You've made up your mind to buy the car of your dreams, but there isn't room in your budget to buy a brand new Lamborghini, or even finance one. You can save a lot of money buy purchasing a used model, but there are some things that you need to be aware of to avoid getting scammed in a deal. There are a lot of ne'er do well vendors out there and if you're not aware of the pitfalls and how to get a square deal, you could easily fall victim. We've prepared a buyer's guide to getting a used Lamborghini to help you know how to get a good deal.
Get over the expense but investigate the costs
Lamborghinis are expensive high performance sports cars. Some of the new models can run up to $250K and more, with the less expensive Jalpas nearly impossible to find these days. You're getting a hand-built vehicle that has proven its mettle, so it's going to cost some major bucks, even in used condition. While there are cheaper options available such as buying parts from salvaged Lambos and building yours from scratch, you won't retain the value and it can be a real pain. It's sometimes better just to bite the bullet and get the best deal that you can on the model of your dreams in used condition. The first step in the process is to determine what you are willing and able to spend. If you choose to finance, figure out how much your lender is willing to front for the car and how much the monthly payments will be. It's also wise to check with your auto insurance company to determine how far back in age you can go to still insure the vehicle. Some older cars are not insurable so this may be a determining factor in the age of the used Lamborghini you should consider.
Why are they so expensive?
Lamborghinis are not mass produced in the numbers that many other models have been. Since they are fewer in numbers, come from a reputable and desirable brand, and they're iconic, the price is naturally going to be higher. There is a high overhead in each Lamborghini produced and they are still in big demand with consumers. All of these factors combine together to drive the price up, even for used models.
Which model to buy?
The most highly recommended used Lamborghini is the Gallardo. This is a newer model that has had the kinks worked out of the design for less hassle in maintenance and fewer performance issues. It's a vehicle that you can probably buy used for less than $100,000, and if you're lucky, even less than that. It will be easier to pay for upkeep and maintenance costs if you go with a more recent addition to the Lamborghini stable versus one of the earlier models that generated a fair share of complaints. If you can find a used Jalpa that is in excellent condition, and you like the design, it's also a good choice. The Urraco is also a good choice that can be found for reasonable prices. The Diable is also on the list of most highly recommended used Lamborghinis. It's good to be aware of the fact that there has been an increase in used Lambo sales over the past decade so the value follows suit.
What can you expect to spend?
It's important to know how well certain models have held their value before you begin your search and active dealing. Some Murcielago SV examples are actually worth more now than they were upon the original release date. The Huracans and Aventadors also tend to hold their value well when they're maintained in exceptional condition with low miles. We return to the Gallardo for the most economically priced. The Miura P400 goes for around $1 million, with the SV edition double that price. The Countach from the 1980s is around $250,000 with a Diablo from the 1990s going for around $125,000. These figures may be helpful in deciding which direction to look for your first Lambo, and most who are not independently wealthy will go for a financing option.
How to buy a Lamborghini on a budget
There really is no such thing as a cheap Lamborghini but some are more reasonably priced than others. There are pros and cons associated with the lower end models including, the Jalpa and the Urraco, but they are worth at least considering if you're trying to take it easy on the initial outlay. Here are a few facts including the good and the bad.
The Lamborghini Jalpa was first introduced to the world at the Geneva Auto Show in 1981. The first production model rolled off the lines in 1982 for sale. The two seater featured flared fenders combined with hard angles as a smaller version similar to the Countach. It was made as an entry level model that was equipped with a 3.5 liter V-8 engine that branched 255 horsepower. With 230 lb ft of torque, it achieved a speed of 60 mph in 5.8 seconds.
Problem areas for the Jalpa include difficulty in changing spark plugs due to the sealed airboxes for early US models. It required total engine removal but those with an access panel added later in production solved the problem. Bracket failure has been an issue with the engine mounts because of the torque, and the design of the cooling ducts for the brakes lead to overheating when the car is driven too fast. Rust has also been a problem as the Jalpa's body design tends to collect water in moist climates. Through time any dings or debris damage results in rust because of the pools that collect and seem to never drain. Be aware of these potential issues and carefully inspect the vehicle before you buy. The Jalpa is fairly rare with just 410 ever produced and just 100 making their way to the American market. One of the last models released in excellent and clean condition was estimated in value at $115,000.
Lambo's Urraco made its entrance into the market as the first compact supercar in 1970. This model was equipped with a 90 degree mid-mounted V-8 engine with one camshaft for each cylinder bank. It was innovative for its time with new bodywork and a new transaxle. It became known as a strong built model with a welded body shell that was mounted on a pressed steel chassis with transverse engine and transmission mounts. The all disk brakes, MacPherson Struts that replaced the double wishbone in an all independent suspension system. Although the exact numbers were not disclosed, this car was produced in low numbers making it fairly rare.
On the downside, the Urraco lacks the power that sis found in the Jalpa and other entry level models. It's an older car that is subject to a variety of mechanical malfunctions, unlike many of the newer models that have had the kinks worked out of them. Parts are harder to find so if you need to have repairs done, and you will, the cost of keeping it on the road is a consideration.
The official production years of the Urraco are from 1973 through 1979. The top speed of the Urraco was 143 mph. An upgrade to the engine in 1974 resulted in a new variant that was called the P300 with a 3 liter engine with new twin cam heads cranking 265 horsepower. In 1975 the list price for a brand new Urraco was $22,500. Currently, a 1977 model sold for $24,840. Sales have gone as low as $6,000 for examples in poorer condition.
One of the most highly recommended used Lamborghinis is the Gallardo. This was one of the brand's most popular vehicles and the later model entry car made its appearance with the 2003 model. It's not as scarce as many of the other models with over 13,000 in production. The car is equipped with a 5.0-liter V10 engine. It achieved a speed of 62 mph in just 4.2 seconds which leaves the Jalpa in the dust, with a top speed of 192 mph. In 2008, Lamborghini gave it an upgrade to a 5.2 liter engine named the LP-560-4 with a generous 560 horsepower that decreased the acceleration time to 62 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds and jumped the top speed to 202 mph. There are a few variants of the Gallardo out there, namely the LP 550, the LP 560, and the LP 570. They come in two and four wheel drive and your choice of a spyder or coupe variant.
There are relatively few issues associated with the Gallardos. At times engine lights have triggered due to faulty sensors but they're relatively cheap to replace, unless it becomes an ongoing problem. It's known as a comfortable and relatively sound vehicle overall, without the common issues we've seen in the Jalpa or the Urraco. You can find a used Lamborghini Gallardo for around $50,000 to $60,000 for the older editions. If you go with the 2008 model year or newer, plan on paying around $140,000.
The Countach is a Lamborghini from the 1970s and 1980s era. This was a popular model that embodied driving enthusiasts dream of a supercar. It was equipped with a powerful V12 engine, but when shopping for a used edition, it's important to ensure that the engine has received proper maintenance and is in excellent condition. The cost of replacement or repairs could be more than what most used car owners are willing or able to pay. Common issues with used Countach models are the clutches which tend to wear out after 20,000 miles, and occasionally, replacement of the flywheel and associated parts. This can run into thousands of dollars in repairs. This is an expensive car with the older models such as a 1975 edition that sold for $1.2 million, and a more affordable 1989 model valued at $300,000.
The Lamborghini Miura was produced from 1966 through 1973. This is another model that has increased in value with the passage of time. It's a collector's vehicle presently, but there is a ray of light for those who are a bit more budget conscious. The 1970 edition Miura S was valued at $473,000 at auction with a 1971 edition of the SV bringing in $869,000. This is one of the pioneer super cars for the brand. This vehicle is an investment certainly with Miura S prices around a half a million dollars with the P400 going for between $350 to $400,000/
The Lamborghini Huracan was first sold in its 2014 model year. Stylistically it was influenced by the Audi design of the day. It was equipped with a powerful 5.2 liter V10 engine. The dynamics were breathtaking and it was viewed by some as the ultimate sport scar. It was thoroughly furnished with Alcantara dashboard and some luxury features to go with its speed and sportiness. The most common complaint registered for the Huracan has been the high cost of maintenance and operation, along with road noise and difficulty in feeling the car through the steering wheel. It is known for being among the most well-built and solid, dependable models within the Lamborghini stable. A 2015 Huracan will cost you between $125,432–$271,808, depending on the trim and its condition. This is a model that retains its value very well with the proper care.
How to buy a used Lamborghini
There are a few principles to abide by to get the best deal on a used Lamborghini and avoid getting scammed in the process. While it's common sense to make sure you're getting what you pay for, buying an exotic car is much different than acquiring a lower value vehicle, so it pays to be on guard and know the facts before you enter into any serious negotiations.
1. Determine your budget
Now that you have an idea of the going rates for the various years and models of used Lamborghinis in the market today, it's time to figure out how much you can or are willing to pay. It's wise to consult with your lender unless you plan to pay cash, and then find out what kind of insurance policy you can obtain from your auto insurance provider. It's a good idea to get a ballpark figure of the monthly insurance rates while you're at it. It's never a good idea to drive a car that is uninsurable by your available providers. Figure in the estimated costs of maintenance and operation of the vehicles that you're considering. This will need to be factored into your overall budget for ownership.
2. Make a wish list of target models/year
With a budget in mind, start browsing through the listings of available Lamborghini models that you would like to own. It's good to have a few in mind so you can do feature and cost comparisons. This will help to narrow your search and save you time and effort.
3. Locate used Lamborghinis and check the prices
Make a list of several Lamborghinis in the models that you are interested in. Compare the prices. Eliminate those that are outside of your budget and focus on gathering the facts about those that you are seriously considering.
4. Check the Vehicle History Report
The Vehicle history report is one of the early steps that potential buyers take before contacting the seller. It is one of the most important steps that can help you move the vehicle in question to your maybe list or remove it completely. The vehicle history report can give you important information about the car. It tells you if it has a salvage title and this can affect the value. To access this report you need the VIN number of the vehicle. Most serious sellers list it with the advertisement, especially if it is a dealer. If it is not provided, you can also use the license plate number. Some dealers provide vehicle history reports at no cost if it is one that they have stocked in their inventory. In addition to checking the vehicle history report, learn all that you can about this model and year and find out what the fair market value is so you'll have an idea of what you should be paying.
5. Contact the seller
Call the seller to inquire about the availability of the car. If it is still for sale, strike up a conversation. Ask why the car is for sale and if there are any mechanical issues. Hold off on discussing price until you make a physical appearance and visual inspection. If you're satisfied with the information provided by the seller, set up a time to see the car in daylight hours.
6. Make a visual inspection
Look over the car and look for any signs of problems. Ask about the car's history, previous owners and why they sold it. Test drive the car to ensure that it is in the condition that has been described. When driving make sure that the car is in good operating condition. Keep your eyes and ears open for any obvious problems. Test the acceleration, the braking and be on guard for smoke coming out of the exhaust and other signs of problems. When you're done with the test drive pop the hood and look for any signs of leaking fluids or overheating. Review service records and documentation pertaining to the car.
7. Get the car inspected
If you're seriously considering purchasing the car, it's wise to get it inspected by a mechanic before you make your purchase. Find an expert in Lamborghini models and pay for the service because the $100-$200 cost may save you from making a very expensive mistake if there is something wrong with the car that has not been disclosed by the seller.
8. Negotiate a fair price
If there are some downsides or defects in the vehicle that you can live with, you may have a negotiation point to get it at a lower price. Offer a fair price for the vehicle and if it's below the asking price, justify your rationale. If your ideas are reasonable you may be able to get a square deal on the spot. If you know that the asking price is steep, don't be afraid to leave your name and contact information and walk away. Sellers who have trouble selling at high prices frequently change their minds and take the best offer that is made.
9. Complete all required paperwork
There is not likely to be a warranty involved unless you're buying a Lamborghini that is used but has a remaining warranty left. If this is the case, get a copy of the warranty. Also make sure that you complete all of the documentation for the title transfer and the license fees to make it legal to drive if the tabs are expired. If you're buying from a private owner, make sure that the title is signed over to you before the money changes hands. If you are financing and going through a dealer, staff will walk you through this process.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith