– Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos&Video: Selectnine.
To most people the Lamborghini Aventador is perfection; a package that cannot be improved on, the pinnacle of automotive audaciousness, a shameless car that is as aggressive on the ears as it is to the eyes. To a select few, it’s merely the start point for even wilder possibilities. But who can you trust to modify an Aventador? Is there a workshop in Australia with staff who actually know what they’re doing? Those questions were answered long ago by the owner of this particular LP-700. In the last year he has shipped three of his own super-cars across the border to Heasman Steering & Suspension for customisation, and they have proved their trustworthiness every time.
Knowing there was an Aventador being pulled apart for upgrades we had to go and take a closer look. Brad from Heasman took time out to chat with us about the project and exactly what it feels like to modify an $800,000+ car. “The owner wanted a more aggressive looking and sounding car,” he explained. That may sound like hogwash, but even a Lambo benefits from individual flourishes.
“Originally the owner just wanted us to lower it. There was too much of a gap between the top of the tyre and the guard and it took away from the car’s aggressive look. When it arrived a few more jobs were added to the list. He wasn’t happy with the colour of the brakes and springs (visible through the glass engine cover) and it had the factory Aventador wheels. He wanted to get rid of the factory look,” says Brad.
Working on cars of this calibre is nothing new for the Heasman team. They’ve been doing it for decades, so even modifying an Aventador is just another day at the office. We had to know what it’s like to pull apart something so exquisite. “It’s the same as every other car we work on here, we take a lot of care,” says Brad. “The Lamborghini build quality is very, very good. Everything is perfect. With a lot of new cars you can tell that there’s things they decided to add at the last minute, it always stands out. On this car nothing was like that, everything was in its place.”
“We went with Signal Green for the coloured details, but before we painted the springs we had to be sure we had the ride height correct. For the rear that meant a custom order of springs and sending the factory Ohlins dampeners to Ohlins in Melbourne to be shortened to our spec. That way we kept the new spring captive and rebuilt the dampener to function at its new height.”
Purists and enthusiasts get protective of rare gems like the Aventador, and plenty of commenters have said a word or two about it. “We had a lot of people adamant that we were ruining the handling of this car by lowering it. The simple belief was that because it was so low it would have no travel and would not handle. We want to make it very clear that we were not. Pushrod suspension allows the car to be very low without sacrificing suspension travel or dampener rates,” Brad tells us.
“Adjusting the rear was the easy part. The front was much more difficult due to the fact it has a front lifter system to allow it to get over speed bumps and out of driveways,” says Brad. At the touch of a button, the front end of the car can raise itself for more ground clearance. An extremely useful feature in a car such as this. “The lifter system was something we needed to keep fully functional. With its new ride height it would need it more than ever!”
“The front lifter is like a hydraulic ram. It pushes the spring seat up, therefore raising the front of the car. But for the spring seat to move up and down the shock body needs to be lubricated. That meant we had to machine grease channels and fit seals inside the spring seats to allow the lifter system to function without issue. We had some custom-spec Eibach main and tender springs made to get the ride height we were after.”
“Speaking with the owner we had to ask him if he wanted his car to sound like even more like a Formula 1 car. It was a question we already knew the answer to. We are an agent for Innotech Performance Exhaust, a company making very high quality exhausts for high-end cars. We fitted an IPE Valvetronic muffler to the car which allows the owner to control the level of noise the car makes,” explains Brad
Rolling stock matters on any car, but Aventador wheels are hard to beat. So what do you do? Get more Aventador wheels! Roadster wheels to be precise. “When they arrived they were factory grey and immediately sent off the be painted gloss black,” says Brad. The matte over gloss look is perfect but paintwork like this isn’t easy to live with.
“The hardest thing with this car was that it’s painted matte black from factory, and if it gets a scratch it means respraying the whole car. For some reason a lot of people have a fascination with touching matte cars to see if they are wrapped or painted, and the last thing we wanted was marks on the paint, so everyone who worked on the car was keeping a very close eye on it.”
Although suspension setups are the bread and butter of what Heasman do, the Aventador presented a few new challenges. “Pushrod suspension is something you don’t see everyday on a road car. There was a lot of dismantling to get to usually easily accessible parts. For example we had to pull the whole storage compartment out of the front of the car along with all interior linings just to get to the front shocks.”
“There was literally nothing in the front end when it was apart. It was rather odd looking at all the aluminium double-wishbone suspension setup and not seeing a shock or spring!” Racecar technology like pushrod suspension is perfect for the Aventador’s sleek, slanted nose, allowing for proper suspension travel and making room for the front driveshafts.
So all said and done, what is it like to drive? “The ride quality is the same as factory, but it looks right and the sound is amazing. People stop whatever they are doing and just stare. Camera phones are out everywhere you look. When I was taking the owner for his first test drive, we made it 50 metres down the street before being pulled over by undercover detectives. They had us on the side of the road for 10 minutes admiring the car before sending us on our way!”
“There is nothing you can compare to these cars,” says Brad. “The way you sit in them, how they feel, the look of the instrument cluster. It’s just an awesome place to be. And that noise! Plans now are to just enjoy it.”