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A Hooniverse Thanksgiving Turkey – Lamborghini Urraco

lamborghini_urraco_p300_us-spec_5

When the upper middle management at Hooniverse asked for turkeys, I immediately thought of the Lamborghini Urraco. Why? Because of the 2005 Top Gear UK challenge of 10,000 pound Italian supercars (which I have embedded at the end of this post). James May chose a black Urraco in the episode and delivered my favorite line ever: Philistines! 

To be fair, a neglected 30 year old Italian car is going to have problems. So I dug up a September 1975 review of a new Urraco, originally published in Motor magazine. What’s the verdict? Make the jump to find out.

MO13_r234_03

First, let’s go over the vital stats. The P300 is the most powerful of the Urraco variants, with a 2997cc mid-mounted V8. It has a top speed of 158 mph, does 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds, and the quarter mile in 15.6 seconds at 94 mph.

The car was designed by Gandini while he was working for Bertone. It was meant to be an affordable supercar, with its competitors being the Maserati Merak and Ferrari Dino. At 10,545 pounds, it cost more than the Alfa Romeo Montreal (6,299), the DeTomaso Pantera (8,026), Ferrari Dino 308 (9,217), and the Porsche Carrera (9,996).

And to be fair and balanced, this is what Motor magazine liked about the Urraco:

  • Docile in town, refined at 150 mph.
  • Best Lamborghini ever (this is before they tested the Countach).
  • Anti-social exhaust note.
  • Respectable 13.6 mpg in mixed driving.
  • Great brakes.

And this is what Motor magazine found to be lacking in the new Urraco:

lamborghini_urraco_p300_us-spec_4

Ergonomics/Comfort:

  • Tach and speedometer placed at opposite ends of the dash, beyond one’s peripheral vision.
  • Gas and brake pedals so close, impossible not to step on both simultaneously.
  • Back seat so lacking in leg- and headroom, reviewer suggests rear passenger sit sideways.
  • If steering wheel is right distance, legs get cramped. If legs are comfortable, steering wheel is too far away.
  • Static seatbelt cuts across neck.
  • Rear view would be better if engine bay slats were edge-on with driver’s line of vision.
  • Impossible to point air/AC vents directly in face, which is an issue as slanted front windshield produces greenhouse effect.

Quality:

  • When the speedometer shows the car traveling at 100 mph, it is actually going 90.
  • Handbrake does not hold the car even on slightest slope.
  • Dim headlights.
  • “The Incident”: Bracket holding rear driver’s side strut failed, “the possible consequences of which don’t need elaborating”.

Handling:

  • Poor steering response.
  • Understeers too much.
  • Nose hops if it hits bumps mid-corner.

Miscellaneous:

  • The review described the car as having a soft clutch, and four paragraphs later, a heavy clutch.
  • The gearbox whines when cold.
  • Contents in trunk heat up as exhaust pipes are right below.
  • Car comes with speakers and antenna, but no radio.

lamborghini_urraco_p300_us-spec_6

What a turkey, amirite?

Here, for your Thanksgiving holiday enjoyment, is the Top Gear challenge.

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Images source: RM Auctions.

Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Van_Sarockin says:

    I'll have seconds of this turkey! Basically, it was an attractively priced high end Italian sports car of the time, and a bit better than many. All the gripes were endemic to them all. No one expected their Ferrari to just start up and run whenever they jumped in and turned the key. They all have service requirements more similar to helicopters than other cars. Shoddy construction and parts fall off? Just a charming aspect of the handmade Italian rarity. Understeers? Quite an accomplishment for a midengined car, and probably saved the lives of a bunch of drivers. Trunk heats up. Really?

  2. dukeisduke says:

    The instrument panel design and pedal layout are just flat stupid. The steering wheel and pedal relationship are just typical Italian for the period.

    • Van_Sarockin says:

      The whole dash is a clusterfuck. I've seen better results in 1950's basement bars made by illiterates using a Popular Mechanics as their guide. But it's about par for the course for workmanship for Italian exotics of that era. It's not like the cabin of the F40 is a paragon of quality materials, or fit and finish.

  3. Rover1 says:

    But the temperature and oil pressure gauges are right in front of you, together with the warning lights. Won't you need those more often than the speedo and revcounter?

  4. Needno Bardahli says:

    The whole steering wheel/ pedal interface issue has to do with the typical Italian male physique. All Italian drivers have short legs and long arms (knuckle draggers), hence the ergonomically challenged driving position. As for the pedals being too close together, they wear very tight fitting Gucci loafers. I was informed of these facts long ago by the president of the local Alfa Romeo club. God's truth !

  5. Le Bishop says:

    Trouble with all those instruments was, they were as unreliable as the engine itself. When they read, "ok" , the engine was cooking & when they were in the red, the engine was generally fine…… again those classic Italian electrics.
    I had 2 Alfa Romeos, both died spectacularly – one went up in flames & the other mashed 24 valves into the pistons when its cambelt failed 30000km before the cambelt service…. and I'd buy another – what a sucker!

  6. e46christopher says:

    I love the Top Gear Tip. "Yes, yes you can buy a supercar for less than £10,000, but, for the love of God … don't"

  7. 944tim says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv-KNI6iG54
    the Mike guy is annoying, but this is otherwise interesting

  8. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq says:

    Oh Pounds not pounds

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