LAMBORGHINI PREGUNTA PROTOTYPE

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V12 Roadster, only one built

Salon de Paris 1998 - Geneva Motor Show 1999

 

 

 

AUTODROME has a long tradition of passion for classic Lamborghini, shared with many enthusiasts and collectors in the world. In 2006, thanks to our excellent relations with Carrosserie Heuliez and Lamborghini, we have acquired the famous prototype LAMBORGHINI PREGUNTA.

The Lamborghini V12-powered Pregunta is a fascinating automobile, irradiating power and extreme speed. Like a dream-car come true in a dull landscape, it is the last Lamborghini Italian prototype, the swan's song of a legend...

Ferruccio sadly left the scene in 1993. But was it still possible to continue its spiritual legacy in a totally original and outrageous concept-car ? The answer was the PREGUNTA.

 

Here is the story of a unique automobile designed and built in Italy, born from a genetic crossover between high-end technology and the voluptuous Lamborghini extravaganza.

 


 

1. An agreement between Lamborghini and Heuliez-Torino.

 

In 1998, Lamborghini is just emerging from three successive change of hands.

The Diablo, a V12 two-seater designed by Gandini, and a brilliant successor to the Countach, had been a success since 1990. But in 1994, Chrysler - then owner of the firm - sold Lamborghini to the Megatech Group. The next year the firm is sold once again, to Tommy Suharto, son of the Indonesian President, just before the purchase of 100% of the shares of Lamborghini by Audi-VW, effective in July 1998.

But a few months before this complete change of identity and culture, on June 15 th 1998, a last-minute agreement is signed in Sant'Agata between the Lamborghini factory and the Italian branch of the French Carrosserie Heuliez, a specialist of prototypes cars and special models. By this contract, Lamborghini donates a factory Diablo development car as a basis for the creation of a new, one-off model. Nobody knows the shape and the name of the future concept-car and Lamborghini's intentions are not openly revealed...

Heuliez intend to celebrate their fiftieth participation in the Paris Motor Show, as well as to demonstrate their capabilities in developing a fully functional prototype super car... But several clauses of the contract suggest a possible future for the super-prototype to come.

On the one hand, Lamborghini demands that the design of the car should be "new, original and impossible to confuse with any other car's shapes" (wasn't this the case for the Mura and of the Countach...?). On the other hand, Heuliez commits to build only one example of the concept-car and to prevent themselves from selling to any third party the rights of the future Pregunta. Also, Lamborghini reserves the right for them to display the car at any time ...

 

Jet fighter or Formula 1 ? The most provocative and brilliant design since the Carabo dream-car by Bertone, the Countach ... or the American Vector (inspired by the Italian masterpieces).

 

Another important clause states that the Pregunta should be approved by Lamborghini before any presentation to the public and to the Press. The agreement also states that the car made by Heuliez-Torino should not create for Lamborghini clients "an expectation about further production of the concept-car, with possible negative consequences on the sale of cars built by Lamborghini"...

As we know, the take over of Lamborghini by Audi, at the end of 1998 translated in a brutal discontinuation of another exciting project : the "Canto", then in the middle of its develoment, and that could also have become the "super-Lamborghini". The Direction of Audi AG demanded the immediate destruction of all existing prototypes.

However, it is fortunately too late to stop the Lamborghini / Heuliez-Torino project, which will effectivley lead to the creation of the magnificent and radical Pregunta, presented at the 1998 Paris and 1999 Geneva Motor Shows. The style is from Marc Deschamps' Studio. Marc Deschamps was the successor of Marcello Gandini at Bertone as Head of Style, and signed among other masterpieces the Roadster Lamborghini Athon in 1980, and more recently the super car Edonis - Bugatti.

 

2. Pregunta: a V12 Lamborghini speedster with spaceship and aircraft steroids !

 

The Pregunta Speedster is a concept car combining advanced technology with animal beauty, but it is also a fully functional prototype with state-of-the-art performances: 530 HP (the F50 has only 520), enabling a top speed of 333 km/h and less than 20 s. for the standing kilometre. With its aggressive space and aircraft inspiration, this prototype could have become a "Hyper-Lamborghini ", topping the Diablo as a most exclusive high-end sports car.

The structure is now a lighter and more straight-forward rear wheel drive - versus the last Diablo's all-wheel drive - and radiators have moved to the front. Also, the car is designed to be easily convertible into a closed berlinetta with the addition of two "half-roofs" in transparent polycarbonate.

The Pregunta uses Aerospace and Formula 1 technologies: Dassault stealth external paintwork (from the Dassault Rafale jet fighter), dynamic air intakes, fully electronic F-1 type Marelli instruments, 4 points Schrott safety belt harness, internal optical fiber lighting (DGA), rear-view camera replacing the mirrors, CDI Cristine GPS system, combat jet-derived cockpit ergonomy…

The style of the PREGUNTA is exceptionally rich, innovative, a deliberate breakthrough from the conservative and even conformist design of today.

The ultra low shape (1,10 m), with an immense and almost horizontal windscreen, creates a strong impression of dynamics and brute force. The mutant nose seems to come from a racing prototype, spiced-up with the aggressiveness of a catamaran boat. The wide-open front air intake for the radiator is highlighted by an enormous spoiler, whilst spectacular "reactor-like" lateral air scoops gulp fresh air, in line with the aerospace genetic background of the beast.

 

 

The rear part of the car is muscular and animal, almost excessively long and wide, and structured around a giant saurian backbone, seems to hide the reactors of a spaceship. A huge ground-effect extractor underlines the innnovative volume arrangement of the back : the enormous engine lid and the rear fenders end in profiled, areodynamic shapes, only pierced by orifices echoing the futurist headlights, whilst the exhaust pipes exhale hot gases into the air...

 

 

 

 

Carved as a sculpture, far away from the main stream, the Pregunta set new aesthetical standards by questionning existing limits (Pregunta means "question" in Spanish).

 

             A VIDEO OF THE LAMBORGHINI PREGUNTA  :      

 

 

Pictures from the Lamborghinin video Pregunta shot with Dassault Rafale jet-fighter.

                 Watch this movie on : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AOkr2YOtB0            

If you wish to upload le film, please click here (50 Mo, dowloading can take a few minutes).

 

Although a one-off concept-car, the PREGUNTA did fuel some wild dreams, especially for those who desperately expected a successor to the voluptuous Miura and to the extreme Countach...This car  was the last and ultimate special coachwork ever built on a Lamborghini base – just before the Marque Lamborghini was merged into the industrial Audi-VW Group. This automobile is therefore very important since it historically stands as the final conclusion of thirty-five golden years of the Sant'Agata Legend.

After the PREGUNTA, modern Lamborghini have never brought the same thrill and contagious feeling of passion, this irresistible desire to take the wheel and hear the V12 Lamborghini howling behind your back...

One single example of the Lamborghini Pregunta exists, and it was entirely hand-built in 1998, based on a Lamborghini Factory development Diablo, by the best craftsmen and technicians of Carrozzeria Studio Heuliez-Torino in Italy.

 

You could almost hear the jet reactors...the Pregunta is a guided projectile, a missile launched along a pure pleasure trajectory.

The V12 is by Lamborghini but the machine seems boosted with kerozene or propergol, and ready to race on the track or to be launched in the outer space.

 

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Marc Deschamps : the successor of Gandini et Scaglione as Bertone Head of Style.

 

Having worked with Paul Bouvot (Peugeot Chief Stylist) et Robert Opron (Citroën), Marc Deschamps has signed many creations that are more famous than the man himself. The spectacular Renault R5 Turbo was the first success of this then very young but talented stylist. This was only the beginning of a long carreer, that would lead Deschamps to become Bertone's Head of Style in 70s and 80s, as the successor of the legendary Franco Scaglione and Marcello Gandini.

 

Turin, 1980: Lamborghini ATHON by Marc Deschamps / Bertone.

Deschamps addresses with maestria the theme of a Roadster Lamborghini - the Athon, presented in 1980 in Torino, announced the fabulous Roadster Diablo. Built on a Silhouette chassis (#93000-350P) and powered by a V8-3 litre engine, mounted mid-ship, its angular, innovative style beautifully integrates air scoops, rear wing and other distinctive features in a homogenous volume arrangement. The shape is compact, sober, and yet strikingly original and modern.

 

Lamborghini Athon roadster: a one-off inspired two-seater, now carefully preserved at the Bertone Museum.

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Marc Deschamps, after twenty years experience as Head of Style at Bertone, is appointed to lead Studio Heuliez Torino, the Italian branch of the French Carrozzeria. This important style center is established at the heart of the Italian traditional super car region, with an obvious and close relation with Lamborghini.  In 2000, Deschamps launches his own Design Studio.

 

Modena, night of December 31, 2000 : presentation of the Edonis.

The spectacular and ambitious Edonis, elaborated by B-Engineering, an ex-Bugatti group of Engineers, will steal the show from other super cars with its 360 km/h + measured top speed. Deschamps collaborated with Nicola Materazzi to design the hyper sensuous and aggressive body of the Edonis.

 

Edonis : a quad-Turbo 12, over 360 km/h... But the project sadly stalled at the prototypes phase.

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A little like the Pregunta, the style of the Edonis breaks away from previous trends : a mix of brute force and rounded curves, its compact shapes can be compared to the Veyron. The front is also aerodynamically similar to the Pregunta, dictated by the very high-speed constraints. But the Pregunta, with the distance of time, is clearly the one that achieved the best balance between provocative innovation and classic design, successfully combining animal connotations, high-tech, aircraft style and legendary racing prototypes heritage. 

AUTODROME  presented the LAMBORGHINI PREGUNTA at the Paris RETROMOBILE Classic Motor Show in 2007.

 

The Lamborghini Pregunta on the Spa-Francorchamps race track (June 2008).

Perfectly drivable, the Roadster Lamborghini Pregunta offers the most thrilling driving sensations with its 333 km/h top speed.

Autodrome was proud to present this unique automobile to enthusiasts and collectors.  More pictures of this event here.

 

 

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