Lamborghini Concept S

Until recently, the Gallardo was Lamborghini’s most successful model series ever. In the meantime the successor model Huracán has surpassed the production figures and the new SUV Urus is also proving to be a very successful model. But let’s stop at the Gallardo for a moment. In 2003, this new entry-level sports car with a naturally aspirated V10 engine made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Initially, it was only available as a Coupé with 500 hp from five liters displacement and permanent all-wheel drive. Two years later, chief designer Luc Donckerwolke put the Concept S, a radically open vehicle, into the limelight at the same location. It was intended to announce the upcoming Spyder version and at the same time should take both passengers into the world of open race cars with its design of an open two-parted cockpit. Even a limited production of 100 cars was briefly considered, but this idea was rejected due to the prodicted production costs and the conversion time required for each car. Instead, the Gallardo Spyder appeared at the IAA 2005 in Frankfurt/Germany as an addition to the model range. At the same time, the performance was increased to 520 hp, which had already been achieved in the special edition Gallardo SE, limited to 250 units. This was followed by the Gallardo Nera (185 units), the Gallardo Superleggera (530 hp, around 620 units) and finally in 2008 with a facelift to the Gallardo LP560-4 (560 hp). On this basis there was soon a new Gallardo Superleggera, now with 570 hp. In addition, a special edition model (250 units) with 550 hp and rear-wheel drive was designed in honour of Valentino Balboni, the long-time chief test driver, on the basis of which further special models for local markets like China, India, Singapore and Malaysia as well as the normal production offshoot Gallardo LP550-2 followed. Further special editions and a final facelift in 2012 rounded off the Gallardo range, which had rolled off the production lines exactly 14,022 times by November 2013.

Back to the 2005 Lamborghini Concept S. At the Geneva Motor Show, this study was only a rollable clay block without its own drive. At the Concorso Italiano in Monterey/California in August 2005, the Italians showed a fully functionable version, which was subsequently also shown at the Concept Lawn of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Donckerwolke not only dispensed with a soft top, but also omitted the windshield. Instead, there are glass wind deflectors called ‘saute-vent’ in front of the occupants, which are supposed to guide the wind over the passengers. Compared to the normal Gallardo as Coupé and Spyder, the Concept S was given a slightly different rear design with a lowered center below the third brake light. For better all-round visibility, a rear view camera was integrated into the rear wing to replace the unavailable interior mirror and transfers its images to a large display in the center console. In addition, the front spoiler and rear diffuser differ visually from the standard Gallardo. Behind the two passengers sits the 520-hp engine from the Gallardo SE and Gallardo Spyder, which draws fresh air from a central intake between the seat backrests and has been combined here with the automated eGear transmission with shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

While such concept cars normally remain in the factory stock, Lamborghini sold the driveable Concept S to a customer who had already signed a pre-order for the above-mentioned low-volume series production originally planned. It isn’t quite clear whether only this one vehicle was built or another one or two went to solvent VIP customers. In the Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata, there is only the exhibit from the Geneva Motor Show 2005. But instead of showing this clay block at other events, Lamborghini asked the owner of this driveable Concept S with chassis number 001 and showed this car with his permission for example again at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2008. Now this Concept S is available for auction at RM Sotheby’s as part of their event during the final Formula 1 race of this year in Abu Dhabi at the weekend. The hammer price is expected to be between US$ 1,300,000 and US$ 1,600,000.

Images: RM Sotheby’s, Darin Schnabel