We’ve previously reported that the Lamborghini LP 780-4 Ultimae’ now resting on the bottom of the ocean could be nigh on impossible to replace, but the prayers of its owners must have been heard, because the halo supercar is going back into production.
The Ultimae was designed as the Aventador’s final and greatest outing, so it just wouldn’t do to have 15 of the world’s most exclusive cars enjoyed only by passing jellyfish. During a roundtable with CEO Stephan Winkelmann and journalists, he confirmed there’s been a “great effort” to reignite the supply chain required to get the cars built so they can fulfil customer orders in the US.
A run of 350 Ultimae coupes and 250 roadsters was originally planned, decked out with the most powerful naturally-aspirated V12 engine in the Italian firm’s history - producing a screaming 769bhp from its 6.5 litres. The modified Lamborghini Aventador SVJ engine was designed as a swansong for Lambo internal combustion engines, ahead of the arrival of electrification. When it isn’t waterlogged, the Ultimae can reach 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds and top out at 220mph.
In fact, Lamborghini will reportedly be able to replace all 85 Aventadors destined for customers Stateside, with the 15 Ultimae models being the biggest headache to cure. Other luxury manufacturers within the Volkswagen Group were also badly affected, and Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark told Automotive News Europe that they have “already found a solution” to replace 100 of the 189 cars lost to the depths. Good news for customers, although they will have to wait longer than originally planned for their new luxury car.
Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi also says there’s a plan to replace the 1,800 cars it lost, noting “It will take some time, but we will do our best.” Speaking on his podcast, journalist and YouTuber Matt Farah discussed Porsche’s offer to either replace his Porsche 718 Spyder with a similarly-specced model, or wait for his car to be rebuilt at the factory.
Felicity Ace Fire And Sinking
The Felicity Ace and the circa-4000 cars it was carrying are now at the bottom of the Atlantic. The roll-on-roll-off cargo ship caught fire on 24 February and burned for more than a week, and due to a combination of structural issues caused by the blaze and rough seas, it sank while under tow.
An operation was underway to haul the 200-metre long vessel to safety. But as tugboats began to tow it, the Felicity Ace started to take on water, the port captain of the nearby island of Faial told Reuters. It lost stability after developing a list of 45 degrees to the starboard side, soon disappearing beneath the waves about 220 miles off the coast of the Azores archipelago and just beyond the Portuguese Economic and Exclusive Zone.
According to the Portuguese Navy, the sinking left some small pieces of debris and a patch of oily residue which was dispersed using water jets from tugboats. After refuelling, a patrol vessel carrying anti-pollution equipment and divers will return to the area, where the water is around 3000 metres deep.
The Felicity Ace was transporting thousands of VW Group cars from Emden in Germany to Rhode Island in the USA. And yes, that includes many from the firm’s luxury brands. Porsche had around 1100 cars on board, and Bentley nearly 200. Dozens of Lamborghini models were in the holds - mostly of the Urus SUV variety, but also a number of Huracan and Aventador supercars.
Around the same time, hipping claims company WK Webster reported: “The fire has spread throughout the entire length of the vessel and it appears that everything above the waterline has been burnt”, adding, “vehicles stowed below the waterline will likely also be affected by burning debris from upper decks and fire-fighting water”. In the latest images from the Portuguese Navy, we can see just how extensive the damage was. It looks…crispy.
This puts Lamborghini in a similar position to Porsche in 2019, when the German brand put the 911 GT2 RS back into production for just four examples lost in the sinking of the Grande America. The task was, at least, made easier by the 991-generation 911 remaining in production at the time.
As for the Porsches lost on the Felicity Ace, the sheer number onboard means many are likely to be special models. Lead times for replacement vehicles will vary depending on the brand and model - Lamborghini’s Andrea Baldi said the aftermath “could become a six-month delay.”
According to the Russell Group, the total value of the now lost cars is $401 million.