|2002 Lamborghini Murciélago
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Passenger side of trunk, under carpet flap
|Engine Number Location:
|Right-side engine-bay number plate
|Lamborghini Club America
|1990–99 Lamborghini Diablo, 2011–14 McLaren MP4-12C, 2006–15 Audi R8
This car, Lot 152, sold for $140,251 (€119,200), including buyer’s premium, at Artcurial’s Monaco auction on July 19, 2021.
There’s something kind of heretical I’ve believed for a while, and I’m just going to say it: Most exotic cars are boring. We see them cross the block all the time with absurdly low mileage and the original air from Maranello or Sant’Agata Bolognese still scenting the glovebox. I’m talking about cars like the 985-km 2011 Murciélago LP670-4 SV that Bonhams sold for $347,383 in September 2019 (SCM #6913834). Pardon my bluntness, but this is like marrying the person you love and then putting them in a separate bedroom so their next spouse can be the first to enjoy some intimacy.
Let’s hear it for the drivers!
It’s true that when you’re dealing with an expensive exotic, every klick on the odo has a price. But it’s also true that every day in the garage has a price, and the costs are not that far apart.
Consider our subject car, this 2002 Murciélago that sold in July. It’s almost to its 20th birthday, and the state of the art at Lamborghini has made its performance level almost quaint. A 2021 Huracán will out-accelerate and outhandle any Murciélago, and you can get one new for about $215,000. So, unless you’re completing a set of all the great Lamborghinis, there’s not a lot of reason to spend top dollar on this model.
There’s still a lot to love about this early-production car. It’s got a 6-speed manual gearbox, which makes it slower than a modern paddle-shifted car, but better engages the driver with its magnificent 6.2-liter V12 engine. The V12, mounted amidships behind the cockpit, produces 572 hp and 479 foot-pounds of torque. With its all-wheel drive and traction control, the Murciélago has no trouble putting all that power to the ground, leading to a 0–60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 206 mph.
Keep it simple
The best thing about a Murciélago today is its simplicity, captured in its smooth lines. The Murciélago was the first car entirely designed after Audi took ownership of Lamborghini, and it shows. It’s certainly less garish than the older Countach or the later Aventador. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on your taste in Lamborghinis, but there will always be buyers who find this car beautiful.
In the cabin, there’s little going on that isn’t directly related to driving. There’s a radio, but not an elaborate system of touchscreens dominating the dash, nor a mass of buttons and switches governing a bewildering array of features. This is a car made to drive with purpose, not an entertainment lounge on wheels. Plus, Audi’s influence made the Murciélago a lot more ergonomic than older Lambos. Leave it to the Germans to figure out that feet come in sizes above 9.
When the last Murciélago rolled out of the factory in 2011, Lamborghini had produced 4,099 examples, of which 2,223 were first-generation cars from 2002 to 2006. That means the Murciélago will never be particularly rare, but it’s less common than the cars that have come after it, the Gallardo, Aventador and Huracán.
It’s worth noting that Artcurial offered this same car in 2019 with 49,600 km showing and without its recent €11,000 service. The pre-auction estimate of €110,000–€150,000 was just a little less than this year’s €115,000–€155,000 estimate. It failed to sell then, with a high bid of $102k (SCM# 6919328). With the generally rising market over the past two years, it’s fair to say that Murciélago prices are flat, at least for driver-quality examples such as our subject car.
Currently at 51,000 km (about 31,000 miles), the mileage is high for cars of this type. This usage is clearly visible, even in auction-house beauty shots. There are door dings and visible scraping on the underside of the chin spoiler. Some wear can be seen on the outside bolster of the driver’s seat, and the photos show worn pedals. The threadbare carpet in the trunk is littered with stray grass. The engine is dusty and there are bugs stuck to the front bumper. There’s even some dirt around the buttons in the cabin. Honestly, someone should have detailed this car for the photos.
But there’s still a lot to like about this particular Murciélago. For one thing, the car is absolutely elegant in its deep blue color with ivory interior. Lamborghinis are designed to be in-your-face, and no one drives a Murciélago to blend in, but this car doesn’t need a DayGlo paint job to speak for itself. Even so, it has some fancy body-kit updates (as well as a fitness certificate from Lamborghini).
The biggest upside here is that whoever bought this car is likely to drive it, because why not? It’ll never be perfect again, and the patina kept the price down close to the low-water mark for Murciélagos over the past three years. With the seller having just completed a five-figure service in June, the new owner is well positioned to truly enjoy this car with minimal risk. The price paid was appropriate — a good value for an excellent driver-quality example. ♦
(Introductory description courtesy of Artcurial.)