The Lamborghini Murcielago Was Introduced 20 Years Ago
Some might state Lamborghini was one of the founders of the ‘supercar’ term when they created the sensual Miura back in the Sixties, in the mid-Seventies the production version of the Lamborghini Countach would be available to customers, the car that introduced ‘Lamborghini scissor doors’ to the world, inspired by the Carabo, these doors would become a trademark for the flagship models being built at Sant’Agata.
The Lamborghini Countach remained in production for 15 years, until the Diablo took over in 1990, now 31 years ago, Marcello Gandini designed the prototype for the Lamborghini Diablo, but in the middle of the development Lamborghini was bought by Chrysler, and they changed the design considerably into what became the P132, while the original Gandini design would be resurrected as the Cizeta Moroder V16.
11 years later, on September 8, 2001 … the Lamborghini Murciélago is unveiled during an event at the factory in Sant’Agata, the Murciélago name was again taken from bullfighting, the official press release stated: “In the late afternoon of October 5th 1879, after a fierce fight in the arena of Cordoba, a bull named Murciélago from Joaquin del Val di Navarra’s farm, had his life spared by the famous matador Rafael Molina Lagartijo.”.
2001 – Murciélago
The Lamborghini Murciélago would go into history as the first car released under Audi AG ownership, designed by Belgian Luc Donckerwolcke, it would also be the last Lamborghini to use a V12 derived from the original 1960’s Bizzarrini design, enlarged to 6.2 liters, the Murciélago offered 580hp initially.
The original Lamborghini Murciélago would remain in production for five years, until 2006, do note that RHD versions were only available from 2002 on, while during the 2003 IAA in Frankfurt they unveiled the optional e-Gear transmission, during an interview Stephan Winkelmann stated only 5% of the Murciélago production after 2003 would come with the manual gearbox, making these very rare today.
In total between 1,600 and 1,700 Murciélago 6.2 coupe were built between 2001 and 2006, sources state 1,788, which is total production in numbers, but the LP640 was already being built in late 2006, so not all of the 323 coupes built during 2006 were pre-LP models.
2003 – Murciélago R-GT
Not only did Lamborghini show the e-Gear transmission at the 2003 IAA in Frankfurt, but they also unveiled the very impressive Murciélago R-GT, the race version of their V12 flagship, developed by Automobili Lamborghini SpA, with the help of Audi Sports Division and well-known, German-based Reiter Engineering, the Murciélago R-GT was built to FIA and ALMS specifications.
Due to those regulations, the Murciélago R-GT became rear-wheel drive (the normal Murciélago was a VT, as would all V12 models from Lamborghini would be from 2001 on) and a six-speed sequential gearbox was fitted. The R-GT would be entered in the FIA 1,100kg class while customers could buy one of these racecars for less than €500,000 … in the end, less than 15 of these Murciélago R-GT would be built.
2003 – Murciélago 40th Anniversary
We all know Automobili Lamborghini SpA was founded back in 1963, so we had the 25th Anniversary Countach in 1988 and the Diablo SE30 in 1993, so in 2003 they just had to create a new celebration model, and this would become the Murciélago 40th Anniversary edition, a limited production model, all numbered run of only 50 units, all finished in the stunning Verde Artemis.
Back in 2003 these special editions Murciélago were listed at a €15,000 premium, or €193,000 (US MSRP $300,200) before taxes, but it does come with a special, personalized certificate and an exclusive, signed, carbon fiber suitcase in the luggage compartment.
2004 – Murciélago Roadster
Lamborghini already showed a Barchetta Concept for a convertible Murciélago at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show but it would take several months, until the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, before the Murciélago Roadster was introduced, and it looked really close to the concept in the end.
The engine cover on the Murciélago Roadster was redesigned and became hinged at the rear, very innovative on a Lamborghini, and while it did come with a removable, canvas roof, the Roadster was really meant to be driven topless … after some practice, fitting the canvas roof was still not easy, and Lamborghini advised not to drive over 160 Km/h with the roof in place, while the top speed was set around 320 Km/h.
A nice detail is the driver’s seat on the Murciélago Roadster offers perforated leather, while the passenger gets smooth leather, you could even specify a different shade for both seats, making the Roadster a real ‘driver’ oriented car, in the two years of production (2004 – 2006) about 400 Murciélago Roadster were built, during 2005 they made 234 Roadster against 230 Coupe!
2006 – Murciélago LP640
Five years into the Murciélago production, the first update was unveiled, at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show, a stunning Grigio Telesto Murciélago LP640 was shown, complete with Q-Citura interior in Alcantara. The LP stood for Longitudinale Posteriore while 640 was the number of horsepower for this evolution of the V12 flagship model.
The Murciélago LP640 distinguished herself from the earlier model with a new front bumper, new rear bumper, new side sills, new wheels, and a glass engine cover showing the gold-finished manifolds on the increased displacement V12, now 6.5 liters, that emits a thundering sound through a new, central mounted, massive exhaust tip.
A new option on the LP640 version were carbon-ceramic brakes behind newly designed, Hermera wheels, and sport seats for the interior, while the standard seats were now a little wider than the original Murciélago seats, complete with new headrests.
On the Murciélago LP640 Lamborghini offered ‘Privilegio’, which would later become known as Ad Personam, a program that allowed customers to request options not listed on the normal sheet, but that would increase the base MSRP considerably, in 2006 the LP640 was listed at €215,000 (US MSRP $ 313,600) … between 2006 and 2010 about 1,400 Murciélago LP640 Coupe would be built.
2006 – Murciélago LP640 Roadster
This time it didn’t take Lamborghini long to reveal the convertible version of their flagship, in December 2006 the beautiful Murciélago LP640 Roadster was introduced, with the same stunning looks and performance of the Coupe, this new Roadster offered open-top motoring at it’s best.
The Murciélago LP640 Roadster came with an MSRP of $345,000, while at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, a stunning option was shown … a glass engine cover for the Roadster, something that was previously only possible on the Coupe version … only around 500 Murciélago LP640 Roadster would leave the factory gates in Sant’Agata between 2006 and 2010.
2009 – Murciélago LP670-4 Superveloce
Probably the most sought after Murciélago ever would be one of the only 186 Superveloce editions, and even better, a manual gearbox SV, as most of these were e-Gear equipped. At the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini unveiled the ultimate Murciélago, the LP670-4 Superveloce, as a limited production model, each one individually numbered with a plaque between the seats, as xxx of 350, as they intended to build a total of 350 SV’s … in the end, only 186 would be completed as many customers were waiting for the Aventador to be unveiled in 2011.
There were a few options on the Murciélago LP670-4 Superveloce, for instance, you could specify a small SV script on the door, or a much larger SV script on the rear fender above the rear wheel, similar to this the Superveloce came standard with a low ‘ducktail’ rear wing, optionally a large, carbon fiber rear wing was possible, most of the SV’s would be ordered with the larger wing to complement the much more aggressively styled front bumper.
On the inside Lamborghini fitted stunning sport seats in Alcantara and inner door panels made completely from clear carbon fiber, apart from a small bolster featuring a stunning SV script, that was also put on the headrests, an Alcantara/carbon fiber steering wheel completed the race-inspired interior of the Murciélago Superveloce, which came with an MSRP of $450,000.
At the 2010 Beijing Auto Show Automobili Lamborghini came up with a total surprise: the Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce China Limited Edition, finished in Grigio Telesto with an orange stripe from front to rear, only 10 of these China Edition SV’s would be built.
2009 – Murciélago LP650-4 Roadster
Only 50 units of this final edition Murciélago Roadster would be built in 2009 and 2010, the Murciélago LP650-4 Roadster would take the 650 hp engine from the Reventón and combine this with a Grigio Telesto bodywork accented with Arancio details. On the inside, a bespoke grey and orange upholstery would complete the custom look of this special edition.
2010 – Murciélago R-SV
Before Lamborghini had their Squadra Corse department, German-based Reiter Engineering GmbH built Lamborghini race cars, like the Gallardo GT3, Gallardo Super Trofeo, and the earlier listed Murciélago R-GT … for the 2010 FIA GT1 season, Reiter came up with their latest GT1, the Murciélago R-SV, based on the road-going LP670-4 Superveloce, this track Bull could be yours for less than €500,000 back in 2010 … less than 10 would be built in the end.
Reventón – Reventón Roadster
Today we are almost used to the fact Lamborghini puts a special body on top of the Aventador and creates a very expensive, limited edition version … but that all started back during the production of the Murciélago … with the 2007 Lamborghini Reventón and the 2009 Reventón Roadster, only 20 Reventón were available in 2007, and all were sold by the time the matt grey car was shown at the IAA in Frankfurt, the Roadster version is even rarer with 15 or fewer units.
Production reached 4,099 units
On November 5, 2010, Automobili Lamborghini SpA published a press release stating the last Lamborghini Murciélago was completed on the assembly line in Sant’Agata on May 11, 2010, nr 4,099 was an Arancio Atlas LP670-4 Superveloce edition destined for a customer in Switzerland, at that time the Murciélago became to highest production numbers Lamborghini since 1963.