I’m sure when you talk to someone about Lamborghini these days they will get visions of the Gallardo, which has been in production for ten years by now and it will be replaced by a brand new V10 model in 2014 according to popular believe … but I think many won’t even recognize this bright orange Lamborghini here.
Take a closer look at this 1974 Lamborghini Urraco … that’s right, this is a real Lamborghini with a V8 engine mounted transversely in the rear, above the wheels … meet the Gallardo’s ancestor, the first attempt from Automobili Lamborghini SpA to create an entry level model to attract more customers and boost production numbers along the way.
The original Lamborghini Urraco P250 was in fact a 2+2, two door, 2.5 liter V8 powered Raging Bull, later succeeded by the Urraco P300 with an enlarged 3-Liter V8 engine with chain driven camshafts that increased reliability a lot … still sales for the ‘Baby Lamborghini’ didn’t reach the expected levels, during a five year production run less than 200 units were sold.
In 1976 Automobili Lamborghini SpA created another attempt to increase sales on their V8 range with the stupendously beautiful Silhouette P300, the first official Lamborghini production model with a removable roof section … the Silhouette had a roof panel above the two seats (it became a strict 2 seater, no more small back seats like the Urraco had) that could be stored behind the seats to enjoy open top motoring … only major problem: the Silhouette couldn’t be officially exported to the United States … in the end a mere 52 Silhouette were ever built, and not too many still exist today.
It took Lamborghini a few more years for a final attempt at this market segment, the 1981 Jalpa P350 was an evolution from the Silhouette, still based on the Urraco chassis the Silhouette roof panel remained but the engine was enlarged to 3.5-Liter now … the Jalpa remained in production until 1988 and managed to sell about 410 units, so finally a moderate success for the entry-level Lamborghini.
Back to the Urraco P250, with the belt driven camshafts this V8 Lamborghini didn’t get the best reputation out there, but still with the correct maintenance this is a real Lamborghini that can be enjoyed for many years … or you can turn it into something really special: a replica of the Urraco Rally made by Bob Wallace back in 1973 … and that is exactly what the owner of this 1974 Lamborghini Urraco did.
Note the original Urraco Rally was in fact based on a pre-production model which can be recognized by the fact the pop up headlights are positioned further backward compared to the actual production Urraco, but other than that this recreation located in the United Kingdom looks very nice, and the ad for this car (it was for sale at GBP 39,995 in 2011) even mentioned the entire project had a lot of input from Bob Wallace himself as a consultant.
This specific car started life as a 1974 Lamborghini Urraco P250 but went through a complete ground up restoration and was made to look like the one and only Urraco Rally from the same era. Once the original car was stripped to the bare chassis, Chesterton Coachworks modified the narrow body by completely removing the bumpers, filling the holes left by them, adding massive wheel arch extensions at the rear and a deep front spoiler.
Also note the original pop up headlights look riveted now, so I think they no longer operate and have been replaced with those two large rectangular units found in the front section, next to the turn signal indicators … pop up headlights do ruin the air flow and create additional drag .. so this isn’t such a bad idea.
But they didn’t stop just yet, the front hood, rear luggage cover and ‘slotted’ engine cover were replaced with quick release, glassfibre units to reduce weight, also the side windows have been replaced by plastic panels featuring a sliding section just like a race car. Inside the race style continues with bucket seats similar to units used back in the Seventies, a complete roll cage has been mounted in the Spartan interior, the dashboard received special switches and there is even a fuel cut off switch next to the hand brake for the race specs fuel tank … the latter use a kind of foam inside the tank for safety during a crash.
Further security measures include a fire extinguisher integrated in the engine bay in case those exposed air funnels on the four double carburetors of the Jalpa sourced 3.5-Liter V8 engine behave badly. I know the original Urraco Rally used a mesh over these intakes to avoid debris from entering the carbs, so I really don’t think this recreation will be driven without any protection over those eight intakes, normally an air filter is mounted, but for increased air volume intake I would mount a nice chromed mesh over them, I’m sure Colin Clarke Engineering, the people who did the rebuild on this V8 supplied a solution for this.
If you take a look at the rear of this very special V8 Lamborghini you will notice the impressive exhaust system that has been mounted, it might not look exactly like the one used by Bob Wallace back in the early Seventies, but judging from the looks of it I think the soundtrack will be amazing.
Bob Wallace mounted center lock Campagnolo wheels on his Urraco Rally in 1973, but aside from being next to impossible to find I guess they wouldn’t be street legal either, so on this recreation the choice was made to mount these beautiful Silhouette wheels, at least they look like them. This isn’t mentioned in the ad but if these are actual 8×15 and 11×15 inch Campagnolo cast magnesium wheels from the Silhouette … they are very hard to find today, and extremely expensive.
There is another option however, still expensive but a little less difficult to locate … the Countach wheels, from the early LP400S model, Lamborghini also installed Campagnolo cast magnesium wheels in this design, but in 8.5×15 and 12×15 inch size … and as more of these have been produced than the SIlhouette size they are a little less expensive … anyway they look absolutely amazing on this orange Urraco.
In 2011 this car was completed and offered for sale by Legends Automotive Ltd in the United Kingdom for a list price of GBP 39,995 … today it is marked ‘sold’, so someone out there is now the proud owner of one of the most impressive Lamborghini Urraco V8 models ever made that looks like a modern day Bob Wallace recreation, which just in case you are wondering didn’t have the large rear wing installed initially either.
UPDATE : I found a video showing this very special Urraco … which is located in Japan at this moment, March 2013.