Ask anyone to name an exotic Italian sports car, and its odds on they will say 'Lamborghini', why this particular make comes to mind first I couldn't say, perhaps its because of the exotic and maybe erotic way the name trips off the tongue phonetically "Lam-bore-geeni".
Most drivers have at some time or another lusted after a particular make and model of vehicle, their 'dream car'. Its strange that the word 'lusted' is only used in one other situation, and that involves what we term as the "fair sex", and I wonder if that is because we can have love for a car and a woman, and both can be temperamental, drive us to distraction and break our hearts.
I bought my 'dream car' back in 1979, it was a Right Hand Drive, 1972 Lamborghini Espada, white with blue leather upholstery. Over ten years production only 1115 Espada's were built, and of those only 115 were right hand drive.
The power unit was a 4 litre V12, fitted with six twin choke Webber carburettors', and a five speed manual gearbox. It produced 350 bhp at 7,500 rpm and had a top speed of 155 mph. Over 15 feet long, 6 feet wide, and under 4 feet high.
The car would seat four in comfort with enough headroom for even a tall driver. However one of the problems of the car sitting so low on the road, is that even the headlights of a mini shone directly into the drivers eyes.Starting the engine was like a ritual, turning on the ignition brought the electric fuel pump into play, making a noise like a machine gun, it appeared to run for ages filling up the six carbs, then one had to pull out the manual choke, experience having taught you just how far to do this, three pumps on the accelerator , make sure the car is in neutral, depress the clutch so as to remove the need for the starter to cope with turning over the gearbox too, and turn the key to 'start'. The amount of drain on the battery in just turning the car over meant that not
a lot was left for the essential ignition spark, and it wasn't unusual to not be able to get the car to start. Only the fitting of an electronic ignition kit got around this problem.One would think that for the cost of these exotic cars, that everything was taken into consideration, but not so, one of the most annoying things was, when one needed to demist the windscreen, the only part that stayed misted over, was directly over the instrument cover, and exactly where one would want to look through the screen.
At one point I joined the 'Lamborghini Owners Club', but a bigger crowd of 'hooray Henry's' you'd have difficulty in finding, and the club magazine was full of them, bragging about the trips they had made, the number of times their car broke down, and how much they had to spend to get it going again, as though the member that either broke down the most frequent or spent the most on repairs would win the prize for that month.
Many parts could be cheaply sourced, I priced a clutch plate from the importers and was quoted (in the 80's) £200. The service manager of the local Ford dealer was a friend of mine, and suggested I bring the old plate in for him to see. I did so, and he identified it as the same plate as fitted to Landrovers –cost £25 !!
The one thing I liked about the car was that it was a 'looker', it didn't matter what was on the road either in front or behind, whether a Roller or a Ferrari , the Lambo was the car that everyone stared at.
The last time my dream car was on the road was in 1989, since then she has been sat in my garage having not turned a wheel for over twenty years, I would fire it up once a month, then when it ran out of fuel, I'd just turn it over for a couple of minutes every month until the battery ran down. The oil in the engine is as clean as the day it was put in. After all this time it needs an enthusiast to lovingly restore it.
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One would have thought that being only one of 115 RHD models made, and after forty years how many of those are left, that it would be worth a tidy sum even in the current world financial situation, but whilst the name Lamborghini is the name that comes to most peoples minds, they do not seem to be the most collectable, and thereby do not appreciate as much.
Had I bought a Ferrari back in 1979, irrespective of the model, I could be looking at it being worth in excess of £250,000, even if the Lambo was in almost showroom condition I'd be lucky to get somewhere around 15% of the value of a similar aged Ferrari.
But I didn't buy it to make money, I bought it because at the time it was my dream car, I enjoyed driving
it despite all its short comings, and even today some forty years after the first model rolled off the production line, the body styling is still ahead of its time.
The car is for sale, and at a price that if restored by an enthusiast themselves, rather than giving to someone else to carry out the work required, a good profit could be made, if that's what they were looking for. I could 'break' the car and would make far more from selling parts, than the car as a whole, but me and the old girl have been together for over thirty years, and I couldn't do that to her. So if you want a RHD Italian Supercar, that the number left in the world could now be only a few handfuls – give Phil a call at 'The Trader' and he'll put you in touch with me.