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LAMBORGHINI ISLERO GT 24H LE MANS 1975

After 20 years of intense investigations, Olivier NAMECHE Lamborghini Club Belgium President has
discovered the Lamborghini Islero Le Mans which bears VIN #6009 in a barn find near Clermont Ferrand in
France back in 2008, where it remained almost 24 years without moving.

When #6009 was bought, it was still complete, no parts missing, it was configured back in street use. With
an external fuel can, the engine started and ran for 5 minutes. Since 2009, #6009 is under restoration.

It was carefully dismantled, then sand blasted, and the restoration process started.
The whole body & frame have been rebuilt to highest standard, 60% were replaced or rebuilt, better than
original, it took 4 years to finalise that process performed by a single handcraft specialist compagnon
well known in France : Rmy LEDUC.

Then in 2013, it went to UK to have its rollcage rebuilt to FIA/ACO specifications performed by CUSTOM
ROLL CAGE. In 2014, brakes, central hubs & suspension parts have been rebuilt by Belgian specialist
ANTOINE, long time LCB member who had started his career as a mechanic at SOCARIA (1st Lamborghini
importer) back in the 60s. Then, it has changed hands..

The engine/gearbox/diff are under rebuilt performed by French marque specialist TS Automobiles - Toni
SISSINI.

The worst work is over, it is now easy to finalise its restoration, it needs now : paintjob, finalising the
engine rebuilt and the overall reassembly.

The goal is to present it at Le Mans Classic revival 2016 first week end of July.

History

Back in 1975, Le Mans 24 Hours was for the first time under an internal crisis. Car categories were
technically defined by the FIA, but the ACO managing the 24 Hours Le Mans race decided for the first time
to restrict fuel consumption due to the international petrol crisis of the 70s. Therefore, ACO limited fuel
quantities for each category without FIAs approbation.

Among all the categories, there was one specific called GTX or Production GT.

A French local car dealer, Paul Rilly, got involved in GTX by creating his racing team. Rilly and his friend
Robert Le Vve will accomplish their common dream : racing at Le Mans once in their life.

At first, Rilly was planning to run his CEGGA-Ferrari Barchetta, but its engine blow up in March. So he
decided to attempt the event with a Porsche 911 and filled in the entry form, ACO document #16086 signed
on 1975 7th April.

Earlier in February 75, Paul Rilly bought a basket of cars including a second hand Islero to Garage Europ
Sport, near Monthlry race track (south Paris). It was a silver metallic car with black leather interior for his
everyday use. Being registered for Le Mans with his 911, he was now dreaming to race his Lambo instead of
911. That idea leaded him to contact French Lamborghini importer : Garage Thpenier at Paris.

Seduced by that project, Thpenier invited Rilly to Lamborghini factory by the end of April. There, Rilly also
asked Ubaldo Sgarzi to borrow a racing car. As everybody knows the answer was IMPOSSIBLE, because
there is no racing car built by Lamborghini factory. But, Sgarzi offered Rilly to rent a special brake kit and a
sport suspension to upgrade Isleros performances, in exchange of a deposit of 15.000 FFR (around 12.000
euro or 16.000 US$ nowadays).

Back in France, Rilly started to organize its Lamborghini puzzle The silver colour wasnt enough attractive
to his taste

He had it resprayed in Rosso Corsa (kind of red/orange tangerine). GTX category didnt allow too many
modifications : a roll cage, specific fuel tank 100 litres, harness belt, lighting for the number sticker on
door, quick straps hood, special exhaust, the brakes upgrade and finally the suspension.
.

Rilly modified the entry form for the Islero, ACO document #27251 signed on 1975 2nd June. Islero will wear
N34.

11th June, official tests started. Of course, Rilly and Le Vve were expecting to be qualified but they met
with some troubles.

At first, the car was unstable at the end of the long straight line of Hunaudires while hard braking. In the
second practice session, Edmond Ciclet (Thpenier importers chief mechanic) modified air boxes in order to
increase fresh air flow and tuned the Weber carbs. The following day, Rilly wanted to increase final engine
power by replacing the original exhausts by shorter ones coming from a Ford Capri RS
Well, this was done without any other modifications. As a result, Islero was losing 1.600 rpm in top rev in
fifth gear in the Hunaudires. Rilly called importer Thpenier and Edmond Ciclet provided instructions by
phone to tune the carbs correctly in order to enrich the mix.

Then, the top speed was around 265 km/h but a new problem showed up : due to racing tires ride height
and to the lowered suspension, the shorter exhausts were hitting asphalt in curves. Again, the small French
Team was loosing time. As you imagine other competitors in GTX category were much more competitive
and the gap separating Islero to these cars was bigger and bigger.

Friday afternoon, Rilly left the steering wheel to a Formula 2 racing driver hoping qualification time will be
better.
What a mistake
First of all, time lap wasnt that much improved but that guy crashed Islero on the Armco (safety rails).
Rilly was very disappointed, his mechanics tried to fix the car without success and later in the afternoon he
received the last qualification time. Officially, Islero will not start - withdrew best lap time was 5:28,00.

Disappointed Rilly left Le Mans with his Islero on trailer back home while his mechanics were taking care of
the tools.
You may believe at this point, that story is ending that attempt. Destiny was even worst

Luigi Chinetti Ferrari NART received also the qualification list for the 24 Hours and unfortunately one of his
Ferrari wasnt qualified : N17 308 GT4 S category, with a lap in 4:32,90. He requested ACO officials to
admit his Ferrari and threatened them to withdraw all NART cars. No way was the ACOs answer, upset
Chinetti withdrew all his cars.

For the first time none of NART cars were on the grid line : N45 365 GTB/4 in GTS category ; N46 365
GTB/4 and N99 365 GT4 BB both in the GTX category.

With the lack of cars left by Luigi Chinetti for the start, ACO officials made a selection among the unqualified
cars in order to fill in the vacant places. Regarding the GTX category, they decided to accept the Islero

Someone came to Rillys box in order to inform him with that hopeless admission. One of Pauls friends was
still standing there among parts and tools. He collected the unbelievable great info. Unfortunately cell
phones were not existing, he tried to call Rillys home many times without any answer
Saturday morning, he finally informed Rilly ! But it was already too late to bring the car back to Le Mans,
warm up was over yet and another car took his place.
Rillys Islero should have been the first Lamborghini to attempt the 24 Hours of Le Mans, no doubt about it.
These informations were collected and confirmed to me by one of senior Le Mans - ACO officials, Mr.
Guyomard.

Here is so far its complete story :

#6009 is the first Islero delivered in France in beginning of June 68 to French importer VPM (Voitures Paris
Monceau). It is the 3rd Islero prototipo.

First French registration was 1968 12th July by V.P.M.

French journalist "Jos Rosinski" tested it in June with garage license plate while it had 4.000 km on tacho
and published an article in French "Sport Auto magazine" in July 1968 issue.

He wrote in this article that Islero was still a prototype, the third one produced. Colour was light green
verde pallido (pale green) with black leather, no A/C option. Jos Rosinski wrote the car had a bad
handling while braking. Then Mr. Lamy (commercial manager of VPM) asked his chief mechanic Edmond
Ciclet to double check this. 2 days later, Edmond went to test it. At that time, new highway from Paris to
Chartres, was a good place for this practise near the hill down of Monthlery track, Edmond Ciclet was
surprised by a traffic almost stopped while arriving at top speed. He avoided a car and a truck but
unfortunately loose control, hit the armaco seriously. The Islero was wrecked, almost totalled. But it should
be ready by October 1968 to attempt the "Salon de Paris" exhibition. Edmond went to the factory and spent
3 weeks in order to have it fixed.

It was the first Islero available for potential buyers driving test and another one was presented on the
V.P.M. stand to French Public at Paris exhibition. Then, it was sold and delivered to an unknown person.
Since, it never showed again to importers place and Edmond Ciclet never heard about it anymore until the
Le Mans experience...

Second owner, a Lord who was residing in South of France - Var, registered it in 1971 14th October.
Apparently the light green colour didnt please him because he had it changed into silver. In late 74, he
sold it to Garage Europ Sport near Monthlry. Paul Rilly was making a lot of business with that garage and
when he saw the silver Italian Bull in February 75, he bought it immediately with a basket of several
common cars.

Rilly used it as an everyday car but didnt register it, keeping the previous owners license plate. After the
Le Mans experience, we all know it was in orange tangerine colour since Rilly had it resprayed. Rilly left the
car as it was during Le Manss qualification, enjoying the exhaust roar until he got a cop ticket for the
noisy exhaust. So, he was obliged to register it on his name by the end of 75.

Finally like many people, he sold the car back to Garage Europ Sport at the end of first trimester 77.
The Islero GT was sold to a guy Mr David living in Paris area back in 1977. That young man didnt register
it too, keeping Rillys license plate. A year or two later, he came back to that garage to buy a Jaguar or a
Porsche. Islero was sold again.

Since Rillys Islero disappeared, there was no more information about it. The young man committed suicide
in late 80s and losing that trail.

Among all researches, travelling all over Europe, trying to find racing evidences on each Islero the hunter
could look at

How Rillys Islero VIN number has been identified ?

Among all the trails and informations collected, there was an ACO-24H Le Mans document on which the
hunter has identified a digit sequence that could have been a registration plate number. He has sent letters
to all French Departments Prefet asking if a link could be made with the number plate and VIN number ?

Months later, one day, he received an official document coming from French authorities-Prefet. This letter is
attesting and matching the registration license plate written on one the ACO documents to the VIN number
#6009. Eureka ! Now, the car was officially identified.

Paul Rilly helped the hunter a lot providing copies of all ACO documents hes always hold.

At the end of 2008, the miracle happened and the tale ended.

Among the 5,916 Vintage Lamborghini models produced during the first 25 years of the factory
(including all Countach 25th, but not the LM002)

Lamborghini Islero GT #6009 is The Only One Lamborghini eligible for 24H Le Mans Classic Revival.
Since, it is in professional hands with no spares of cost to resurrect it, to bring it to live into its Le Mans
racing configuration.
Will next 2016 Le Mans edition be crowned by the rebirth of the mythic Lamborghini having attempted the
1975 Le Mans 24 Hours qualifications ?

Wait and see

Info ? Please contact : torov12@proximus.be