When we look back at the past, we see the transformations and innovations in the automotive industry. Starting from a single horse racing all its strength to push us forward. Then stepping towards the most amazing aspect of this journey, the steam engine that unleashed the power of hundreds of mechanical horses.
Although it took a fortune to own a car, before the birth of Henry Ford. One thing that was very popular and gained a lot of attraction was- Motorsports. Most of the safety equipment and other features in our modern cars, come from some of the biggest and the most fatal mistakes in those mass events.
If you just compare the past with present, you will notice that, gone are the days where we saw some of the most beautifully crafted cars, with muscular lines and carefully planted angles. Gone are the days, when we saw the rivalry between Ferruccio Lamborghini and Enzo Ferrari. Those powerful American V8’s and V12’s, which loved to roar and announced their exhaust note before their entry, are now caged under tons of pollution filters and noise refinements. I won’t ignore the need to protect our environment. All these environment friendly innovations in the automotive industry were much needed and today, its time for us to shift from the internal combustion engine, towards the electric world. However, remembering the glamorous past and the fact, that our present technological breakthroughs are a result of a few of those past innovations, is always a delight.
Speaking about innovations and remembering those gas-guzzlers, Lamborghini Urraco is one of those gems, that brought a lot of segment first equipment along with its beautiful candy red interiors. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Urraco, unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in late October 1970. This model immediately stood out for having introduced, the technical solutions that were very innovative for the time, thanks to the contribution of engineer Paolo Stanzani, the technical father of the Urraco and Lamborghini’s Chief Technical Officer at the time. The styling of the project was entrusted to renowned designer Marcello Gandini, who in that period was principal designer for Carrozzeria Bertone.
The Urraco is a fast 2+2 coupé, with mid-mounted V8 rear engine and independent suspension, with MacPherson strut system on both front and rear end, for the first time on a production car.
Initially presented with the 2.5-litre V8 delivering 220bhp of power at 7800 rpm and a top speed of 245 kmph, the Urraco featured the double novelty of an 8-cylinder engine and distribution with a single overhead camshaft per bank. The technical refinement was completed by the use of a “Heron chamber” engine head with flat inner part and the combustion chamber contained in a depression in the top of the piston. This solution combination made it possible to use a higher compression ratio without increasing the costs. Another novelty for Lamborghini was the four Weber double-body 40 IDF1 type carburetors.
The production system for the car was another innovation, planned from the early stages of the project to be much less artisanal than the other Lamborghini models. The creation of the Urraco was attributed to an express wish of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who was eager to expand the company’s production and make a Lamborghini that would be accessible to a wider, albeit limited, public.
Only 4.25 meters long, the Urraco’s interior spaces that were highly innovative in terms of the conformation of the dashboard, the position of the instruments, and the dished steering wheel.
Introduced as P 250 Urraco, where the “P” stood for the posterior position of the engine, and 250 for the engine capacity (2.5 liters), it was produced from 1970 to 1976. The Urraco was then proposed at the 1974 Turin Motor Show in the P 200 version with reduced displacement.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of things in our modern cars are inspired from the innovations in past. The concept successfully tested and brought to market by the Urraco led to the subsequent 8-cylinder models and the more recent 10-cylinder models, such as the Gallardo and the current Huracán.