Driving A Lamborghini Huracán EVO Spyder Through Skyfall Country Along Scotland’s North Coast 500
Story by Nick Hendrix
Photography by Michael Shelford
Ferruccio Lamborghini was a competitive man. When he complained to Enzo Ferrari that his cars weren’t good enough, Ferrari apparently promptly informed Ferruccio that he “may be able to drive a tractor, but you’ll never handle a Ferrari properly.” Without this exchange, we might not have received the Miura, the Countach, nor cars much further down the Lamborghini timeline, like this Huracán EVO Spyder that I spent an awe-inspiring five days with. Needless to say, I’m glad Ferruccio started building sports cars.
Having gained most of my automotive inspiration from watching and reading Jeremy Clarkson, I followed his advice for this journey, as he once claimed Scotland’s North Coast 500 (the NC500) as the best road trip “in the world.” Along with my journalistic wingman, photographer Michael Shelford, I set about putting the potent baby Lambo through its paces on some of the UK’s greatest roads.
Under the large umbrella of Volkswagen for some time now, Lamborghini products have become more reliable and manageable, but one hopes that the theatrics and drama we know and love about the Lamborghini stereotype still shine through. As for the NC500, we just hoped that traffic jams and camper vans wouldn’t curtail the chance to exercise this V10 and admire the rugged landscape at speed.
Thankfully we’d chosen to drive the NC500 during the tail-end of winter, which I can’t recommend enough. The air was crisp, the roads were empty, and there was still a dusting of snow left over from the winter to give the scene a Tolkien-esque grandeur. Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe the Huracán’s jacked-up younger brother, the Urus SUV, would be better suited to these surroundings, and it’s a fair point should you try to leave the pavement, but the NC500 is more of a racetrack laid through a wilderness than a dirt track carved out of one. So, although the all-wheel drive system in the Huracán is a marvel, it’s more useful up here for proving how well the car corners than pulling itself up a snowy berm.
Having collected the Huracán from Lamborghini HQ, we loaded it up with luggage and set-off on our way. The most immediately noticeable but not unpredictable aspect of this two-seat mid-engine spyder was the limited storage. When I say limited, reduce whatever you’re thinking by half and that’s probably pretty close. A change of underwear and a toothbrush filled up the frunk, and after deploying a box of Tic-Tac’s and a Twix, the cockpit was full too. Thankfully, within a few seconds of pressing the start/stop button, the need for extra clothes and toiletries became decidedly unimportant.
It’s best to start in Inverness and head north, as the landscape grows in stature as you follow the 516-mile, near-circular route. As you head up the east coast, the litany of world-famous distilleries throws the perils of drinking and driving into a whole new dimension—it’s best to keep your foot down, both to avoid the temptation to stop as well as those who couldn’t.
Once you flip the playfully dramatic ANIMA switch into Sport, you hear (and to a lesser degree feel) the soundtrack drop a couple of octaves and the voice of a ten-cylinder Thor vibrate through the back of your head. A slight twitch forward of the right foot and the acceleration throws the car forward down the road and you backward into the seat with equal force. It’s effortless pace, and during the first hard pull through a few gears I think I heard Michael scream a bit from the passenger seat, the V10 cacophony made it hard to hear anything else.
A cozy night’s pit-stop and a hearty breakfast later, we found ourselves being questioned by armed police outside a nuclear power station. Ironically, I was encouraged by the man with a machine gun to enjoy the car on these highland roads, as there were “no police up here.” “Except for you?” I proffered. “Ha! We couldn’t catch you if we wanted to.” We shared a knowing look as we both clocked his standard issue Mitsubishi Shogun, and I resisted the urge to enjoy the benefits of launch control upon our departure.
After the suspiciously isolated power station faded into the background, the landscape built from glades to glens and the hills became mountains as the grass turned to heather. It was strikingly beautiful, and although being a Spyder means additional weight and the loss of a potential rear parcel shelf, the ability to fill every peripheral view with Scotland’s beauty was worth the cost. The amount of rain we could take in before having to put the roof up became a reoccurring question, but for these views we were happy to get a little wet as we plunged through the fog.
The real party piece that the Highlands has to offer is the kaleidoscope of worlds to drive through. On our way to a particularly rural bed and breakfast, we drove through rain, sunshine, hail, and a bonafide blizzard on the same tank of fuel. In one moment you’re weaving effortlessly through a sunny alpine idyll and the next you’re battling a Himalaya-grade snowstorm. All this creates the most extraordinary road test for a car, especially a supercar that one may expect to be more at home (unfortunately) outside the Café de Paris in Monaco than splashing its neon orange paint across snow-covered mountains.
Ready for another dose of Scottish hospitality, we stopped at The Torridon, a stunningly located hunting lodge, where we enjoyed a warming meal and a thorough vetting of their 365 whisky options—everywhere you stay up there is well stocked of course, but this place really wore the crown. Tanked up on their finest liquor, we headed to bed, exhausted by this beautiful place (and the 600 deep squats I’d done getting in and out of the low-slung Lambo—every day was leg day with that car!)
As we whipped down the iconic Bealach na Bà (the NC500’s most “Instagrammed” road) with the Skyfall soundtrack filling the 007-worthy valley, we reflected on the days past. We noted that the hospitality of the Scots is as generous as their breakfast portions, and that we probably had too much whisky each night. It was one of those “when in Rome” situations we were happy to oblige. As for the car, well, of course it didn’t disappoint. We may want an Aston to feel suave, a Volvo to feel protected, a Bentley to feel stately, but should you want to feel a bit outrageous, a Lamborghini is still an easy choice.
If you want to be in a cockpit that looks like a computer game and drive something with styling dreamt up by a nine-year-old NASA engineer who’s had too many sweets, the Huracán delivers. Every time I got out and turned back to remind myself what I was driving, a childish grin swept across my face and lingered. And the best thing is that it’s actually usable (thank you VW), which makes it one of the best ways to indulge in the limitless charms of Scotland’s North Coast 500. And while you may only be able to take a pair of shorts and a couple of cameras with you in the Lambo, to be honest it’s probably all you really need.