This Manual-Swapped Murciélago On ITBs Is The Best Build Thread That Never Existed

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…

2019 Driftworks Murcielago Speedhunters by Phil Morrison-06

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.

2019 Driftworks Murcielago Speedhunters by Phil Morrison-02

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.

2019 Driftworks Murcielago Speedhunters by Phil Morrison-10

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!

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photos by Phil Morrison
Instagram: philmorrisondw



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Save The Manuals!!!


Congratulations, Dan. You're our lucky winner! I can't believe you made it to the end. Haha. Email your address to and someone will be in touch to ship your Speedhunters sticker.


Save The Manuals


"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."

This quote is exactly why exotic cars are pieces of shit. Imagine working your whole life to buy this thing you believe is so far superior to an Integra or a Civic and then having someone destroy you at a track day in a Z06 that has $30,000 in mods...oh and by the way it was purchased for $20,000. Sorry, anyone who buys this bullshit is a sucker. Exotics are garbage.


You comment cracks me up as it is always the same thing from people who can't afford, don't understand, or don't have the skills needed. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard the "but a (insert cheaper car) would destroy/annihilate/gap/etc the (insert expensive car)" B.S used to somehow justify one's own opinions/taste or knock someone else's efforts/project/taste/money I would be driving a Lamborghini myself.

Not everything comes down to track times, drag times, etc. Sometimes is about the over all experience, or the owners taste. Trying to pass judgement on someone else's car/project using what you deem valid as the rule of measure is silly.

The build is awesome. Props to those involved for doing something many people wouldn't dare. Also, major props for not just slapping on some widebody kit and slamming it. It isn't my taste - but as a true enthusiast I appreciate the effort and vision going into the car.


What you've written makes zero sense. I mean, imagine buying something you think is far superior to a Honda, to then be destroyed at a track day by someone who has a modified Z06? That's pretty niche. Especially when you own a mad, flame spitting, V12 Lamborghini! I doubt that's something Phil's ever had as a cognitive thought, but anyway, we digress. Haha!

Back to real life. The way I see it, supercars are cool as hell, when they're not locked up in a a garage for fear of losing money by putting miles on them. This LP 640, will no-doubt be driven on the Nordschleife by a man who is pretty handy behind the wheel.

You say that quote is garbage. I say, chopping up *your* supercar, to make it exactly how *you* want it – to then go and drift it, drive it and enjoy it – is exactly why people like Phil are my absolute heroes.


Neither of you sound like you have driven a lot of cars at the race track, I had the opportunity to test a Performante a while back and was thoroughly unimpressed, but I come from a background of open wheel racing. Perhaps when you get some experience behind the wheel of an actual racing car you will understand my comment better.

Furthermore, this might blow both of your minds, but there are people in the world who have driven super cars and aren't impressed. Typical idiot comment by Paul above with the "you can't afford it" comment. I, like 99% of people on the planet can't afford a Lamborghini, but unlike the small percentage of people who drive these I have raced for the majority of 20 years and know what is good and what is garbage.

800hp Diablo, Performante, 360 Modena, Carrera GT, 550 Maranello and a few others are some of the supercars I've driven and the CGT was the only one I would bother with. Anyway, you guys have your opinions, I have mine which is based on actually driving and pushing these kinds of cars hard on a daily basis, but w/e. You guys are the experts. Have a good one!


So you say exotics are garbage. Per a criteria you clearly specified. Which, ok, as you yourself say is your opinion which as you rightly also say is fine.

But you're putting that comment in reply to an article, and quoting specifically from it the one part of the article which explicitly says the flaws at the root of your criticism were fixed. So, what's the point of making the criticism in the one specific case where said criticism doesn't apply?

He bought a specific Lambo which he, clearly, loves. A different version of you might have had different tastes and have preferred not the CGT but some other car with its own quirks. It's not about lap times but about building something you love. Maybe the price tag is stupid, but that too is irrelevant to *what specific automobile design* polarizes you, makes your blood run hot and the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

The price and performance is meaningless when a specific sound and look and feel, for whatever deeply rooted reason, is *just right*. Is exactly how you love it, how you'd have built it given a blank check.

Johnny Bonanni

It's interesting to me that I say it's garbage because it's slower than any other cars and you guys refute this with emotional reasoning.

Do people not like these cars because of the speed? Do we all just love Lamborghinis for their looks or because they are expensive? That would be a very superficial way to look at anything in life, but maybe that is what the whole "tuner scene" has become.

Again--I have driven these cars and driven them very hard on many tracks across the US. I am subjective with the lap times they produce--which are not impressive at all by comparison to other machines out there.

If the counter argument to factual information is always going to be "Well, he built what he loved, so you can't hate on the love that went into this project" we are all, unfortunately, living in some kind of hippie millennial bubble where cars have become about picking flowers and reminiscing about our feelings---not going fast.

I'm here for the Speed, not to sing camp fire songs with you guys. You really don't get this in open wheel racing--all this subjectivity and talk about our feelings. Tuner culture has really taken a dive over the last 20 years to become something that is really not about going fast anymore.

Sad times.


Ok, let me get this straight. You are sad about tuner culture because it's not about going fast anymore. This information has been garnered, and your opinion been formed, from a story about a man who is converting his Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 to manual, so that he can take it to the Nürburgring to drive the Nordschleife layout without the e-Gear causing reliability issues.

You say,"garbage because it's slower than any other cars and you guys refute this with emotional reasoning."

I say, you're talking nonsense. Why? Let's take a look at the facts and use objective reasoning. In stock form the LP640 will get around the Nordschleife in 7-minutes and 40-seconds. That time was clocked in 2006 and is considered to be quick even now. 13-years on, tyre and brake technology has improved significantly, so the LP640 is still very much a fast car on the road and the track. Once this car is put back together, mapped and set-up, it will be piloted at the Nürburgring by it's owner/builder/driver, Phil Morrison (once he's done picking flowers and singing songs around the camp fire).

How is this story not about going fast? You sir, are either a fantastic troll, or completely bonkers.


Great article Ben, thanks very much! Agree with the lamenting the loss of the build thread.. youtube/insta is good but less of a community feel for sure.. similar to the comments on this site, it seems to often turn into a sh*t throwing contest. Maybe it's the change to big group psychology sorta thing.

What a great car, not into exotics personally, but seeing them tinkered with is pretty bloody exciting!
MORE FIRE PLEASE Driftworks.. keep it up!


Alister, good morning and welcome to the mad house. This seems to have turned into a forum, with much keyboard bashing happening, already. Where are the mods? Who's going to get banned? Can I still code an emoji? Just show me the fire, I don't really care about anything else.


‘Save The Manuals’


Bit late to the party, but I agree that this car is way better as a manual. Have a comment like, instead Allan mate.


haha I know ^_^ just been wanting this for a long time., and i'm always reading articles the moment they are post. But for this past few days been saving them cause there are a lot of good contents and great cars. then this happen, ironic to me LOL


Supercars are cool. My bedroom walls were covered in posters of Italian exotica when I was kid.
Lets just rejoice in the fact we people like Phil in the world. Someone who isn't afraid to look at an LP640 and want to chop it up to make it the perfect version in his own image. Its better than seeing these cars in some rich guys car collection with a cover over it.



100% Jay. Cars are for driving.




I hate phil, his cars are too awesome!!! I hate him. ALOT hahaha

Thanks for giving us more insight into his mad world :D


Can't stand the guy! haha.

Speed Huntress

Save the wales


Craig is a magician and he has Colum working alongside him who is also a rotary magician, and Phil is a visionary, a team made in heaven.

I would rather see people like Phil doing this to there cars all day every day compared to the YouTube “spec warriors” that finance a car they can’t afford and then “modify” it with a exhaust / wrap/ wheels over and over to keep the ad sense revenue coming in and the fans happy.

All they do is drive laps round London / Monaco etc etc.
People like Phil are using there cars and using them hard.
The way they were designed to be used not pootling down Sloane street revving and hoping a spotter tags them on the ‘gram. You only have to see the exotica being joined around historic events (and crashed) to see that there are still some petrol heads out there

I thought The car scene had lost its way but clearly there are still some enthusiasts out there


Newsflash: Not all supercar owners wet the bed!


So glad to see this being posted on here. For me this car is currently the best thing on Youtube, and cannot believe the series is not getting many more views! (this and the rotary suzuki carry on hoonigan!)
Phil and Driftworks have always had a tendency to do things out of the box, I remember following their S15 comp car build on their forum religiously, that car was the best drift car in the world at that time!
'Save The N/A Engine!'


They've had some pretty mad projects over the years. This is one of the best. Looking forward to seeing it on the dyno!


Somehow spelt my own name wrong... :(


This is just awesome!
I would love a Lamborghini like a Murcielago with a gated shifter


I would love to know more about how they converted the e-gear to standard.


A lot of the info is covered in the YouTube videos, with links above in the story.


Save the Man-Whales!

Wait, what was this article about again?


An idiots' guide to flame-grilling pedestrian's knees!


"Why would you dump an automatic for a manual?"

If you gotta ask, dude...


By far my fav car of the moment you can have your bugatti's and your pagani's for me this is my DREAM car Manual Murcy all the way.

I follow the videos and agree the work they have been doing on this car is amazing and great to watch.

Nice write up and nice to see a write up on a youtube car thanks.

Chris Colouryum

Been following this too and the latest vid with the fire up was a treat! Nice to get some decent pics of the build. It's so sad to see old forum builds with broken images in. Props to people documenting their builds with video as it takes far more time. Can't wait to see the new bumper and lights on it.
Proper Brumborghini!


'Brumborghini'. Love it! hahaha. That is a brilliant nick-name.