Do you miss a good build thread? Once upon a time I’d smash the URL of my favourite forums into my web browser completely expecting to waste valuable work hours and miss many a deadline.
Now, we could get all nostalgic and discuss how a certain photo-sharing site messed up a lot of those old archived stories, but there’s no time for that. Why? Because Phil Morrison at Driftworks is currently making some fairly rowdy changes to his Lamborghini Murciélago LP 640-4 and it’s all documented on YouTube.
Fortunately, this modern-day build thread hasn’t made me waste any time or miss a deadline. Last night, I got delayed on the Eurotunnel by an hour, so to make the best of these technical issues, I stuck my iPhone to the steering wheel of the F80 and watched all of the Driftworks Lamborghini updates, the latest of which shows the fruits of Phil and Craig from DynoTorque’s labour.
Does it work, though? Well, if flames being thrown are a measure of success, then I’d say this is looking pretty damn good.
How the hell did this all happen? I’ve been following this build since 2015, at which time the car had been stripped, painted grey, and had some ADV.1 wheels fitted. About a year later the suspension arms were modified and the car was converted to rear-wheel drive.
Never one to not get carried away, Phil decided to go absolutely wild and run a pair of BMW S54 ITBs, fit LMGT1 headers, and ditch the e-Gear transmission for a manual shifter to get that fantastic ‘clink’ sound in the aluminium gate as each cog is selected. OK, so there might be a little more to it than just that, but it’s hard to keep up, so I emailed Phil with a few questions…
First things first: why do you hate the e-Gear?
PM: I actually don’t think the e-Gear in a Murciélago is terrible – when it works. But because 1st gear is so long, it’s annoying as a daily driver at low speed, as it slips the clutch too much and kills it. Mine was also unreliable. It would error and go into limp mode, and despite replacing a lot of parts and maintaining it correctly, one of those times it was playing up was when I was due to go to the Nürburgring in it. So, from that point on I never trusted it.
How much planning has to go into messing about with one of Italy’s finest?
PM: I decided I was actually going to do it about a year ago and started the serious planning & acquiring parts about six months ago. But I’ve daydreamed about doing this from the moment I bought the standard car in a way. A big part of why I wanted a Murciélago in the first place was an unbelievable YouTube video of a Murciélago R-GT on a hill climb in Germany I watched, maybe sometime in 2011.
Wow! So, are the headers similar to the R-GT race cars built by Reiter Engineering?
PM: They are actual brand new Reiter Engineering RGT/RSV GT1 headers. After a long time spent persuading Reiter that I’m not the usual time-wasting dreamer they must often get messages from, I’ve developed a decent relationship with the German engineering company and have a lot more surprises incoming for our YouTube viewers.
Surely that satisfying gear gate music will alone be worth all of the long nights and migraines that have no doubt been frequenting both your brain and Craig’s so far. What did you do to convert it to manual?
PM: I tried to source as many Lamborghini parts as possible, but because a manual right-hand drive LP 640 is extremely rare, some of the parts came from the earlier car, and some came from a left-hand drive, so we had to get very creative. The gamble was trying to use the car’s original e-Gear transmission, then converting it, in the same way we convert an E46 M3 SMG gearbox. A manual from the older 6.2-litre Murciélago is about £10k, but it’s not as strong, so I really wanted to see if we could make this work.
The exhaust and manual conversion are just two pieces of the RGT puzzle. How important was the ITB conversion and how challenging was it?
PM: For me, it’s the best part of all the work we’ve done in the past few months. Most of my cars are naturally aspirated and of those, all but the LP640 were on ITBs (LSX AE86, S65 E30 M3, E90 M3 & the recently re-acquired V10 E46 M3). We should see significant improvements in throttle response & power with what we’ve built. But my number one reason is the sound; Induction noise for me is more important than a super loud exhaust. So to have a masterpiece V12 engine sound choked by aluminium airboxes and 4 standard throttle bodies seemed bizarre. So I fixed it… I hope.
What’s been the hardest part of this whole project?
PM: The research, planning and sourcing of parts from all over the world has taken a significant portion of my year so far.
What has Craig loved and hated the most?
PM: Not a lot fazes him other than finding the time to fit the work into. We both love problem-solving, and as much as Craig will joke about me being a pain in the ass, he loves these ridiculous challenges that I set. In a way, it’s easier than other builds we’ve done like the S65 DCT E30 M3 project. The fact it’s a Lamborghini doesn’t make any difference; it’s just bits of metal (and carbon).
Thanks, Phil. This all sounds like a Speedhunters wet dream and we can’t wait to see it finished. First to comment ‘Save The Manuals’, gets a free sticker sent in the post!
Photos by Phil Morrison