Archive for Lamborghini

Lamborghini Urraco Engine Out Belt Service

While the Lamborghini Urraco didn’t overwhelm anyone in any way, be it journalists or sales numbers, I think they’re outstanding cars. Its fun to think of cars that were total flops to the general public but mechanics and engineers appreciate beyond reason.

The Urraco is my favorite car. I love the strange Bertone styled body and the crazy blocky seats, deep dish steering wheel and extremely user friendly interior. People compare it to the Ferrari 308GT/4 but I know better! Its just as ugly (or uglier) than the GT/4 but its better engineered with a lightweight unit-body and simple and lightweight McPherson struts on each corner. The Ferrari is a super heavy unit-body welded to a heavy tube frame and has unbelievably heavy and complicated suspension corners. The Ferrari 308 and Urraco both have 14″ wheels but they beautiful Lambo wheels are 1/3 the weight.

There are few jobs worse than removing an engine on a Ferrari 308, you’ve got to pull it up and twist and pitch it to keep from breaking the back window. On the Urraco, you just remove a few bolts and the rear subframe drops out with the engine directly in front of you on its own stand! This isn’t Lamborghini’s invention, I’ve seen this awesome design on Lancia from the late 1950s but Ferrari didn’t incorporate this design until 10 years later on the Testarossa.

I’ve always liked how Lamborghini  designed the layout of the engine and transmissions on their cars. The Miura copied the Mini Cooper where the transmission housing is cast into the side of the engine block to make an ultra compact unit and short unit. The Urraco is like a VW Rabbit where the transmission is off to the side all in an effort to keep the center of gravity low and everything accessible.  The Countach is like nothing else where the transmission is under your elbow as you drive the car and there’s a shaft that runs at an angle back to a differential deep under the front of the engine. Maybe not the best design but super cool! Lamborghini’s are fantastic.

I’m sorry about the dark and lame photos, I can email clearer photos if you request them.

Engine and transmission Lambo Urraco

Lambo Urraco engine on sub-frame

Subframe and engine P250 Urraco

P250 Urraco Engine Subframe

Block style upholstery on a Lambo Urraco

Lamborghini 4 seater, blocky upholstery

Urraco Suspension

Very simple and effective McPherson Strut suspension



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Plastic Parts Made for Ferrari and Lamborghini

There were few replacement parts made for Ferrari and other Italian cars because the production numbers were so minimal and any stock was exhausted long ago. Many of the mechanical components for Ferrari’s are common to most models but the body and trim parts are getting hard to find.

I have taken it upon myself to make some parts. Long ago I made Air Conditioning vents, knobs, and little parts for 330GTC/GTS’s and 365′s. Every 330/365 at our shop is missing the alternator junction block cover and knob so I have re-made these parts. Often, the junction block itself is melted from years of engine bay heat and electrical heat so I make the complete units too.

Awhile ago, I made the thumb screws for Lamborghini air cleaner lids with the FIAMM logo.

Now, I am working on making some shift knobs, interior knobs and trying to make the vent window knob for the 330GTC so let me know if you need any of these parts.

If you need a part made, please let me know. Its easier to make a copy from an original part but I can make a part from a mechanical drawing as well. I am learning the techniques to make the molds, hard point holders and account for the shrinkage of the liquid plastic as it sets up.

Here are some of the parts I am making so far.

Plastic Reproduction Ferrari parts

Ferrari replacement parts, Plastic reproduction

Alternator Junction block Ferrari

Ferrari 330GTC Junction block


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Lamborghini Pride

For some reason we have been working on more Lamborghini’s and I am very impressed with how robust and (relatively) trouble free they seem to be. I can tell a lot about a car by how it exists around the shop, does it start readily, leak oil , run on all cylinders after sitting? Is the battery always dead, sticking clutch, all the things that rear their ugly head from lack of use. With the Lambo’s that are at the shop, they  seem really robust. It seems that Ferrucccio Lamborghini really did make a better sports car after frustration with Ferrari!

Keep in mind that when I refer to Lamborghini, I am talking about the parts that they actually made like the engine, transmission, axle and suspension components. Everything else was made by Bertone or Touring which is subject to lots of criticism! They had much deeper industrial roots which gave them more experience in designing rugged components and wonderful castings. They also hung it out there with super advanced designs for engine and transmission layout. The Miura is amazing with the transmission tucked into the side of the engine block. The Countach is amazing with the transmission under your elbow and a final drive located at the rear axle line so all the mass is in the middle of the car. The Urraco is amazing to have a unit body and transmission off to the side like a VW Rabbit. So smart to keep the center of gravity low and forward. Really advanced.

One of my favorite cars was the yellow P250 Urraco that came in from Italy. I drove the car all over Vermont and shipped it to Florida to be my “rental car” at Amelia Island. It was so practical, like a pickup truck with the best sounding V-8 in existence.

My appreciation grew after we did an engine out belt service and i discovered the simplicity and elegant design of the mechanical units. First off, its not a massive heavy tube chassis with insanely heavy double a-arms and hubs. This car has identical McPherson struts on both axles. Simple, Light, Effective. The wheels are incredibly light too by the way. It has a steering rack like a Porsche 911, the pinion goes into the center of the rack and its tucked into a compartment to keep it out of the weather.

The power plant is mounted to an easily removable sub frame so you don’t have to risk chipping paint or breaking a rear window to extract it from the chassis. The engine and transmission castings are very nice and layout of things like the water pump and distributor are genius and easy to access.

With some cool cam profiles and equal length headers and collectors, this small displacement V-8 sounds like an F-1 engine. This coupled with a light weight body shell and suspension makes this car very agile.

Subframe and engine P250 Urraco

P250 Urraco Engine Subframe

P-250 Urraco Water Pump and Distributor unit

Water pump and distributor drive housing Lambo Urraco P-250


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FIAMM Air Filter Thumb Screws

Nearly all of the Lamborghini V-12′s we have at the shop are missing, have mismatched or mangled thumb screws for the air cleaner top. On the Lamborghini Miura, the screws are right on the top of the engine in a very visible location so I have been looking for replacements to complete this and the Islero and Countach. A few vendors said they had the parts but couldn’t actually produce them and one guy sent me two which were not correct in appearance.

I found one very good original screw and made a mold from it so I could make my own. I’ve made a few parts in plastic but this is my first 2 piece mold which took a few attempts but I am very happy with the results. I am so fussy about how my parts look even though the molds for the original FIAMM parts weren’t clocked correctly! Anyhow, I have a few car sets of these parts that I am looking to sell and can make more to order. The first set I made sold very quickly on eBay.

While I don’t have a close up of them on a car, here is a shot of them on a 400GT Jarama holding on the white air cleaner lid

FIAMM Screws Air Cleaner

Lamborghini Jarama FIAMM Air Cleaner

FIAMM Air Filter Screw

Screws for FIAMM air cleaner


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Lamborghini Periscopica

Its really hard to explain why the early Lamborghini Countach LP400 is called a “Periscopica” or Periscope without standing in front of it. Since there are so few cars in existence and you don’t see them every day, I thought I would show some close up photos on the car  I recently purchased in Italy. Later this month, the it should be here at the shop.

Early Lambo Periscopica

Lamborghini LP400

Look in the center of the roof, see the recessed channel, in the front of that channel is a little piece of glass. When sitting in the drivers seat and looking in the rear view mirror, you look through this little piece of glass to the rear of the car. Visibility is so horrible out of the back of the car so they felt that this was a good solution. For some reason, it was not continued on the later Countach’s

1975 Lamborghini LP400 Countach

Lamborghini LP400 Countach

This photo shows how deep the channel is.

Countach LP400 Headliner

Ceiling shot of the “periscope”

Here is a horrible blurry shot of the headliner and how the glass looks.

Periscopica LP400 Glass

Glass at the front of the Periscope

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Mountain Mille – Day 1

Signs of things to come. Later we found 35˚F temps and 7" of snow

Signs of things to come. Later we found 35˚F temps and 7" of snow

After a drive to Long Island to pick up cars, and Philadelphia to drop off an incredible Velocette Thruxton motorbike, we finally made it to Hot Springs, Virginia and the colossal hotel resort, The Homestead. The hotel is rich with history and while lobby alone is massive, a series of parlor rooms runs its length such that any small group can get away and feel as if they have their own private space. (Gallery after the jump) » Continue reading “Mountain Mille – Day 1″

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A Bull in a China Shop

Or just the opposite, a refined solid brick of a bull in a messy workshop. I think the workshop could do more damage to the Bull than visa-verse.

Our friends at Horseless Carriage asked us to deliver this Lamborghini Gallardo to a remote Vermont location, we are always happy to help Frank and his crew since they are so helpful and generous with us.



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Magnetti Marelli Distributor

This is the reason some of classic Ferraris and Lamborghinis are hard to work on is because they stuff big engines into small cars with small engine compartments. Both Ferrari and Lamborghini use this type of Magnetti Marelli distributor with 4 sets of points stuffed inside.

By the time we disassemble the distributor body and clean it up, replace the points and bearings and clean and adjust the advance mechanism we have about$700 in overhauling the thing. The advance mechanism on 365 GTC/4′s and 400I seem to get rusted up the most of any car we work on because they are right at the rear opening of the hood and lots of water gets dumped onto them allowing the advance pins to seize up. The photo of the distributor cap shows the corrosion in the towers.

4 sets of points in a Ferrari Distributor

4 sets of points in a Ferrari Distributor

Corrosion in Ferrari distributor cap

Corrosion in Ferrari distributor cap

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Lamborghini Miura on Concrete

Lamborghini and Ferrari
Lamborghini Miura
Last summer our driveway was getting bad, stone that was pulverized to where it resembled baking flour. Cars pulling into the place would create a monster of a dust cloud, and the delivery trucks would turn the place into a scene from downtown Baghdad.

We hired a earthmoving crew to “tune up” the driveway by installing some drainage tiles, tubes and blind ditches. They installed a tile over the septic and prepared the area in front of the shop for a concrete apron.

A separate crew came in to lay down the steel reinforcement grid and set the forms. These guys worked so fast that it seemed that the bulk of what they did was wait for the mixer truck!

Once the concrete was cured, the earthmoving crew came in and stripped the top two feet of the driveway and installed ground cloth and covered it with new crushed stone. After leveling the stone they packed it with a primitive vibrational roller that I will show photos of later. The guys and me were so jealous of machine operators, it looked like so much fun.

I do not know how we lived as long as we did without this concrete apron, what a difference it makes. The new crushed stone makes nearly no dust and once it settles after a year of use we are thinking of paving the whole driveway.

I am so irritated that I did not photograph the construction work being done but at least you can enjoy more photos of Ferraris and a Lamborghini

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Lamborghini Miura Transmission

Lamborghini Miura spacings and bearings
Lamborghini Miura spacings and bearings
Nate has finished inspecting the bearings and spacers on the Lamborghini Miura project and has just replaced the synchros to make sure this car drives as new after we finish the engine overhaul.

This trans is similar to a Porsche 911 where you have everything hanging off that intermediate place and easy to get to. Overall, except for some strange details like the shift shaft going through the block on an angle and the common oil sump, this is a very well thought out power plant

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