Lambo’s Polo Storico department is the Italian supercar manufacturer’s restoration arm. With their own vintage shed at the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory, if you give them a bent and broken Lamborghini of old, enough money and plenty of time, they’ll bend it back into shape with such a detailed eye for perfection that when they’re done with it it’ll look like it just rolled off the line.
Over the past few years, everything from a one-off Miura SVR (a car its manufacturer describes as “one of the most astonishing Lamborghinis ever built”) to monstrous LM002s have been freshly restored to their former glory. Recently, Polo Storico got to work on one of the most intriguing Lambos ever, the 1992 Minardi M191B.
The Minardi was one of only a few interactions that Lamborghini had with the world of Formula One. When turbocharging was outlawed in 1989, Lamborghini stepped up to the plate with a screaming V12. And what an engine. A big engine. A screaming 3.5-litre V12. It first went in a Larrousse Lola chassis, as, being new to the sport, Lambo didn’t want to put the V12 into a top-tier team just in case it went pop and ruined its credibility as an engine manufacturer. When it rolled out at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, many ears in and around the paddock agreed that it was the best sounding engine on the grid. However, it was quite unreliable.
The Minardi M191B was another to have received that V12. The car that Polo Storico has been working on is chassis #003. It didn’t achieve any major victories (the closest a Lambo got to a podium was finishing third at the 1990 Japanese GP) with the M191B’s best result an eleventh-place finish at the hands of Christian Fittipaldi at the 1992 Spanish Grand Prix.
The deep blue M191B is the first F1 car that Polo Storico has gone to town on, and boy they went to town. Being one of the last properly analogue F1 cars before technology, telemetry and electronics took over, it was a simpler and more mechanical car to work on. To spruce the single-seater up, the 700bhp twelve-cylinder was taken apart and fully restored, a new fuel tank was fitted, ECU slotted in, new period-correct tyres were sourced, while modern seat belts, and fire suppression system were added. The work was all done under the stern watch of the Minardi team owner, Giancarlo Minardi who has given the car his blessing.
And boy does a Lamborghini F1 car sound good. Check it out for yourself by clicking play in the video here as Lamborghini Squadra Corse factory driver, Mirko Bortolotti shakes it down.