Raging Bullshit

When you are three years old and you like cars, someone is going to try to get you to say “Ferrari.” They think it’s funny. They think it’s adorable to hear you mangling the Italian equivalent of Smith. Nowadays, they’ll even film it and put it onto YouTube because that’s what loving family members do: they humiliate you and then make your humiliation just as public as it can possibly be.

Those same people would look at the picture above and think “What sort of Ferrari is that?” If it looks exotic and it makes a silly, loud noise and they can’t pronounce the name on the badge then it’s a Ferrari. You and I know that they’re just about as wrong as they can be without calling it a Vespa. This is the new Lamborghini Huracan, the successor to my favourite not-a-Ferrari-at-all-even-slightly, the Gallardo. There is a selection of numbers and letters after the name. LP stands for longitudinale posteriore (the engine is mounted in-line, behind the driver) and not lumbar puncture which is what the seat might do to you when you drop the hammer on this thing. 610 refers to the power output of the new V10 engine in PS and 4 to the number of driven wheels.

It is quite gorgeous, though. I thought that the Gallardo was almost the archetypal supercar, a cleanly-styled wedge of wonder. The Huracan has taken the Gallardo’s themes and played with them. The designers have increased the level of aggression. It’s almost as if they’ve left it to be smoothed off in a river of testosterone and grappa. It’s a more sophisticated shape then the Gallardo and quite, quite different from the clean-edged prettiness of the Ferrari 458. It’s still a wedge and it still has the huge vents in the nose and quad drainpipes for exhausts out the back but the wedge has been reworked and honed more than Peter Stevens reworked Giugiaro’s Esprit back in the day.

The new 5.2l V1o is quite a piece of kit. It’s more powerful than the old one, more economical and has a stop-and-go thingie just like my Venga’s. A small, chubby MPV deserves one of those stop and start functions. If the Huracan were mine, I’d permanently disable the stop=and-go doobrie and sit and rev it until the tank went dry. I’m so mature. The engine does some technical things with its direct fuel injection system which sound brilliant in Italian and incomprehensible in English but they aid the fuel economy. Even Lamborghini has to be seen to be sensible from time to time. The engine drives all four wheels through a new, seven-speed, dual clutch gearbox which they call Lamborghini Doppia Frizione. Calling it LDF is a missed opportunity to sing a little opera with music by Verdi not Wagner even though some of you might think that a seven-speed DCT sounds a lot like the one in the new Audi R8. It has carbon brakes as standard and you can have magneto-rheological dampers and variable ratio steering. The dampers will be epic in Italian but I’m not sure about the steering. You have a switch on the steering wheel which isn’t in any way like Ferrari’s manettino. No, signore. It’s marked Strada, Sport and Corsa for Road, ummm, Sport and Track and you will be able to use it to change the traction control, gearbox, steering and damper settings. So, nothing like the manettino in a Ferrari, then.

Lamborghinis really aren’t like Ferraris though. Ferraris are all about speed and heritage and motorsport and selling as many cuddly toys and red cagoules as they possibly can. Lamborghinis are of course about speed but they’re also about drama and shoutiness and being three years old and thinking that this is the single most wonderful thing you’ve ever seen. You can probably buy key fobs and little cuddly bulls from Lamborghini dealerships but I get the feeling that they’re not terribly important. Big lumps of raw beef seem more Lamborghini anyway.

So, the Lamborghini Huracan, for your inner, raw meat eating, three year old. With lots and lots of money.

Spaced Oddities

I had a rare sighting today. I saw a Bristol 603. In gold. It was one of those scruffy old classics you see doing service day after day. This one was on the Parkway heading out of Sheffield in the middle of the rush hour traffic. It had steel wheels like an old XJ and one of the exhaust tail pipes was loose, rattling gently with the throb of its Chrysler V8 engine. I caught sight of it in my driver’s door mirror as moved to overtake me as soon as it joined the carriageway. In the time it took to move out of the blindspot and past me, my thought process went like this: “Ooh, Bristol. No, can’t be. You just don’t see Bristols in Sheffield. Wait, it is a Bristol.” I liked it. I liked its down-at-heel demeanour. It was like one of those scruffy, well-spoken old men you sometimes see hanging round the bookies giving out dodgy tips while smelling gently of whisky and sadness. It woofled and burbled and lurched gently changing lanes before its driver got fed up queuing with the rest of the traffic for the roundabout to get onto the M1. He took off up the inside of the line of cars waiting to go southbound. That old Bristol showed an admirable turn of speed.

As if that small pleasure wasn’t enough, while the Bristol was ahead of me in the queue, I was followed by a Holden Maloo. You don’t see many of them in Britain. I’ve only seen one other. That one was parked up in the Sainsbury’s car park in Coldham’s Lane in Cambridge, of all places. Today’s blue example was in motion and I had to wind the window down to listen the small block brumble as it cruised past me a few minutes after we both left the M1 and joined the M18. For all their alleged practicality, the Maloo only really makes sense in motion. It’s the NASCAR-lite soundtrack that does it for me. I’m not at all sure about that practicality. The Maloo has those two seats and some stowage space behind them as well as that covered cargo bed. The cargo bed seems so big that things will rattle round in there quite horribly unless they are tied down. Or wedged in with crates of XXXX.

Cars like the Bristol and Maloo really brighten your day. I’m surely not the only person thinks that. One word of advice though: don’t do what I did a few years ago. I ran off towards a Lamborghini Diablo when I heard it starting up in the car park next to Richmond station. True, you don’t get to hear that very often but telling your girlfriend that when you’re supposed to be taking her out for a romantic birthday treat doesn’t always go down well. Not everyone is like us. Remember that.

There’s Always One

The journalist Misha Glenny wrote a very good book on organised crime called McMafia. In it he shows that south east Europe is a major conduit for smuggling goods and people into the major retail markets Europe. It’s been a hotspot of all sorts of skulduggery for centuries and now some Croatians have blown Lamborghini’s carefully planned launch schedule for their new supercar.

The replacement for the replacement for the replacement for the replacement for the original supercar.

It’s called the Aventador. Probably. It has a 700bhp engine. Almost certainly. It’s an all-new V12 and not another evolution of the engine that’s been powering Larmborghini supercars since the Miura. Lamborghini’s pre-launch strategy for the car has included interviews with the engineers working on the all-carbon chassis so we knew about that already. They have also released photographs of the shell and running gear.

All their careful work was ruined by the piratical people at Evo Magazine Croatia who just couldn’t help themselves from breaking Lamborghini’s pre-Geneva embargo. I can only guess that they’re not going to be welcome at Sant’Agata any time soon.