Lamborghini’s have always been different, outrageous, bonkers – call it what you will. In terms of Italian exotics Lamborghini are still seen as the young upstart, the underdog in some ways. As a result they are rarer than others, which I also find attractive and often feature unique engineering (scissor doors for example) – we owners call it the ‘dark side’. The reaction from other road users is generally courteous, people let you out of side turnings for example, most appreciate that the car is being used and appreciate it for what it is rather than what it might represent. Not sure if this comment still applies to the newer cars but it certainly does with the older cars.
In terms of owning a classic Lamborghini, things have not been all sweetness and light, it is an old Italian car and suffers all sorts of old car problems. Consequently it has not been the most reliable of cars and has done too many miles on the back of a recovery truck. So you have to be prepared to take quite a lot of rough with the smooth and good breakdown insurance is essential!
I have no plans to part with my Countach, however, there will come a day when I won’t be able to get in or out of it, so it will have to go. When that day comes I’m not sure what I would do, a Countach is irreplaceable.