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Lamborghini’s limited edition Centenario woos car fans with deep pockets

Plus: Hong Kong petrol heads gear themselves up for motorcycle show and the Beijing to Shanghai Rally

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2016, 4:49pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 September, 2016, 10:31pm

The limited-edition Lamborghini Centenario Roadster costs about 2 million (HK$17.3 million) excluding tax, says Lamborghini Hong Kong spokesman Jason Lau. Its Hong Kong delivery schedule is unknown; the roadster was only unveiled in Carmel, California on August 29.

However, the wait is unlikely to be long if past experience is anything to go by. Lamborghini revealed its 5.2-litre V10 Huracan Spyder LP 610-4 in Repulse Bay within weeks of its Frankfurt launch last year.

Previous limited-edition models from the Italian marque - the Sesto Elemento, Aventador J and Veneno - have boosted Lamborghini’s dream-car status here.

The 770-horsepower V12 Centenario Roadster reportedly delighted American collectors who attended The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel, an event presented by Hong Kong’s The Peninsula Hotels group. Only 20 of these open tops have been made as a tribute to the marque’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, along with 20 coupe tributes, at 1.75 million apiece, with deliveries planned in 2017.

The Centenario Roadster seems to be the must-have for those whose pockets go deep enough, however. Built around a carbon-fibre monocoque resting on 20- and 21-inch wheels, it has carbon-fibre body parts and boasts an array of innovations.

The 1,570kg convertible’s V12 engine offers up a potential 350 kilometres per hour and can sprint to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds

The car is painted in a new matte silver that is supposed to accentuate its curves, which has been applied using a cutting-edge process said to dilute and diminish the colour’s metal grain, “giving it a silky and rich exterior finish”.

The front windscreen represents Lamborghini’s latest advances in wind deflection and cabin-turbulence reduction, while an extending rear wing improves downforce stability. Look out, too, for the “Y”- shaped LED lights across its rear.

Inside, Lamborghini has improved connectivity with a new touchscreen for internet and Apple CarPlay. The 1,570kg convertible’s V12 engine offers up a potential 350 kilometres per hour and can sprint to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds. And- with a sharp driver - it can brake to a halt from 100km/h in a distance of just 31 metres.

For those who prefer two wheels, Hong Kong’s Motorcycle Show 2016 will be “again bigger and better” than in previous years, with about 80 exhibitors this time around, says the bikefest’s organiser Ian Foster. “We will take over the whole of Edinburgh Place to celebrate the first 50 years of motorcycle racing at the Macau Grand Prix, and with stalls filling the areas between Edinburgh Place and the IFC elevated walkway. Everyone is welcome and it is all free,” he says.

Meanwhile, 10 cars from the Classic Car Club of Hong Kong have entered the 60-car Beijing to Shanghai Rally, taking place from October 9 to 21. Cars and drivers include a 1955 AC Ace Bristol (Douglas Young); a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider (Leslie Yuen); a 1963 Porsche 356B (Alex Yan); a 1966 Volkswagen Type 2 Westfalia SO-42 (pictured) (Leo Kan); a 1967 E-Type Jaguar 4.2 Series I Convertible (Fabrice Jacob); 1969 MGB Convertible (pictured, Daniel Chu); 1969 MGC Convertible (Ian de Witt); 1971 Mercedes Benz 280S (Choi Choi); a 1978 Subaru Leone (Kenneth Chu), and the 1972 Maserati Indy America of club spokesman Keith Martin.

All the classic models are being trucked to Beijing via Shenzhen. Organised by the 400-member Classic Vehicle Union of China since 2011, the 1,800km rally also winds through Baoding, Jinan, Xuzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou, and is pitched to sponsors as “a feast of automobile and fashion sourcing” with strong media coverage.

“The rally’s organisers [also] generally seek overseas cars, as these are normally retained to original standards as spares are fairly easy outside China, and the cars themselves are driven more,” Martin says. “Although you are not allowed to register cars over 20 or 25 years old in China, there are still a lot of these older classic cars around in museums and private collections, but they are only rarely driven and sometimes lacking in maintenance. Many of these cars will attend the rally as it is a chance for them to be driven.”

All cars taking part have to pass a China road test, no matter what age or size, Martin adds, adding that all the cars of Hong Kong entrants passed a stringent exam at the Yuen Long Testing Centre.

Fees are 2,998 per driver or navigator and 2,598 for extra passengers. Prices include shared five-star accommodation.

Martin says the vintage vehicles cover about 450km a day and their drivers and navigators are briefed daily before they set off at four-minute intervals.

“You have a road [map] each day and you are left on your own for each stage of the run, which should be completed in a certain time,” explains Martin, who drove his 1963 Jaguar E-type in last year’s rally. “So if you want to stop and take photographs or talk to people, you can. However, if you break down, the organisers have two back-up vans handy to help. My wife and I certainly enjoyed last year and are looking forward to this year’s rally.”