As its name implies, this 2017 Lamborghini Centenario was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s birth. As it happens, the occasion also marked the 50th anniversary of the day the original supercar, the midengine Miura, was unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1966. The Miura established Lamborghini’s reputation for bold innovation, a reputation bolstered by the Espada, Islero, Jarama and Urraco that followed. All were quality grand-touring cars, but collectively, they failed to establish an identity that would serve to define the company. Then along came the Countach, and with it, proof that Lamborghini had thrown off any vestigial remnants of restraint in its approach to producing weapons-grade supercars, even as financial clouds began to gather over the company’s Sant’ Agata headquarters.

Fast forward to 2016; the company has survived two worldwide economic downturns, a bankruptcy and a string of eventually indifferent owners before reaching stability and experiencing a resurgence under the Volkswagen Group’s sound management and protective vertical integration. Production is at an all-time high, thanks to the success of the contemporary Aventador and Huracán, with support from a series of one-off concepts and a thriving engine business. Lamborghini’s image as a purveyor of radically conceived V-12-powered Italian thoroughbreds is at its zenith and still in the ascendant. The timing for a breakout creation to commemorate two of the most important moments in Lamborghini history was perfect, and at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show Lamborghini lit the fuse, unveiling the transcendentally flamboyant Centenario and announcing a production limit of 20 coupes and 20 roadsters. That the Centenario was priced at roughly $2 million mattered not a wit; all 20 coupes were spoken for before the Geneva show closed its doors for another year.

Hand-built in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, and barely touched at just 210 original miles, this 2017 Centenario is one of but a small handful built for delivery to the U.S., and of those, the only example finished in ominous Nero Alderbaran with red trim. It is nearly impossible to gaze upon this extraordinary machine and not imagine a spaceship that would put the Millennium Falcon to shame, its angry visage crouched low over the road as if poised to launch forward into hyperspace. At first glance it defies immediate visual assessment, the effect created by its extreme height-width ratio; the Centenario is 45 inches high and, not counting the mirrors, almost 7 feet wide. Both its monocoque chassis and sharp-edged body panels are rendered in carbon fiber, the styling and detailing signature Lamborghini cranked up to 11. The exterior surfaces are punctuated with scoops and vents, their placement and angle of attack orchestrated to cut through the air like so many knives; the rear diffuser is as boldly stylized as it is efficient, and the 20-inch forged wheels feature carbon fiber blades to channel cooling air past the ventilated and cross-drilled carbon-ceramic disc brakes.

Contrary to the present rush toward computer-managed turbo and hybrid technology, the Centenario’s whooping dry-sump 6.5L 60-degree V-12 is naturally aspirated using multi-port fuel injection, delivering 759 HP to the car’s all-wheel drive system through a 7-speed independent shift rod automatic transmission. The pushrod magnetorheological active front and rear double-wishbone suspension incorporates horizontal dampers and springs with electronic stability control, variable-ratio hydraulic power steering and Lamborghini’s rear steering system. The electronically controlled rear spoiler’s activation is just one factor in the range of three integrated driving modes that take the Centenario from 0-60 MPH in 2.8 seconds and top it out at 217 MPH. With appointments that include carbon fiber sport seats and an infotainment center with a large 10.1-inch screen, the Centenario can go from comfortable cruise to ferocious acceleration in a split second, the very essence of that ageless Lamborghini magic. As one of only 20 built, the Centenario is one of the most exclusive and sought-after entries in the World Supercar sweepstakes, presenting an opportunity not to be missed.

This vehicle will be offered by Mecum as LOT S139 during their Monterey event, running from August 15-17.

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