It's a bold opening gambit for conversation with Lamborghini's chief designer Filippo Perini but I give it a whirl. "To me
looks exactly like what you'd get if you asked a child to draw a supercar..." I hurriedly follow up that I mean this as a compliment and watch his face nervously. He beams and nods enthusiastically. Phew.
'Can you tell what it is yet?' and all that
In one of the cooler press conference presentations I've sat through Perini talked us through the Huracan's styling while live sketching key design details on large sheets of paper as he spoke. I wasn't the only one greedily watching where the drawings went as he tore them off his sketch pad...
Over dinner Perini's enthusiasm is expressed with an endless stream of anecdotes and impassioned discussion of design. At Lamborghini since 2004, he previously worked at Alfa Romeo and owns a Duetto, along with a GT40 continuation and a Caterham. His all-time three favourite cars from a design perspective are the Miura, Jaguar E-Type and Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.
He talks a lot about precision, tautness of line and surface detail, proud of the Huracan's single sweep in tip to tail as demonstrated earlier by his pen and especially picking out the intersection of front wing and A-pillar. The hexagon motif - as teased in the cheesetastic 'Hexagon Project' YouTube films in the build-up to the Huracan's unveiling - is repeated all over the car, from the windowlines to the air vents, mirrors and even the 'egg crate' interior trim. A logical extension of design language seen in the Reventon and SestoElemento, there's more than a hint of F117 Nighthawk stealth fighter about it too. Indeed, invisibility to police radar guns might well be a handy attribute...
Hints of LP400 in some of the hard-edged lines
He describes designing for Lamborghini as 'scary' given the habit of ripping up the rulebook with each new design - think progression from Miura to Countach and then Diablo and Murcielago - but is obviously inspired by the scope this gives him and his small team.
One of them, Michele Tinazzo, joined Lamborghini as a technician but begged Perini to be allowed to join the design team, which numbers just nine in total. "I have more projects than staff!" laughs Perini. Tinazzo's wish was granted though and Perini generously ranks him as a rising star. "Do you think the Huracan is revolution or evolution?" Tinazzo asks. Looking at the LP400-style flat surfaces and angles, the Miura references in the slatted rear deck and Diablo inspired diffuser/bumper at the rear I venture evolutionary. He nods and I ask him who his biggest influences are.
But the dowdy 190 was an influence too
"Bruno Sacco," he says without hesitation, clearly proud of his countryman's achievement of dragging Mercedes design out of chintzy chrome-bedecked conservatism and into the modern era. In interview I've heard Sacco describe the 190 as his proudest achievement, Tinazzo saying the W124 that followed is one of his favourites. I never thought I'd be considering 80s Mercs as key influences for a 21st century Lamborghini but design moves in curious directions sometimes.
Perini is steely about fellow members of his profession too. "I see a lot of illustrators but not many designers," he says bluntly. Both he and Tinazzo have engineering backgrounds and I ask the latter how he feels about the Huracan being a blank canvas for future evolutions. "We've raised the shutlines and fixed points as high as possible to give the possibility for different parts later. Once the metal is set you can't move it, it's much easier to change bumpers and other parts." Meaning, if you're among those who find the base Huracan a little too sensible, it's just a case of biding your time...
Not mad enough for you? Bide your time...
Interestingly the Huracan is the first car within the VW Group to be designed entirely on computer and without clay models and other traditional techniques; though Perini can clearly still work with a pen and paper he's keen to embrace the new ways too and describes his astonishment that many designers are inherently slow to do the same.
Plenty to meditate on the first time you get to see a Huracan in the metal then, something that's much more dramatic than pictures might suggest.
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