SEMA 2019: 1968 Lamborghini Espada CHD Rat Rod

The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is the “World Series” for custom car enthusiasts. Builders from all over the world bring their custom vehicles to the annual show, hoping to scoop up awards or recognition for pushing the custom automobile industry forward a little bit.

Within the custom car world are many different segments: street cars, drag cars, pro-touring/restomods, Exotics, original restorations, stanced/flush, VIP, Rustomods, hot rods/Kustoms, vintage racers, street trucks, lowriders, Overlanders, Jeeps and 4x4s, and many other classes of vehicles.

But every once in a while, a vehicle comes along that defies classification. At the 2019 SEMA Show, there was a car that I couldn’t quite make sense of.

Builders Herve Castagno and Alexandre Danton from France presented this 1969 Lamborghini Espada CHD Edition. Now you might be asking: who in their right mind would chop up and rat rod a Lamborghini Espada? I was wondering the same thing.

A sign in front of the car offered the following information:

  • Built to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Espada
  • The most expensive rat rod (insured for $750,000)
  • The first ever Fabio Lamborghini inspired rat rod
  • Custom built with real, numbers-matching Lamborghini body and chassis
  • Custom G67 RUMI wheels by Govad Forged Wheels in Toronto, Canada
  • Original V12 engine
  • 8.2 feet wide
  • Built by Danton Arts Kustoms in France

These two guys have taken Lamborghini’s original 2+2 four-seater and reimagined and remixed it for a new generation. As I walked around the car, I couldn’t help but wonder: who is this car for?

I can understand how Lamborghini purists would not like the car, as it goes in a very different direction from the car’s original intent as a luxury grand tourer. A car with no side windows, no engine cover and a very sparse interior seems too radical a change for a car that is supposed to be comfortable, fast, and elegant. It’s utterly impractical for anything other than short drives to car shows.

And what about the traditional rad rod enthusiast crowd? What would they make of this chopped and stretched Italian sports car? Rat rods are all about creativity – making a gas tank out of an old beer keg, or repurposing a vintage pump handle as a door latch. Using old pistons to make side mirrors – cool stuff like that. While this car has some rat rod elements – an extreme chopped roof and a wide stance, it is too polished, too perfect, too different from the “DIY aesthetic” that is at the center of rat rodding.


I am not sure that this car would fit in with the Vintage Lambo crowd or with the rat rod crowd. It’s kind of in between two very different segments of the car universe. I had the same mixed feelings about the 2009 Ford Mustang which received a Lamborghini Gallardo V10 engine swap, which I saw at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction. I covered that car in my post Weird and Wonderful Custom Cars.

Don’t get me wrong – I think the Espada rat rod looks cool and it definitely showcases some expert level fabrication skills. But would I want to own the car? The answer is: no.


Not long after the SEMA Show, the car was offered for auction at Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida in January, 2020. While a high bid of $100,000 was received, this was far short of the estimate of $200,000 to $250,000. As far as I know, the car did not sell.

What do you think of the rat rod Lambo? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

For more information, please visit:
www.chd-edition.com
https://www.facebook.com/CHDedition/

1975 Lamborghini Urraco – One Odd Bull

Readers who remember the 70s will recall the gas crisis of 1973 and the long-lasting effects it had on the global market for high performance cars. In response to the uncertain economic times and skyrocketing fuel costs, supercar manufacturers began to produce “budget supercars” like the V6-powered Ferrari Dino and Maserati Merak. Lamborghini was still producing the Miura, but they also rolled out a budget supercar of their own: the Urraco.

The Urraco is an extraordinarily rare car, with total production of just 791 vehicles between 1973 to 1979. Of those, just 21 were manufactured for export to the United States market. This car is one of them. I had a chance to get up close and personal with this 1975 Urraco P111 at the 2018 Russo and Steele Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The basis of Lamborghini’s cars has long been the V12 powerplant, but not with the Urraco. Because it was intended to be a more affordable supercar, it conceals a V8 engine under the rear hatch making 217 horsepower – significantly more than the Dino 206 and 246 GT and the early Merak (non-SS models).

This car was advertised as being in excellent mechanical condition, with an engine rebuild and major service completed in 2016 at a cost of $36,000. Other perks include the original owner’s manual and spare assembly, service history with records and receipts, and a 40-hour detailing job.
While a modern Lamborghini interior looks like the cockpit of a fighter jet, the cars of the 1970s were much more spartan. This Urraco sports a full suite of gauges, a stereo, and even factory air conditioning! I’m not sure if this was standard on US market cars or an option, but it would certainly be essential for an Arizona car.

I have to say that this 1975 Urraco was one of the more interesting cars at the Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2018 auction, and I am very glad I went. It’s definitely the odd bull of the herd as it doesn’t have the famous Lamborghini V12 or the amazing looks of the Miura, but it’s a part of the company’s history nonetheless. Collector car auctions offer a chance to see those rare and unique vehicles that you just don’t see every day, and Russo and Steele did not disappoint in that regard. I am very glad I went and would recommend that you do the same, if you are in the market for a unique collector vehicle.

Report: 2016 Fountain Hills Concours d’Elegance

2016-fountain-hills-concoursOne of Arizona’s fastest-growing motorsports events is the Concours in the Hills in Fountain Hills. Now in its third year, this annual event has expanded considerably since it began in 2014. This year’s event took place on Saturday, February 13, 2016. Generation: High Output staff were on hand to cover the event.

Unlike other concours events such as Pebble Beach or Amelia Island, the Fountain Hills show distinguishes itself by being a casual, fun event geared towards families. Admission is free and the show is held on the grass at Fountain Park, which houses the world’s 4th tallest fountain (it was the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1970). Continue reading

1981-1988 Lamborghini Jalpa 3.5

lamborghini-jalpa-frontAs far as Lamborghinis go, this one was a real oddball. Let’s just say that if Lamborghini were to release a “Greatest Hits” album, this car wouldn’t be on it.

Sold from 1981 to 1988, it competed against the Ferrari 308 and the Mondial – neither of which are remembered as shining examples of Maranello’s best work.
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1969 Lamborghini Islero S

1969-lamborghini-islero-frontBy their very nature, supercars are produced in limited numbers, which means that not everyone who wants one can have one. Within the world of supercars, there are models which are more common than others. If you have the money, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a Porsche 911, Lamborghini Gallardo, or a Ferrari 355, 360, or 430 for sale. Then there are cars which are so rare that you cannot buy one, even if you have the money. The Lamborghini Islero is one such car.

The Islero was only manufactured in 1968 and 1969, with just 225 cars produced. These are very low numbers – there are almost twice as many Ferrari Enzos in the world as there are of these – and when was the last time you saw an Enzo?
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2014 Lamborghini Aventador LP 720-4 50 Anniversario

2014 is a very special year because it is the 50th Anniversary of Lamborghini. To celebrate the occasion, the company has produced a limited run of “50th Anniversary” Aventador models. Just 200 cars are to be produced – 100 coupes and 100 roadsters. This particular car is #47 of 100.

The Aventador LP 720-4 50 Anniversario edition has the same 6.5L V12 engine as the standard Aventador, though power has been bumped up from 690 to 710 HP thanks to a new engine calibration.

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2014 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Coupe

For the past 8 years, the Gallardo has been Lamborghini’s volume seller. With a starting price of around $181,000, it was Lamborghini’s “entry-level” car, if you could call it that. Earlier this year, Lamborghini announced the Gallardo would be replaced by a new model called the Huracan.

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2014 Lamborghini 5-95 by Zagato

For half a century, Lamborghini has been making some of the wildest supercars on the road. But what if the entry level Gallardo is just a bit too pedestrian for your tastes? Well, the folks at Italian coachbuilder Zagato have got a solution for you!

It’s called the Zagato 5-95 and it features a custom body built atop the Gallardo chassis. Zagato has plans to produce just 5 of these cars; so far only 2 have been built. Imagine my surprise when I saw this car at Cars and Coffee in Scottsdale! One of only two in the world!

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