It’s not often I feel the pangs of regret during a car sale. In fact, the last time I was emotional upon parting was with the V-Spec 2 Nur, I’m pretty apathetic during this transactional phase.
Due to mitigating circumstances (this sounds like an excuse for late homework) I found myself in a position to sell the LP560 with minimal impact. A temporary change of address has left me without a garage and an LP is not the kind of car to leave out in the street in central London so it had to go. Sad face.
It was the most ludicrous affair ever. I actually took the car back to Lamborghini London three times and each time I ended up getting back in the car and driving back home, I simply couldn’t bring myself to part with it. I was in a state of turmoil, that’s how much I loved the car.
The first time I returned the car, I sat at the dealership with my documents in hand and did not part from the reception counter for 45 minutes. I was ushered out by the salesman, obviously empathic to my inner turmoil. Each time I returned home, the mrs curiously bewildered to see me sat in an LP again when I should be returning by taxi.
You see, the LP is simply not a car. It’s a lifestyle. There is a TV commercial for the LP560 which accurately reflects everything concerning Gallardo ownership:
Example 1. I once parked up in Piccadilly Circus, central London, in the interests of research, of course. During that time, I was approached by a least a dozen people of various sexes, ages and enquiries! It is a fast ticket to either big joys (if you’re single) or big trouble (if you’re hooked up!). I’ve had an unholy interest in people just wanting to know you, most of which actually think that they already do. People put their heads in your window, wanting to take photos, some convinced they’ve papped a celebrity.
Example 2. Any exclusive club, restaurant or hotel is immediately an open door for you. I rarely made reservations anymore, opting instead to simply turn up and park the car bang in front of the door, double yellow lines or not, the valets going out of their ways to ensure your experience is special. Zuma, Nobu, Dorchester, Bungalow 8 – simply turn up, walk out of the car, straight in. There is simply no better ego massage. I was once stuck in a traffic jam outside an exclusive night club. I was just driving past but the doormen walked up to the car, opened my door and said in an unassuming tone ‘Welcome sir’. Despite their embarrassment, the sentiment was welcome.
I could go on, but you get the drift. Do not let me misrepresent the car, however. Despite its shallow provisions, it is a remarkably competent car. I would not have it any other way. It has a deliciously rewarding attitude to driving. Ignoring its weight disadvantage and four wheel drive deficiencies, it’s quick to react, deftly balanced and stupendously fast. A very different attitude to the GT3’s I’m used to, this car does not tip toe, nor does it grace itself with balletic delicacy. It is unfazed by a surefooted attitude, inspiring confidence in its will to simply take a corner with little effort, providing instead a stage for expert dramatics by way of a soundtrack crafted by John Williams and a vision of unmistakable beauty.
Whilst the prima-donna of the car world flirts from one spectator to another, you are left to reward yourself with one of the most exciting gearboxes I’ve used. What initially comes across as an agriculturally inept proposition soon rewards your patience and experimentation with sweet and punchy shifts characterfully suited to the LP. Initially, there’s no glamour nor subtleness to gearshifts, punishing amateur naive driver operated gear shifts with aggressive lurches accompanied by thumps and bangs from the drivetrain. Although the fastest method of changing gear, it makes any hot number in your passenger seat suddenly quite undignified – we can’t have that gentleman, can we?
Choose to understand the ‘box, lift off just before you accelerate again as you upshift and all the success in smoothness feels very much your own doing, quite an achievement for a paddleshift system. And once you’ve tasted that downshift, there’s absolutely no room left for a manual gearbox to shine. It’s loud, brash, uncouth and totally unnecessary, yet I simply couldn’t stop myself from taking advantage of that outrageous throttle blip on every downshift, it’s a gloriously addictive way of letting people know you’ve arrived, if that haven’t seen you yet that is!
It’s not all perfect though. The seating position, although fine in itself, is partnered to the most absurdly offset pedals I’ve ever seen. The brake pedal is where the clutch usually is and as a result, the throttle is where the brake pedal usually is. It takes some good getting used to and is cause for some embarrassing cases of miscommunication between car and driver.
Also, the entertainment system, although fully kitted, has some strange compromises. For example, if you are using the Sat-Nav, you can’t play a CD and vice versa. And don’t talk to me about fuel consumption either (8MPG).
But then if this isn’t truly representative of Italian idiosyncratic engineering, I don’t know what is. It’s a glorious statement of beauty without compromise, engineering without budget and drama without shame.
Since having sold the car, I’ve spent almost every day scanning the classifieds. I even window licked the Lamborghini showroom this weekend just gone, together with the tourists and general public, oblivious to my qualified Lambo exploits. God I’ve become so arrogant…
I simply cannot wait to get into one again. Thank you Ferruccio.