In for a spot of sword sharpening
THERE AREN'T many car restoration shops in the UK where you can find not one or two or three, but four Lamborghini Espadas in for work. That's how many I counted at Cheshire Classic Cars when I popped up recently to check progress on the car I share with friend and colleague Richard Heseltine.
There were about the same number of Miuras, too; proprietor Iain Tyrrell knows these V12 Lamborghinis intimately and it was his company that restored the famous Italian Job Miura that was our cover car in Octane 143.
Besides being a Lamborghini expert, Iain is a thoroughly nice bloke, so choosing his company to sort a few jobs on our Espada - which is the silver car on the ramp, above; the gold ex-Australian RHD example has just been sold to a customer - was a no-brainer. There's nothing majorly wrong (we hope!) but there are a number of minor defects, including a couple that came to light during our trip to Le Mans Classic in 2014.
Among the most serious faults are the rubbish front dampers. The car would 'porpoise' at speed on a motorway yet, should you hit a pothole, the relevant damper would seize solid and send a most appalling crash through the car's structure. It was so bad that we were afraid it would crack the windscreen.
Then there's the exhaust system.
The centre boxes are genuine Lamborghini and may have been on the car since new - it has covered less than 70,000km since 1970 - so they've started to perforate, while the pipes aft of them have been badly crushed by clumsy jacking. It's amazing the car has been performing as well as it did, considering the restriction in gas flow. We've asked Iain to replace the centre boxes with straight pipes, partly for cost reasons but mainly because we'd like to liberate some more V12 howl - the Espada sounds just a bit too refined.
Structurally, the car is in amazingly good condition.
It's had one repaint, probably in the early '90s, to a very high standard, but there are a couple of rust bubbles on wheelarch lips that need catching now before they get any worse. It appears to be perfect underneath, as the picture, right, of the nearside front inner arch shows, and Iain assures us that it is an extremely good example.
And that is causing us some heartache. Do we keep the car a while longer or sell it now, in the hope of realising a return on what we paid for it two years ago? Both Richard and I are contemplating house moves this year - different houses; we're not that good friends! - and money is tight. On the other hand, we'd really like to do a proper European road trip and live the dream.
Whatever the outcome, it will be a tough decision, because we're both still utterly besotted with this sexy, fabulous, underrated machine.