The recent Lamborghini Gallardo wasn’t the first ‘entry level’ Lamborghini made at Sant’Agata, in the early Seventies the late Ferruccio Lamborghini already decided it was time to add a smaller model to the line-up that until then only consisted of V12 engine cars, it was time to add a V8 powered model to be able to compete on the same level as the Dino 246 or the successful Porsche 911, so preliminary work began on a model that would become the Urraco.
On the November 1970 Turin Auto Show the first pre-production Urraco designed by none other than Marcello Gandini, was on display both on the Lamborghini stand and on the Bertone stand. Unfortunately the Urraco prototype was far from finished, and another two years were required before the first customer car could be delivered.
The original Urraco P250 used an engine cover similar to the legendary Miura, with louvers to cool the engine, note however that a handful of Urraco were delivered with an engine cover similar to the one used on the later Silhouette model, probably to comply with local regulations.
Similar to the Miura, the V8 engine was mid-mounted, but that’s where the comparison ended. The Miura was a full blooded exotic supercar, nearly a street legal race car, the Urraco on the other hand was not as impressive, it was merely a nice touring car with impressive road manners thanks to an all-independent McPherson suspension that was perfected by Bob Wallace.
The Urraco was a good looking car, with a steep windshield, a sharp front with pop-up headlights, large, wide opening doors, all in all a well-balanced car which drove like a kart actually, the deep steering wheel took a little getting used to, but once you got to know the car you would acknowledge it as a true Raging Bull.
But the Urraco was born into some troublesome times for Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini SpA, the entire future of the company didn’t look as sunny as before, and because it took over 24 months before the first Urraco was available, several people cancelled their order, a serious blow to the already unstable financial state at that time.
The very first Lamborghini Urraco delivered were really not up to the specs Ferruccio intended for his GT’s, workmanship left much to be desired, interior ergonomics were not on the top of the list apparently, the driving position could have been better and only dead ahead would you have great vision in this first baby Lamborghini, although this latter was true for most exotic cars of that era.
However, things were shaping up, during October 1972 an improved Urraco S was introduced, using a full leather upholstery, powered windows that were now also tinted and optional metallic paint was available while the engine received new Weber 40 DCNF carburetors for cars with no emission control.
All these modifications made the Urraco S a lot more reliable than the early models, however the belt drive used on the V8 engine was still a point to take into account when owning the P250.
Final evolution of the Urraco was a Tipo III, in fact nothing else than the US legal version of the Urraco, featuring large black bumpers, different taillights and a down-rated engine with only 180 Bhp instead of the earlier 220 bhp, adding another 200 kg in antipollution equipment. It didn’t take a genius to understand the Tipo III was seriously under powered, and subsequently did not sell too well, causing the original 2.5-Liter Urraco to end its career rather soon, only 520 units were made, but this didn’t mean the end of the Urraco series.
Lamborghini Urraco P111
The Lamborghini Urraco P111 was a limited production variant of the P250 produced specifically for the US market. These P111 cars were nearly identical to European spec P250s, but with a few mandated exterior and powertrain differences. The exterior was fitted with large black bumpers as well as larger, more angular front and rear signal lights. The Lamborghini 2.5L V8 engine was fitted with Solex carburetors that dropped power output from 220 hp to 180 hp. While less powerful than its European siblings, the P111 maintains high desirability due to its limited production numbers. Just 21 Urraco P111s were ever built.