Classic Lamborghinis on show at a pop-up museum in Causeway Bay

Classic Lamborghinis are on show at a pop-up museum in Causeway Bay to celebrate the vision of the carmaker’s founder, writes Mark Sharp

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 12:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 12:11am

The Lamborghinis at the Italian supercar maker’s pop-up museum in Causeway Bay are three of possibly 12 models that visitors will have a chance to see before the museum closes in September. The cars are on display on the ground floor of Soundwill Plaza II – Midtown, the new commercial building where Jamie Oliver will open a restaurant this year.

Albert Wong, director of Lamborghini Hong Kong, says the museum is intended to celebrate the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Ferruccio Lamborghini, a one-time tractor maker whose car company marked its first half century last year.

“We see Lamborghinis around, but there are many classic models that people don’t know about,” he says.

It is the first time Lamborghini has organised such an event in Asia and it will run for longer than similar exhibitions in Germany and Britain. The London pop-up lasted just a week and moved between various locations.

Three models are on display in the ground-floor Midtown location, which will later become a shop, and the line-up will change about once a month, Wong says. The oldest on display is a 400GT 2+2, the second model the company produced, following the 350GT. Production ran from 1966 to 1968, with a total of 250 cars being built.

Created by Milan-based coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring (as was the 350GT), the 400GT is not as recognisable as today’s wedge-shaped Lamborghinis. Wong says that although the body styling was similar, the 400GT showed that the company was making progress in becoming a leading manufacturer of sports cars.

“First of all, the engine is bigger – 3.9 litres instead of 3.5. It had more horsepower than the 350, so the car was more powerful, and it had a new Lamborghini gearbox. Plus it has more room in the back; it’s a real 2+2, whereas the 350 is a 2+1,” Wong says. The 400GT had a top speed of 270km/h.

Also among the line-up is the stunning Countach LP 400, which, together with the Miura, is recognised as the backbone of the Lamborghini legend.

Conceived in 1974 by Marcello Gandini and Nuccio Bertone, its form is a signature that remains pretty much unchanged. Its 12 cylinders are mounted lengthwise, it has a wedge-shaped body only 1.07 metres tall and the familiar scissor doors.

With a top speed of 285km/h and 151 units produced, the LP 400 of the first series Countach remains coveted among collectors, “because of its smaller mudguards, and the [fact that the] rear spoiler is even more explicit”, Wong says.

The third model on display is the Reventon Roadster. It was unveiled in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show – the ultimate super sports car among open-top two-seaters. Designed to resemble a fighter jet, the 6.5-litre, 12-cylinder car generates 670 PS, catapulting the Roadster from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 330km/h.

The open-top Reventon is not only one of the fastest, but also one of the most exclusive cars in the world. Only 15 Roadsters were produced.

“The Reventon Roadster is the rarest car on display. We have a few of them in Hong Kong because we’ve got quite a few collectors, but there might be rarer cars at the museum later,” Wong says.

“The Gallardo LP550-2 Hong Kong 20th Anniversary is one; there are only eight of them.” The special edition Gallardo was produced to mark local distributor Kingsway Motors‘ two decades of partnership with the carmaker.

“The maximum we can put in the museum is three cars; sometimes there may be just two. So the maximum will be 12 cars. We will change the display every month, on average,” Wong says. “We haven’t decided on the exact number yet because we’re still trying to find a few very special ones. It’s quite flexible at the moment.”

Among other models Lamborghini will be bringing to the pop-up is the LM002, a 12-cylinder SUV produced from 1986 to 1993.

“It is a special model which people would not associate with Lamborghini,” Wong says. “We made quite a few of them but there are not many in good condition. This one is in very good condition.”

All of the cars coming to the pop-up have been sourced from local collectors, with whom Kingsway has good relations, Wong says.

Lamborghini’s latest model, the Huracán, which replaces the bestselling Gallardo, may be the last car to join the display before the museum closes – if the car’s Hong Kong launch happens in time. “It will just start production very soon. Anything could happen, but I hope the car will be here for the launch,” Wong says.

Lamborghini is also planning other events, public and private, for the duration of the museum, Wong says. “Since this is an art display, we’ll be doing lots of artsy stuff. We will be doing co-branding events and some other events with artists.

“The public ones are a photography competition of the cars, for professional and non-professional, such as Instagramers – those will be fun for the kids – we just want more people to know about our story.”

A book marking the carmaker’s first five decades in the fast lane, Lamborghini: 100 Years of Innovation in Half the Time, is also on sale at the museum.

“Not everybody can buy the car, but, of course, they can buy the book and have a good understanding of the heritage and the vision and the designs of Lamborghini,” Wong says.