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Friday, May 7, 2010

Recap of my Last Trip to St. Louis Motorsports


For my final blog post of this year and possibly the last post to grace this website, I have chosen to change it up a little bit and recap my latest incredible car experience instead of just one car. The experience not only allowed me to see amazing cars, but also to enhance my picture taking and editing skills (exhibited in this post) along with expanding my repertoire of car knowledge. On April 29th, I visited St. Louis Motorsports, a franchise of Lamborghini, Bugatti, Maserati, Bentley, Lotus, Rolls-Royce Motorcars, and Ferrari Service in Chesterfield, Missouri. I took this trip because I knew that there were some of the most extraordinary cars that I would ever see and be able to document sitting in the showroom.



A few days before my visit, I was driving to school and while flying past the dealership on Highway 40, I took my usual look and noticed a new black Lamborghini Murciélago sitting on ¨Lamborghini Row¨ in the windowsill. At the last second whizzing by at 65 miles an hour, I noticed it was no ordinary Murciélago. Right then and there, I knew it was a one of 350 produced, 2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce. Later that day, I emailed my contact at the dealership and my sighting was confirmed. I had seen my fourth LP670 - my favorite car of all time. I have written about this car before, but this was even more unique than the three I have seen in the past. It was finished in black over black with the optional carbon fiber lip spoiler rather than the more common wing spoiler. With this lip spoiler, the LP670 can attain a top speed of 212 miles per hour which is three more miles an hour faster than the wing spoiler will allow. It still retains all of the same performance attributes such as a 670 horsepower V12 engine and a 2.8 second zero to sixty time. When I went to the dealership to see this car, I was stunned at its true beauty. As I said, this was my fourth LP670, but I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see this amazing piece of machinery in real life. I had seen a very similar black over black LP670 in the same exact spot just 8 months before, but that one was equipped with a wing spoiler. Personally, I liked it better than this one. It turns out the man who was purchasing this car special ordered it to replace an LP670 that he currently owns because he wanted a different one. I was told by a sales representative that because of the weather, the client was not picking up his car yet but did want to see it every day as he drove by, so they put it in the window for him. Two cars behind that car in the window, was an even rarer Lamborghini.


The 2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP650-4 Roadster is a special edition of the current Lamborghini Murciélago LP640 Roadster. It is a limited run car with only 51 ever produced with only ever 50 available for sale. It has been tuned to provide 10 more horsepower than the normal car and each of the LP650s have a paint and interior scheme unique only to this car. They are all finished in a special Grigio Tolesto paint over Arancio (Grey and Orange) giving it a unique look with a black leather and Alcantara interior finished with orange accents. It is truly a beautiful car and when I found out that one of just six in the United States was currently in stock at the dealership, I knew I had to go see it immediately. As I walked in the dealership, I saw it in the corner and immediately ran to it. There are just no words to describe the beauty of this car. The paint scheme really looked amazing in the light and there was nothing like it. I took so many pictures and videos of it so that I could look back on seeing such a rare, $425,000 supercar that is a true piece of automotive history. Though the two Lamborghinis were the centerfolds of the dealership, I did see many other amazing cars.





A few years back while on my way to school, we were driving along next to this bright orange Lamborghini Gallardo with custom orange wheels. Orange is my favorite color and I love Gallardos, so obviously I was enamored with this car. After it got off the highway, I never saw it again - until April 29th. As I pulled into the dealership from the rear entrance, I saw it sitting there and could not believe my eyes. This was my favorite Lamborghini for several years and I saw it just sitting there outside the service building. I stopped the car, got out and filmed it. I took so many photos of it and they turned out so well. I took many that allowed me to enhance them through use of Photoshop by making the photos selective coloring and enhancing the colors of the cars. The pictures that I have edited so far are above and I am in love with them. The orange body over the 19 inch paint matched orange Avus rims look amazing. After departing from this car, I was in for even more surprises.







When I went inside, I witnessed them moving several cars. One car (above), was the rare, one of 190 produced, Lotus Elise Purist Edition. The Purist Edition is a stripped down, basic Lotus for a pure driving enthusiast. It only costs forty five thousand dollars and is well worth it. It has a 1.8 liter, four cylinder engine which may not seem like much compared to the V12s written about earlier, but with a car that weighs just over one ton, it provides for a very quick ride. The car sounded very nice which I did not expect, but it did not sound as good as the Evoras that they were moving. The Evora is the big brother to the Elise which I will not go into great detail about seeing as I have already discussed it in my previous post about the Maserati GranCabrio. On the topic of the GranCabrio, I saw two of the beautiful machines along with the all new 2010 Rolls-Royce Ghost. The Ghost is the baby brother to the Phantom and is very luxurious as all Rolls-Royces are. Other notable exotics that I saw before the grand finale included a Maybach 57, Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe, Maserati Granturismo S with the MC Sport Shift appearance package, and two identical Bentley Continental GT Supersports.


The final piece to this amazing journey occurred when I was filming the LP650 roadster and I heard some massive noises coming from outside. I ran outside just in time to see two, very fast, very powerful, and very rare cars pull up outside the dealership. One was a bright orange Mosler MT900S and one was a Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series. The Mosler is more or less a street legal race car. It has a 600 horsepower V8 engine that rockets the car from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.1 seconds. It is equipped with all of the handling packages to make it a true race car. They are very hard to come by as they are handmade in factories in the US and in England, but they only cost a base price of $189,000. The Mosler was the most enthralling to see because it was bright orange, had butterfly doors, and was so loud. My brother had seen one in Miami and taken pictures for me, but I had never seen one. It was truly amazing to see. The other car, the SL65 AMG Black Series, is also very fast. It has a 661 horsepower twin-turbo V12 engine which sends it from 0-62 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 199 miles per hour. It is loaded with race technology and very aerodynamic as it is the Black Series edition of the popular SL65 AMG. It is much faster and more of a racecar than the stock SL65. This car is limited to 350 units of production as well and was one of 185 in the United States according to the owner. It sounded incredible as well and was truly an amazing spot.


This is my final post of the year and it has not even scratched the surface of all of the amazing experiences I have had with exotics this year. In the future, I will continue to visit the dealership and spot these cars on the street, but for now, the writing is done. Thank you to all who have read my posts over this year and please stay tuned to my Youtube channel for more amazing cars.



*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

2007 Ferrari 430 Scuderia


Ferrari originally started out in 1929 as a racecar manufacturer called Scuderia Ferrari and then after World War II ended, they took up the business of producing street legal luxury supercars in 1947. Since then, they have been among the most well known and highly sought after luxury car brands in the world. Ferrari has been so successful due to two main things: superb performance and lavish luxury. The first production Ferrari, the 125 S, set the bar high for every car to be produced by Ferrari and they have more than met that bar in the years past. Their most recent successful model series has been the Ferrari F430.


The Ferrari F430 was introduced in 2004 to replace the five year old 360 Modena / Spider. The F430 Coupe was introduced in 2004 and the F430 Spider followed shortly after in 2005. The F430 is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive supercar. It has a lightweight 4300 cc 4.3 liter V8 engine that produces a staggering 483 horsepower with 343 lb-ft of torque. The F430 comes standard with a standard F1 inspired paddle shifter transmission that has an amazing shift time of 150 milliseconds but can be custom ordered with a traditional 6-speed manual transmission. With this power, the F430 rockets from 0-62 miles per hour in 4.0 seconds with a top speed of over 196 miles per hour. The handling is superb on the car as well. The brakes are provided by Brembo in cast-iron or optional larger ceramic-composite brakes which provide for excellent braking. The car is equipped with an adjustable aluminum control-arm suspension that can be stiffened or softened depending on driving mode. The F430 also has newly improved steering as well. As described by Automobile Magazine writer Mark Gilles, the F430 "turns in as eagerly as a kid choosing candy".



The F430s have a beautifully crafted body designed by Italian designer Pininfarina. They maintained a similar body shape to the 360 while also having striking differences. The F430 has air intake ducts all around the car with two on the front bumper and two on mounted right behind the driver's compartment which give it a distinctive Ferrari look. The rear end was designed to resemble the Ferrari Enzo, the company's fastest, most expensive car ever produced. The F430 shares the same taillight design and location with the Enzo and also has been equipped with four exhaust tips that make the back bumper look magnificent. There are also optional 'Challenge Wheels' (shown above) that are the same as the preceding Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale. The designers wanted to tie in some classic Ferrari design and had the F430 logo engraved into the back of each side view mirror. The interior is beautifully crafted and luxuriously upholstered in fine Italian leathers and beautiful stitching. The dashboard was completely redesigned and the car has a F1 car inspired racing steering wheel with controls mounted on it that control the suspension level, driving assists, and ignition. The F430s retail anywhere from $168,000 up to $220,000 which is a fairly decent price for a car this good. It does not seem like this car could be improved upon, but it was.

 

In late 2007, Ferrari debuted the 430 Scuderia. This is the lightweight, higher performance version of the 430. It shares many of the same attributes as the F430 because it is built with the same body and engine. This car however, has 20 more horsepower, a faster shifting gearbox, and weighs 220 pounds less than the F430. The Scuderia retains the same 4.3 liter V8 but it has been tuned to add 20 more horsepower taking it to a grand total of 503 horsepower. It now has an ungraded 'F1 Superfast' transmission that cuts down the shift times by 90 milliseconds from 150 to 60 milliseconds. With shifting that is far faster than a human and a 503 horsepower engine, the car flies from 0-62 MPH in just under 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 198 MPH. The exhaust has been revised and is now freer flowing and much louder which provides for a fantastic, melodious exhaust note. It also has newly upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes with massive 15.7 inch diameter front rotors and a lower, stiffer suspension that provides for a much more race-like feel. The Scuderia also has a traction and stability control program called E-Diff2 which provides for far superior traction and handling to any of its predecessors. The other reason for the superb handling is the weight loss over the F430.


The 430 Scuderia weighs 2975 pounds which is 220 lbs less than the F430 Coupe. The body has been revised to be lighter weight and more aerodynamic. It has reshaped front air intakes, carbon fiber side view mirrors, new lightweight wheels, carbon fiber rear grilles and diffuser, carbon-ceramic brakes, and a stripped interior which all provide for a featherweight car. The interior is not pretty at all because it has been stripped for weight saving but this is built to be fast and resemble a track car so no one argues this fact. There is no sound system in the car, the seats are carbon fiber with alcantara suede fabric, there are no carpets, carbon fiber door and instrument panels, and an aluminum floor. The engine bonnet is made out of lightweight Lexan glass which weighs less and also the engine braces are carbon fiber. The car may not sound like it is the most comfortable thing to be in, but "Driving at speed in this Ferrari makes you feel as though you are driving like a god; as if there is nobody else on the road driving quite as brilliantly and in quite as much control as you" says TimesOnline editor Fiona Bruce.

 

I have had the privilege of seeing four of these spectacular Scuderias in my life. On a recent trip to Philadelphia, I saw two in the showroom of Algar Ferrari / Maserati and that is where the above videos of the Scuderias come from. It was truly awesome to see them up close. While in Miami, one flew past me finished in a beautiful light blue with dark gray wheels (captured in a picture below) and also one flew by me in Chicago. I was walking down the street and heard a massive sound and I immediately recognized it from seeing videos of the Scuderia then I turned around and a beautiful red Scuderia flew past me going at least 90 on a public street. The sound was sensational and had me talking about it for days. Ferrari has also created a convertible version of the Scuderia called the Ferrari Scuderia 16M which I have not seen unfortunately. 


After a run of 6 years of F430s and Scuderias, Ferrari has retired this model line. These cars were such a pleasure to see and I am sad to see them go because I am not a big fan of the successor, the 458 Italia. The 458 is supposed to drive better and I will agree that it sounds better, but I hate the looks. This is my personal opinion, but when Ferrari moved away from the classic body look, the car looked worse. Decide for yourselves here. I hope that Ferrari does continue to put out great cars and the next model will look even better but for now, I am happy looking at the F430s driving down the streets.

*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SV


The Lamborghini Murciélago was named after a famous fighting bull that survived 28 sword strokes in a bullfighting match in 1879. Being a car named after a famous bull with such will and power, it makes sense that it has lasted this long in production. After 8 years of successful production, Lamborghini is putting the Murciélago to rest, but not without first making the most aggressive version yet as a way to be remembered - the 2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce.



In 2001, Lamborghini first introduced the Murciélago as the replacement for the 11 year old Diablo. The Murciélago followed suit with many of the attributes of the Diablo. It retained the iconic 'Lambo Doors' which were vertically opening scissor style doors, the same beautifully crafted Italian body, a massive engine, and the performance of a supercar. The original Murciélago had a 571 horsepower V12 engine that launched the car from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.8 seconds with a 6-speed manual gearbox and standard all-wheel drive. The car remained unchanged until a Roadster version became available for the 2005 model year. The Murciélago Roadster had the same body shape other than the top being replaced with a removable temporary cloth top. After four successful years of production, Lamborghini updated both models for 2006 with the Murciélago LP640 and the soon following LP640 Roadster. The LP640 has an upgraded 640 horsepower engine and an optional E-Gear transmission (see previous posts for description of E-Gear) than rocketed the car to 60 miles per hour in just 3.4 seconds. The LP640 not only received performance upgrades, but there were various exterior changes as well shown below.


The Murciélago LP640 received a newly redesigned front bumper and front air scoops, re-sculpted side view mirrors, redesigned side skirts, several new wheel options, and a redesigned rear end with a new rear diffuser, LED taillights, and a new exhaust tip to accommodate the updated exhaust system. The car also received interior upgrades customizable through the Ad Personam Program at Lamborghini. The new fascia makes the car look so aggressive that editor for Automobile Magazine Joe DeMatio said, "like the original Murciélago and the Diablo, the LP640 is more intimidating to look at than it actually is to drive." The LP640 has been hugely successful across the world since its debut. There have been several special editions as well during its production. A special run of twenty 'Versace Edition' LP640s were produced in 2006. The Versace Editions all were either white and black two tone with a custom Versace leather interior. For 2010, Lamborghini also made a 50 car run of special Murciélago Roadsters called the LP650-4 Roadster because it had a special tuning which brought out 10 more horsepower than the normal LP640 Roadster. It is finished in a special Grigio Tolesto over Arancio paint scheme (Grey and Orange) giving it a unique look. With the enormous success of the LP640s, Lamborghini decided their final edition of the Murciélago had to top the predecessor. They did so with the Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce.



The Lamborghini Murciélago LP670-4 SuperVeloce or SV is the fastest production Lamborghini ever made. The SV has the same 6.5 liter V12 engine as the LP640, but it has been re-tuned with an improved air intake system and new valve timing for the engine to produce a massive 670 horsepower with 487 lb-ft of torque.The LP670 is extremely fast rocketing from 0-60 in just 2.8 seconds. This is due to not only the massive engine and the E-gear transmission, but also is due to the 220 lb weight loss. The LP670 was able to lose all of this weight over the normal LP640 because of several factors. It received a higher strength steel chassis that is 44 pounds lighter than the original, carbon fiber body panels that weigh approximately 28 pounds less, a revamped interior filled with carbon fiber and alcantara fabric helps the car shed another 75 pounds, and the engine shed another 73 pounds due to lighter materials and a 50 pound lighter exhaust system. The car also is equipped with new massive 15 inch carbon-ceramic brakes that stop the car in just 114 feet from 60 miles per hour. Besides performance upgrades, the exterior was revamped. A quote from Road and Track editor Douglas Kott sums up the LP670's exterior, "if the "standard" LP640 visuals are a slap to the senses, then the SuperVeloce is a punch to the solar plexus, its extra appendages recapturing the rawness and spectacle of the Countach LP400S." The SV's exterior is very aggressive with matte finish carbon pieces all over the car. The front looks different because the bumper has been slightly reshaped with the new carbon splitter and the 'hood' has new small air intakes closer to the windshield. (I put hood in quotes because that area is actually the car's trunk.) The side air intakes are also carbon which nicely compliment the new wheels unique to the LP670. Although the front and sides look great, the rear of the car is probably the most striking part. The rear is majorly carbon fiber with an aggressive hexagonal cut aluminum mesh and carbon fiber engine cover, carbon rear diffuser and bumper, a massive exhaust tip, and most importantly, the carbon fiber spoiler. The SV's featured on this blog all are equipped with the Aeropack wing which gives the car a great amount of down force but limits it to a 209 mile per hour top speed while the optional, much smaller wing allows for a 212 mile per hour top speed.

Ever since January of 2002 when I got my first Road and Track magazine, I have been enamored with the Lamborghini Murciélago. When I got the magazine, there was a Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina on the cover with a bright yellow Murciélago in the bottom corner and I immediately flipped to it and read all about it at just 7 years old. Ever since then, I have seen every type of Murciélago produced and have come to love the car. In the spring of last year, I saw the pre-production photos of the LP670 and became obsessed with it. On June 8th, I was on my way to my friend's house and as we passed St. Louis Motorsports on Highway 40, I looked over as I always do and saw 2 identical bright orange LP670 SV's sitting in the circle in front of the dealership. Naturally, I started freaking out so my mom took me back and I got out and took tons of pictures of the car. As I was walking around the cars looking at them, a salesman and client came out and right in front of me, opened up those iconic scissor doors and got in one of the SuperVeloces. Then they started up the V12 and drove away right in front of me leaving the greatest sound in the world behind. Never in my life did I expect to see that car start up in front of me. It was truly amazing. Above is the video of that experience. I also went back to the dealer a few weeks later to see a black LP670-4 SV and that car was striking as well. Seeing three of these beauties is a real privilege because there are only 350 of these $475,000 cars being produced worldwide. I wish the Murciélago was still in production after the last LP670 is sold, but I know that Lamborghini's next creation will be even better as the Murciélago improved over the Diablo.



*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Maserati GranCabrio




The Maserati GranTurismo is arguably one of the prettiest cars created to this day. The GranTurismo was designed by classic Italian Car designer Pininfarina. The GranTurismo is a 4 seater, 2 door grand tourer that has a beautifully shaped body that makes it unmistakeably an Italian wonder. Performance wise, the GranTurismo did quite well for a car weighing just over 4000 pounds. With its original 400 horsepower 4.2 liter V8 and automatic transmission, it accelerated from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 177 miles per hour. Maserati did not feel this was enough and went on to produce the Maserati GranTurismo S which has a massive 4.7 liter V8 with 443 horsepower that rockets it from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds with a top speed of 183 miles per hour.. The new and improved GranTurismo S not only received engine upgrades, but also got a new Skyhook adaptive suspension system, improved exhaust system, improved braking system, and a semi-automatic MC-Shift gearbox. The MC-shift gearbox later was removed due to emissions issues in the United States and now all GranTurismos are solely automatics. Now, three years after production, Maserati is putting a convertible version of this amazing car into production.



Maserati's newest creation is called the GranCabrio. The GranCabrio has now claimed the spot in my mind of the most beautiful car ever created. Usually, when cars undergo the transformation from coupe into soft-top convertible, they lose some of their form and don't look as good as their hardtop counterparts. The GranCabrio lost none of its beauty and looks absolutely amazing in convertible form. The GranCabrio shares the exact same underpinnings as the GranTurismo S with the same 433 horsepower 4.7 liter V8 engine and Skyhook suspension. The GranCabrio though, weighs 4,365 pounds which is about a 150 pound increase over its coupe counterparts because of the new convertible mechanism in the car. This weight gain does sacrifice some performance though. The GranCabrio makes 0-60 in 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 176 which is quite impressive for a car of its weight. It retains the 6 speed adaptive automatic transmission of the latest GranTurismo S and also has paddle shifters for optional manual override. The GranCabrio will convert from coupe to convertible in an impressive 24 seconds. According to a Maserati press release, "the GranCabrio's roof is strictly canvas-made, emphasizing the link with the Maserati tradition." Another plus about the car's roof is that once stowed in the trunk, no trunk space is lost which is a problem with most convertibles.



Over the weekend I got the exclusive opportunity to attend the double launch event of the 2010 Lotus Evora and Maserati GranCabrio at the Cars and Coffee meet at St. Louis Motorsports. Because the GranCabrio has not been released to the public yet, there are absolutely no car reviews and very little information available about it. So, to further my knowledge on this car and get some questions answered, I talked to a very nice and knowledgeable sales representative named David about the cars. While discussing the matter of the convertible top, I asked him why Maserati did not make the GranCabrio a retractable hard top convertible instead. He went on to tell me that a few years prior when the parent company of Maserati and Ferrari (Fiat S.p.A.) was planning out their range of models in years to come, there was a debate of which car would get the retractable hard top between the Ferrari California and the Maserati GranCabrio and the California ended up getting it. During our discussion, I found out that because the GranCabrio on display was one of only several in the United States right now that Maserati would fine the dealership a whopping $20,000 if there were any miles at all put onto the car. Because of this, I was not able to see the car started to record its beautiful exhaust note. If you are interested as to what it sounds like, here is a video of a GranTurismo S accelerating which is the exact same sound from a GranCabrio (skip to 3:36).The sound of the GranTurismo S was aptly described by Robert Farago, editor for "The Truth About Cars". He said, "Those of you partial to the sound of an Italian V8 (i.e. anyone with a pulse) should note that the GranTurismo S’ symphony of wailing, thrashing and screaming is as good as it gets."

 

The exterior styling is impressive with the six soft top color options, the fourteen body colors and the six different wheel options. The interior though, is what must be highlighted here. The GranCabrio is best in class for its interior space. The GranCabrio is a 4 seater, 2 door car. When you hear this, you think that there is no human way anyone can fit in the backseat (which is the case with the Lotus Evora where the sales associate jokingly described it as only amputees can fit in the rear seats). The GranCabrio though, has space to seat four adult men comfortably. As you can see below, the seats are quite large for a car like this.



In the above two pictures, it is visible how luxuriously the GranCabrio is on the interior. The car is built to be a quick, sporty, luxurious, and spacious car. The GranCabrio appeals to a very wide market because it is easy to drive, luxurious, able to be a daily driver, and quite affordable compared to most luxury sports cars. According to David, the sales associate I talked to at St. Louis Motorsports, the base price starts at $142,000 which is a very good deal for a car like this. This car is both one of the best looking and one of the best sounding cars ever produced in my opinion. One day, I hope to own one, or at least get a ride in one.

 


*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen. 
*Also: A special thanks to David at St. Louis Motorsports for all of his assistance


Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni


After reading the previous post about the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4, there is a good chance you were thinking that the LP560-4 sat at the top echelon of performance. That may have been true, but Lamborghini has once again outdone themselves. They did so in the form of the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. Lamborghini debuted this special edition Gallardo in honor of their world renowned test driver, Valentino Balboni, who retired after marking his 40th year with Lamborghini.

Having a car as prestigious and iconic as a Lamborghini created in your name means that you more than likely did something monumental in your life to deserve it. Valentino Balboni was a huge asset to Lamborghini through his 40 years of work. He began working for Ferrucio Lamborghini in 1967 as an assistant test driver alongside driver Bob Wallace. Their job was to test drive each prototype and report back to Ferrucio Lamborghini in order to better the cars. Along with this job, they drove every Lamborghini to come off of the production line to make sure everything was in perfect condition for the customer that the car was going to. After Wallace retired, Valentino Balboni became the chief test driver for Lamborghini and continued his work for 40 years with Lamborghini and has just recently retired. In honor of all of the years of hard work that Balboni devoted his life to, Lamborghini named their newest special edition Gallardo after him. (For a complete biography of Valentino Balboni, click here.)

To the untrained eye, the Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni may look like any other Gallardo out on the streets but it is far from that. The LP550-2 underwent various cosmetic changes including new Scorpius wheels from the Gallardo Superleggera, a new white and gold stripe down the center of the car, a re-designed interior that carries the striped theme throughout the car, and 8 different body color options. Besides cosmetic changes, the LP550-2 underwent a series of changes under the hood. In the name, LP550-2, LP stands for Longitudinale Posteriore which is the positioning of the engine in the car (positioned in the rear), 550 stands for the jaw-dropping 550 horsepower that the Gallardo puts out, and the dash 2 stands for the all new rear wheel drive system that Lamborghini gave this car. The Gallardo underwent suspension upgrades, the 550 horsepower 5.2 Liter V-10 engine was tuned to provide ample torque for the cr, and the car also had a drive-train swap making it rear-wheel drive. The fact that it is rear-wheel drive is what makes this car so unique. All other current model Lamborghinis use a 4 wheel drive system that provides superb handling, but Lamborghini wanted to take this special edition back to the roots of Lamborghini and really give it that vintage feel. They believe that the rear-wheel drive lets the driver feel complete control over the car and provides a much more exciting driving experience. To further their goal of making this the ultimate driver's car, the Balboni is offered with a 6-speed manual transmission instead of the E-gear, though it is still available upon special order. Road and Track editor Patrick Hong reiterates the fun-factor this car has : "That feeling of pure joy can still be felt today, and it only enhanced the thrill of testing the new Gallardo Balboni, a most fitting tribute to a superb young test driver who must have been only in his 30s back then...." This special edition Gallardo will be limited to a production run of 250 cars with a base price starting at $219,800.

Now I could go on and on giving stats on the car, but I would rather talk about my opportunity to meet the legend himself and his special edition car. On Friday, August 28th, I had the chance to meet Valentino Balboni at the unveiling of the Gallardo LP550-2 at St. Louis Motorsports and I took it. I went to this big event and when I arrived the car was under cover (shown at top of page) and I stood around awaiting his arrival because he is one of my 'heroes' and I was so excited to finally meet the legend I have looked up to. When he finally came out, he made a small speech and it was plain to see how grateful he was to have been honored this way and what a humble guy he was. He started up the car for us and did some revs and I got to hear the beautiful sound of that 550 horsepower V10. Afterward, he was open for photo-ops and I took the opportunity to meet him and ask him many questions I had been dying to ask him. He was such a great man to talk to; he answered my questions with great enthusiasm, shook my hand, took pictures with me (below), and signed several autographs. Normally, if you think of someone that important and famous, it is assumed that they would be stuck up and not very friendly. Valentino Balboni was the complete opposite and I respect him even more because of that. Mark Smeyers of Italiaspeed.com said, "
Valentino today is quite simply a walking encyclopaedia of everything that is Lamborghini related, a genuine, very enthusiastic and likeable person who always has time to share his overriding passion with the many enthusiasts' of the brand." That quote basically sums up my opinion of Balboni and why it was such an honor to meet him.


The 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni is a true piece of automotive innovation and it was named after the most deserving man alive.

*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

Lamborghini's 'baby Lambo', the Gallardo (above right), underwent a complete re-designing in late 2008 after being in production since 2004. The new Gallardo is named the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. LP stands for Longitudinale Posteriore which is the positioning of the engine in the car (positioned in the rear), 560 stands for the impressive 560 horsepower that the Gallardo puts out, and the dash 4 stands for the 4 wheel drive system the car uses. The Gallardo now has a more lighter, more powerful 5.2 liter V-10 engine putting out 398 lb-ft of torque that can propel the car from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and take the car up to a red-line limited 202 mile per hour. The LP560 still retains the two choices of transmission of a 6-speed manual or the Lamborghini designed 6 speed 'E-Gear' (clutch-less manual). The new transmission provides 40% quicker shift times than that of the previous Gallardo. Of course, with a 560 horsepower V-10 engine, fuel economy that makes Al Gore happy isn't available; it gets a disappointing 12 miles per gallon. Who cares about the fuel economy when you get an exhaust note sounding like this? Tony Quiroga, a reviewer from Car and Driver Magazine, said "There are times when we actually wish the Lambo was just a bit slower so we could revel in the music for longer than bursts lasting only a few seconds." Quiroga, along with many other reviers were none too impressed with the $15,000 optional ceramic brakes -"With the exception of the optional brakes, this Lambo is so good that the may have just been toppled."

The Gallardo not only underwent a drive-train upgrade, but the body was completely re-designed for 2009. With a new front and rear fascia, the Gallardo looks as mean as the engine it houses. It received stunning new Y-shaped LED running lights underneath the Bi-xenon headlights as well as taillights with the same Y-shaped LED design causing the Gallardo to look great at any time of day. The entire body was molded to provide better aerodynamics that are a great factor in making the car be able to obtain 200+ mile per hour speeds. If being hit by a Lamborghini while walking down the street has ever concerned you, you can stop worrying because Lamborghini has designed the bumper in accordance with Europe's directives to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision. The bumpers on the car have been made with special materials designed to lessen the force of an impact making the car safer. Below is the Gallardo LP560-4 on the right next to the previous model Gallardo Spyder on the left. The difference in styling is amazing.


When taking advantage of Lamborghini's individualism program, Ad Personam, the Gallardo can be created in any way you like it. The customer can choose anything from the five different types of wheels to the color of the body to the color of the stitching on the steering wheel. The interior can be crafted of fine Italian leather in any color combination possible or an optional luxurious Alcantara suede in black. With either material, the customer can choose any color stitching and can even choose the pattern of the stitching. How is that for fine details? I personally have seen beautiful color combinations on the interior as is shown here in my video. Ad Personam is responsible for the amazing color combinations that are found in the interior Lamborghinis and the car's exterior is able to customized as well. The car comes in all of the standard colors including the bright Lamborghini oranges and yellows and with Ad Personam, the customer can order a special matte black, nero nemesis, a matte white, Bianco Canopus, or a matte brown, marrone apus. When you are choosing colors, you can choose matte, metalic, or gloss and the program really live up to it's motto of "Think the impossible." When you are paying a base price of $202,000 dollars for your car, being able to choose every fine detail you want is almost expected.

With prices ranging up to $260,000 dollars, this car is not cheap, but with the incredible looks, power and handling, it is completely worth it. This car may not be someone's daily driver, but when they do drive it and they turn the key and hear that V-10 roar to life, they realize what a great piece of Lamborghini engineering they are sitting in.


*Note: All images and videos on this post were created by and are property of Ryan Cohen.