2018 Lamborghini Centenario LP770-4 Roadster

RM Sotheby’s

Over the course of its 60-year history, Lamborghini has surely emerged as Italy’s most uncompromising and idiosyncratic vehicle manufacturer. Characterised from the outset by an unwillingness to follow convention—as evidenced by designs as ground-breaking and diverse as the 350 GT, Miura, Espada, Countach, and Diablo, not to mention the outrageous all-terrain LM002—the fabled cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese evoke one constant: always expect the unexpected.

Remarkably, Ferruccio Lamborghini operated as sole proprietor of Automobili Lamborghini for only nine years, remaining on its payroll for a further two until his departure in 1974. Yet half a century later, the company bearing his name still remains deeply imbued with his spirit and ambition. His name is as integral to the company’s story as Enzo Ferrari or Ferdinand Porsche were to their own respective organisations.

Lamborghini’s acquisition by Audi AG in 1998 heralded a period of much-needed investment and financial stability for the company, as well as a renewed appreciation of its history and past engineering triumphs. Such a philosophical shift, allied to the impending centenary of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth in 2016, further to a desire to showcase the company’s engineering expertise, yielded arguably the most extreme Lamborghini yet: the Centenario. Just 40 examples would be constructed; 20 in coupé form and 20 roadsters, with each offered for sale solely by invitation.

Unveiled as a hard-top coupé at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2016, the Centenario retained the carbon fibre monocoque and sub-frames of the Aventador. The 6.5-litre V-12 engine was also employed, albeit further developed to produce some 770 PS at 8,500 rpm, an increase of 20 over the hitherto flagship Aventador SV variant. Such prodigious power was transmitted via a paddleshift-actuated seven-speed “ISR” gearbox and electronically controlled four-wheel drive system. The former’s novel gear pre-engagement mechanism and carbon fibre synchro rings facilitated gearshifts in just 50 milliseconds. However, despite the car’s 350 km/h top speed and sub-three second 0 to 100 km/h capability, due attention was also paid to practicality, with three distinct driving modes of Strada, Sport, or Corsa available to the driver.

While the Centenario’s design borrowed heavily from the Aventador, it broke entirely new ground for Lamborghini in other areas, including aerodynamics and steering. The supercar’s aggressive all-carbon fibre bodywork was supplemented by a twin-plane front splitter, which simultaneously generated downforce and channelled airflow along the side of the car via discreet sill-mounted winglets. Conversely, a racing-style diffuser and an active rear wing operated in tandem to improve rear-end stability and downforce.

However, it was perhaps in its geometry that the Centenario deviated most significantly from previous Sant’Agata practice, for it became the first Lamborghini ever to be fitted with rear-wheel steering. The system effectively lengthened or shortened the wheelbase by as much as 1,200 millimetres, depending on any given situation, thereby improving manoeuvrability during urban driving and further increasing stability at high speed. Finally, the Centenario also set new standards for the marque in terms of its cockpit functionality and connectivity. A centre console-mounted 25 centimetre portrait screen not only operated as a conventional navigation and entertainment interface, but also offered telemetry, data-logging and lap timing facilities.

First supplied by Lamborghini Frankfurt on 31 March 2018, this particular chassis has remained with its first owner ever since. Remarkably, during this time the car has covered just 71 kilometres. Its immaculate condition is testament to the sympathetic storage environment in which it has resided in. Supplemented by its factory manuals, original equipment tyre pump, and centre-lock wheel socket, this represents an unblemished example of arguably the most extreme and advanced Lamborghini ever produced; one of which Ferruccio Lamborghini himself would surely approve.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.