“The Murciélago brought out the little kid in anyone lucky enough to see one, much less get behind the wheel of one… it always turned heads, drawing more attention than Lady Gaga at a PTA meeting” – American magazine Road & Track looking back at Lamborghini’s outrageous Murciélago
The Lamborghini Murciélago
The Murciélago was the first new car from Sant’Agata since the company’s acquisition by German titan Audi. That said, work was underway on a replacement for the Diablo well before the official takeover in 1998. The electrifying hypercar that emerged in 2001 was truly the ‘best of both worlds’: an Italian supersports machine with performance almost without equal, extravagant styling that could only be by Lamborghini, and solid German engineering that imbued it with a sense of solidity and long-term reliability.
It was styled by Peruvian-born Belgian Luc Donckerwolke, Lamborghini's head of design from 1998 to 2005. Power came from the company’s traditional big-capacity (now 6,192cc) V12 pushing out 571bhp at 7,500rpm. The new car’s four-wheel-drive system was straight out of the Diablo and a six-speed manual gearbox was standard.
New for the Murciélago was a solution to the problem that had bugged most rear-engined Lamborghinis since the '60s: dissipating heat from the engine compartment, particularly at low speed. The adjustable flap above the rear wheels – ‘VACS’, Variable Air-Flow Cooling System – functioned automatically and made Lamborghini’s latest flagship its most civilised yet.
It was also its fastest. Road testers immediately stated that it made the “Diablo feel slow” (Autocar). In February 2002, works tester Giorgio Sanna lapped the Nardò test track at an average of 189.543mph for an hour including fuel stops. British magazine Autocar quotes a maximum of 203mph, with a zero to 62mph time of 3.7secs.
Only three years after the Murciélago’s launch, Lamborghini chose to celebrate its four decades of car production with a special coupé: the 40th Anniversary, or ‘SE40’, of which only 50 were built. All were completed in striking Verde Artemis (a blue-green metallic). Other SE40 signatures included carbonfibre window surrounds, anthracite grey wheels, silver brake calipers and an upgraded Alpine CD player. Despite a hefty premium, all 50 SE40s sold out almost immediately.
Production of the Murciélago finished in 2010, and to many collectors it remains the last-ever Lamborghini with ‘pre-Audi’ DNA, a true heir to the Miura and Countach.
This Motor Car
Chassis ‘00936’ was destined for German connoisseur Peter Kaus (founder of the Rosso Bianco’ Collection in Frankfurt am Main) together with a Murciélago Roadster, and both cars were invoiced by Lamborghini Stuttgart on 19 June 2006.
The famous collection numbered some 200 cars and Kaus’s interest mainly lay in Italian sports-racing cars and the big-engined racers that competed for the Can Am trophy in the '60s and '70s. Although the museum closed in 2006 after Kaus admitted defeat in his battles with the local authorities, he retained a small number of his favourite cars including the Lamborghinis.
Eager to preserve the unique nature of the two very special Rosso Bianco Murciélagos, our client purchased both cars from Peter Kaus in 2014, becoming only their second owner. Since then, ‘00936’ has been stored in fastidiously managed conditions, with maintenance completed by former factory service boss Orazio Salvioli at Top Motors in Italy.
The car is complete with the desirable 40th Anniversary carbonfibre luggage set. It has covered less than 750km from new, making it probably unique.
Nowadays, under the ownership of German giant Audi, Lamborghini production runs into many thousands per year. This Murciélago, one of just 50 SE40s, is an exciting link with the company’s romantic past, where only the best VIP clients were offered a handful of truly individual cars. We recommend this virtually unused, 'as delivered' SE40 as unrepeatable.