You could hardly make up the story of Ferruccio Lamborghini, the tractor leopard whose name eventually graced sports cars. What is it about tractor dudes? David Brown, who saved Aston Martin, was also a heavy-duty earthmover type. The timing couldn't have been more perfect for a new exotic back in the mid '60s. Sure, the 350 and 400 GT models were acceptable, but the Miura made everything else seem less important and unleashed future possibilities. How many times have you watched the opening of The Italian Job just to see the real Red Bull in action? I still cringe when the supposed Miura remains get unceremoniously dumped down the mountain and into the water.
Lamborghinis were cars we all wanted to own; we just didn't want to consider the maintenance costs and issues. I had a friend who owned a Miura SV, the ultimate moving image. He hardly drove his prized possession since he couldn't have a machine shop in tow. Fantasy over.
The succession of various Lamborghini owners did their best under trying circumstances and economic downturns. But who can name these people? Who recalls that Chrysler owned the company at one time? The amazing fact is that through it all, the image and aura has remained intact. Lamborghini's present guardian, Audi AG through its parent company Volkswagen, has invested huge money and brought reliability and forward-thinking technology, and the new Gallardo is just the latest stunning example of this relationship. It is a Lamborghini first and foremost. All-wheel drive does not make it a Quattro. Clamps and fittings don't have visible VW markings. Whatever you think of the styling, it didn't originate in Ingolstadt.
One does not drive a bright yellow Gallardo and hope to sneak into town. A less likely surveillance vehicle does not exist. A black-ops Lamborghini may work for Bruce Wayne, but then again, he isn't of this world. Lamborghini has always understood its clientele and those who can afford to be so highly visible. One current owner just won his umpteenth NBA Championship. But personally, I'd like to see a bull win an FIA Championship, or even Le Mans, someday.
Is there a need for Lamborghini to race? Not really; the company has its own unique territory, and besides, they didn't consult me. No real reason they should.
Do I really have to give this Lambo back tomorrow? How about another week? -Kerry Morse
2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera
Longitudinal mid-engine, all-wheel drive
5.2-liter V10, dohc, 40-valve
Six-speed E-gear automated manual; optional six-speed manual
Aluminum double wishbones, anti-roll bars (f/r)
Four-piston aluminum calipers/365mm steel rotors; four-piston rear calipers, 356mm steel rotors; optional eight-piston front calipers and carbon-ceramic rotors (f/r)
Length/Width/Height (in.): 172.7/74.8/45.9
Wheelbase: 100.8 in.
Dry Weight: 2,954 lb
Peak Power: 561 hp @ 8000 rpm
Peak Torque: 398 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm
0-62 mph: 3.4 sec.
Top Speed: 202 mph