Restoration

After a failed restoration, Lamborghini LM002 once driven on 'Top Gear' by The Stig is reborn

This 1987 Lamborghini LM002 was given a complete restoration following years of use and long-term storage.

Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

It's one thing to be tricked into getting a new air filter for your car when you go in for an oil change even though you don't need one. It's quite another to completely fail at a vehicle restoration.

Lamborghini LM002 chassis number 40 of 301 has been given a restoration by the experts at Bell Sport & Classic after having survived a series of owners, drivers, and a failed restoration attempt. The 11-month project completely overhauled the vehicle, which was driven on a 2003 episode of "Top Gear" by The Stig.

1987 Lamborghini LM002 The model is finished in a Blu Acupulco Metallizato paint job.Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

The LM002 was produced by Lamborghini between 1986 and 1993. It was massive and powerful and full of machismo then. Even now, in the age of emission standards and public transportation, the LM002 is still highly regarded.

It came from the factory with a 450-bhp 5.2-liter V12 engine from the Countach under its hood. It has a 76.6-liter fuel tank, which buyers will need because the badass boxy model gets just 8 mpg.

This particular left-hand drive LM002 was purchased by its current owner in 2003, who spent six years enjoying it on- and off-road before placing it into storage in 2009. Ten years later it arrived at Bell Sport & Classic for a complete restoration after having one failed effort, with components in boxes.

Bell Sport & Classic had just the right man for the job. Their master technician, Attilio Romano, is a former Ferrari factory technician with over 40 years of experience in service and restoration. Prior to his time at Bell Sport & Classic, Romano was the lead technician at H.R. Owen across Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti models, including being the first factory-registered technician to work on the Veyron.

1987 Lamborghini LM002 The engine is original.Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

"The engine block was still in place," Attilio remembers of starting work on the LM002, "but most of the ancillaries had been stripped off. All the separated components were supplied in boxes…it was a bit of a detective job, so the first thing we did was a thorough inventory."

However, not all the parts that were needed were there. Also, many of the parts and tools needed are now unavailable from Lamborghini. So, the team at Bell Sport & Classic set about creating new components in-house or outsourcing them from trusted suppliers.

At the rear the LM002 features two springs and dampers per wheel, while the front features a spring-within-a-spring suspension unit, with the two springs wound in opposite directions. With no service tool in existence to disassemble the front unit, Attilio created his own rig to compress and remove the two springs in one operation. Once apart, all components were inspected then sent to be powder coated.

1987 Lamborghini LM002 The LM002 was the very definition of utility vehicle.Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

An up close look at the power plant revealed that the water pump had been leaking though the bearing seals. The housing had also fractured. With that part no longer stocked, Bell Sports & Classic relied on the expertise of Chesman Engineering of Coventry to create an entirely new pump to original specification.

Aside from the water pump, the LM002's engine was in relatively good condition. There were only had 13,690 miles on the power plant. It was in fine condition. The same could not be said for the transmission, which saw its dog gear and center diff damaged. A replacement was listed at over £6,000 and no new units were available. Attilio used his expertise to reshape the teeth using die grinders and files to get it back in proper working order.

The non-standard rear exhaust box was replaced with an original spec system.

1987 Lamborghini LM002 Most of the car's interior leather is original.Photo courtesy of Bell Sport & Classic

This LM002 was finished in a Blu Acupulco Metallizato paint job and had its cabin trimmed in light grey leather. Most of the leatherwork was just repairs as its good condition allowed for just minor touchups. All door deals were replaced.

The 1987 Lamborghini LM 002 is currently for sale by Bell Sports & Customs and listed at £285,000.

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Buying guide

How to buy a modified car: Three tips

This is a clean modified truck, but they don't all end up this way.

Bring a Trailer

Modified cars are a mixed bag. Sometimes, they're incredibly well built and better than the original, but too many times they're only partially finished or end up being rushed as their owners get late-project anxiety. Whatever the case, buying a modified car can be a stressful process if you haven't done your homework ahead of time. The good news is that you can get a good deal on a reasonably well sorted project or modified car, but you'll need to be careful. Looking at used Lexus LXs earlier today, it became clear that there are as many modified vehicles for sale as there are clean examples.

This LX got me thinking about the breakdown between buying a rig and building one. The modifications made by this Lexus' seller are almost exactly what I would do if I were building a light overlanding rig. What could go wrong? I'm still on the fence about the Lexus, but the three topics below will help you make the right decision on buying a modified car.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Even if the mods are well done, you'll want to have the vehicle inspected before you buy.Bring a Trailer

Understand your personal taste

I mentioned the LX470 and how the owner's updates were pretty close to what I'd do with the truck. That's an exception to the rule, because 90 percent of the time I walking away from a sales listing because of modifications, rather than the other way around. If you're hoping to find a tastefully modified car that matches your exact tastes, you could be waiting a while. If you're hoping to sell a modified car, the same is true in reverse. Finding a buyer for your extremely personalized project car may not be the easiest thing you've ever done.

2004 Lexus LX 470 It's a good idea to seek out vehicles in solid shape, regardless of mods.Bring a Trailer

Be aware of condition and quality

This Lexus looks to be well maintained and in good shape. It also doesn't hurt that the LX is one of the most reliable vehicles built by one of the world's most quality-conscious automakers. Even so, it's hard to know what you're getting with this, or any other, modified vehicle. There's a little rust in this image, but the lift kit, wheels, and bumper mods all look good. However, even if the truck looked brand-new, you'd want to get a pre-purchase inspection. An independent mechanic can tell you if there are potential issues that are unrelated to mods, and you'll want to be sure that any modifications are installed properly.

2004 Lexus LX 470 Some mods are more useful than others.Bring a Trailer

Keep an eye on the price

Most people are reasonable when it comes to selling their modified cars, but there are hundreds of "I know what I got" memes on the internet for a reason. Some sellers want to recover every penny of the money they spent customizing their cars. They're convinced that the mods drastically increased the car's value and can't understand why the customized car isn't as attractive to you as it is to them. Tread lightly and be careful not to insult the owner, but it's your job to work toward a reasonable, fair price.

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New AWD performance car

The Subaru WRX is all-new for 2022

The new WRX's body cladding is already stirring up controversy.

Subaru

The Subaru WRX is a rally-bred performance car that offers a unique mix of rowdy all-wheel drive fun, a value price, and youthful styling. The car is long overdue for an update, though, and Subaru is doing just that for the 2022 model year. The fifth-generation WRX is all-new, and features a more powerful engine, along with several go-fast upgrades.

2022 Subaru WRX Both a manual and an automatic transmission will be offered.Subaru

A new GT trim joins the WRX lineup for 2022. It features a new automatic transmission, adaptive dampers, and drive mode selections. With various customization options available to the driver, the system offers up to 430 different settings combinations. The GT's interior adds Recaro seats wrapped in Ultrasuede with red stitching. The GT also gets exclusive 18-inch wheels.

Though still a Boxer engine, the 2022 WRX's powerplant is new and more powerful than before. It delivers 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, as well as a broader torque curve. Subaru says that the larger engine plus an electronically controlled turbo wastegate and air bypass valves improve responsiveness and acceleration.

2022 Subaru WRX A larger 11.6-inch infotainment screen is on board. Subaru

All WRX models come with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel drive system and active torque vectoring, which can shift power to individual wheels that need the most traction. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but a new Subaru Performance Transmission is available, which features faster shifts and other features to improve performance.

The 2022 WRX also gets a tech upgrade that brings a large 11.6-inch tablet-style touchscreen. It runs Subaru Starlink infotainment, handles HVAC and vehicle controls, and offers split-screen functionality for two apps to run simultaneously. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Bluetooth, SiriusXM radio, and HD radio. An upgraded version of the system also offers navigation with three years of free map updates.

2022 Subaru WRX Subaru will offer a new GT trim with upgraded suspension and finishes.Subaru

As it has done with many of its other vehicles, Subaru is equipping every WRX with its EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids. The packge includes lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, and more. A new available automatic emergency steering system works with the car's pre-collision braking feature to help avoid collisions at speeds under 50 mph.

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