Adam Saruwatari is an automotive anarchist. Yes, he's a legend in import drag racing, but his passion for cars knows no loyalties, no politics or purist discourse. Despite what he's best known for, Saruwatari says: "I love European exotics more than life itself."
His Lamborghini Gallardo makes it obvious. Having started his European love affair with a Ferrari 355 in 1998, Saruwatari knows it's as if he's violated some international law. "It's sacrilegious to love Lambo and Ferrari at the same time," he says. But he doesn't care.
With the Gallardo, he loves the styling and the reliability. Funny when referring to a luxury exotic such as this, though when you've taken apart as many cars as Saruwatari, it isn't. "I didn't like the service the 355 required," he says. "Since then, supercars have become more available, producing a move to the tuner side, with more desire for individualism." When he started to play with the Lambo, Saruwatari says he was only reassured of its reliability and good components. The result, when reassembled his own way, is a style that enhances the Gallardo's look without changing it too much.
"Because of my Japanese origins, I first tend to gravitate to what looks best." For the Gallardo, he didn't go with the widebody style. The car reflects careful decisions. Outside, he started with a Hamann limited-edition body kit with carbon fiber work done by Extreme Exotics on the front spoiler, side skirts and rear valance. Tubi did the front air inlets and rear grilles, Mira Course the rear wing, MA the headlight washer covers, and GMG provided the rear undertray. Currently, Saruwatari and GMG are working on a carbon-fiber rear engine hatch with a Lexan rear window-as opposed to the factory glass piece with aluminum parts-for a weight loss of about 50 percent.
Engine-wise, he changed to a Gruppe M carbon-fiber intake, with Extreme Exotics providing the stainless steel headers, titanium exhaust and tuned DME. All engine compartment components-firewall, panels, exhaust vents, and inner engine cover-are carbon fiber (from Tubi, which also supplied the carbon-ceramic exhaust tips).
For the interior, every cluster, handle, module, surround, vent, what have you, is carbon fiber-from MA's full interior kit. To mix it up, Extreme Exotics lends its touch to the doorsills and Mira Course did the carbon fiber steering wheel with its raging bull airbag.
The custom-built iForged Aero wheels have a brushed center with a polished outer lip, complemented Nitto Invo tires, same size as stock in the front, but wider (10mm) and bigger (20 inches instead of 19) in the rear. The performance-tuned suspension springs are from Extreme Exotics.
For paint, Saruwatari brings many of his cars to a local guy on Main Street in the tiny farming town of Guadalupe, California, near his shop and family's farm. Saruwatari feels "it's the craftsman, not the tools."
So why alter a machine already considered to be crafted perfectly? "I have an inability to leave anything alone," he says. Then why not do the predictable, and turn the Gallardo into a twin-turbo? Perhaps Saruwatari isn't as dissident or radical as he seems. "I think about it," he says, "but reliability is still important. I don't want to find myself broken down on the side of the road."
2007 Lamborghini Gallardo
Longitudinal mid engine, all-wheel drive
5.0-liter V10, dohc, 40-valve, Gruppe M carbon intake, Extreme Exotics stainless steel headers, titanium exhaust, software, Tubi carbon ceramic exhaust tips and carbon fiber engine bay accents
Extreme Exotics springs
*Wheels And Tires
IForged Aero alloys, 8.5x19 (f)11x20 (r)Nitto Invo, 235/35 (f), 305/25 (r)