- The first and only fully functional example
- Less than 200 km from new
- Twice shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
First presented as a non-running design study at Geneva in 2005, Lamborghini’s Concept S was conceived of by then head of design Luc Donckerwolke at Centro Stile Lamborghini and introduced as an extreme interpretation of an open-top spyder version of the Gallardo. Donckerwolke envisioned the concept as a modern rendition of the classic single-seater racing car, albeit with twin cockpits side by side. The astonishing amount of public interest at the Geneva Motor Show prompted the decision to build a functional version in order to further gauge potential customer demand. It was a stunning design, to say the least, and the initial prototype model remains at the Lamborghini museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
The following year, the fully operable Concept S, which was based on the Gallardo platform, was first shown to the public at the Concorso Italiano. This stunning spyder was a proverbial showstopper, as it remained true to its concept yet seemed even more extreme. The so-called ‘saute-vent’ windscreens were redesigned and lowered for homologation reasons, and the result is even more radical than the original design. These screens serve to visually divide the cabin into two distinct compartments, giving the car an aggressive and futuristic look. They also create a “spine” that runs between the passenger and the driver, essentially dividing them from one another. It also acts as an additional air inlet for the powerful 520-horsepower V-10 engine at its heart, which is positioned behind the occupants. The aerodynamics of the Concept S have been further optimized by the use of front and rear spoilers and a large rear diffuser.
Though it was initially slated for a limited production run of 100 examples for their favorite customers, unfortunately, the exceedingly high cost and time-consuming production of the Concept S ultimately ended with the first example also being the last, leaving the Concept S as a true production-ready, one-off Lamborghini. In the case of this car’s first owner, he had already placed an order for the car before production was cancelled. Luckily, he was able to take delivery of it soon after its unveiling. The Concept S proved so popular that it was routinely invited back by Lamborghini to be shown around the world. In fact, it was invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance not just once, but twice. It was first shown on the concept lawn in 2006, and then, again at the behest of Lamborghini, it was invited back to the main lawn two years later in 2008.
Today, the Concept S has been driven less than 200 kilometres from new, with many of those being accumulated during initial testing and the rest from driving around concours show fields. Based on the production drivetrain and the sharing of the cockpit, which is familiar to anyone who has spent time in a Gallardo, the Concept S drives and functions just as any production Lamborghini from that time, albeit with a unique look and sense of theatre all its own.
A true 21st-century factory one-off, the Concept S has already proven to be a much-adored highlight of Lamborghini and Luc Donckerwolke’s design portfolio, and it will hold its place in Lamborghini’s modern history for years to come.