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The Great Pumpkin
Lamborghini drops off a Murcielago LP640 for a week—it’s not just another press car


Everybody goes gaga when they see a Lamborghini. Even the people who purposely stifle their gaga-isms to appear blatantly and strongly anti-gaga are going gaga on the inside. Why? What is so super about a supercar? Do its power and powerful good looks create a Pavlovian stimulus to which we all must slobber? And to what end would the slobber-provokers want to put such a powerful power?

To find out, we drove a Lamborghini LP640 for four days, taking meticulous notes the whole time on the visceral reactions, psychiatric anomalies and senso-delusional outbursts the car provoked.

And we used it to drive through Taco Bell, too. Editor Dutch Mandel thought doing many things like that (though not specifically going through a drive-through fast food diner) in a $379,000, 632-hp supercar would be entertaining.




Monday
11:43 A.M. Rattly diesel flatbed arrives with glowing pumpkin-orange LP640 chained on top. Just in time for Halloween. Neighborhood kids swarm, applying prodigious nose cheese to the electroluminescent orange finish.

1:05 P.M. Load it with 120 pounds of old newspapers, taking up the entire passenger side and most of the front trunklet.

“Man, if you’re loading newspapers in a Lamborghini, something’s wrong,” says a guy on a scooter.

Halfway to the recycling center, realize we forgot camera. Head back. Wind up parking LP640, stuffed with newspapers, in driveway for the night—hidden behind lesser, decoy cars. Looks not unlike someone’s living in it.



Tuesday
11:38 A.M. Drive through local drive-through dairy. Young proprietor uses up entire memory of camera phone. Asks about the newspapers. We have no good explanation.

12:20 P.M. Arrive with what will soon be calibrated at 120 pounds of newspapers at Active Neighborhood Recycling in Los Angeles. Wait in line at the scale. Two guys from 4-Con Engineering who are dumping rebar from a drainage channel refit nearby want to know about “the Ferrari.”

“You hauling newspapers in that thing?”

We explain about our editor.

On the scale, Lambo weighs 4340 pounds with driver and newspapers, 4220 with driver. That means $4.50 worth of paper, a profit.

1:14 P.M. Arrive at Costco. Shoppers accept LP640 with polite deference. Pick up a Costco Automotive Showcase, Volume 4, Issue 4, which details how Costco shoppers save an average of $3,000 off MSRP on new-vehicle purchases. If true, that would drop the Lambo’s sticker to an entirely reasonable $376,000. Sadly, Lamborghini is not listed among the brands Costco will purchase for you.

Load passenger side to capacity again, this time with Costco-sized haul of toilet paper, baby wipes and huge box of No. 6 Huggies. Drop it all off at home and head to the office.

3:07 P.M. Arrive at work. Office hotties, who normally regard driver as leper, want rides. One wants to drive past ex-boyfriend’s house to taunt him with obvious post-relationship trade-up, perhaps also to moon him; we pray for the latter.

Another wants to drive up to ex-husband’s house, ring doorbell, forward stack of his junk mail, then get into LP640 and peel out, laughing. Both sound like excellent plans. The one with the ex-boyfriend chickens out, but the one with the ex-husband makes an appointment for a drive Wednesday. We hope the ex is not a gun enthusiast.

4:33 P.M. Being Hollywood adjacent, and the LP640 being a Hollywood kind of car, we recruit good friend Chuck Ross, vice president and publisher of AutoWeek’s sister publication Television Week (the bible of broadcasting) to let us chauffeur him to one of his regular Hollywood schmoozefests. He graciously accedes.

6:30 P.M. Driver, Ross and the Lamborghini pull up to valet parking at the 30th-anniversary gala of the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills. Near-fisticuffs among the valets.

7:51 P.M. Assembled entertainment moguls waiting at valet parking are amused by the Lamborghini, asking Ross if it’s his. We say only that we are, “Mr. Ross’s driver.”



Wednesday
1:00 P.M. We learn that Meals on Wheels in the Alhambra Red Cross office no longer operates, depriving not only the elderly of food but us of another contrived photo op.

1:15 P.M. Arrive at loading zone of Home Depot. Guy in orange apron similar in color to LP640 says we can’t park there. We ask him to bring a 4x8 sheet of plywood and try to fit it into the side window, telling him his picture will be in a magazine and he’ll be so famous he’ll get letters from women in prison. “Women in prison?” He brings the wood.

1:19 P.M. We are able to scientifically prove that the only way a 4x8 sheet of plywood will fit into a Lambo Murciélago LP640 is if you cut it into very small pieces with a table saw.

2:04 P.M. Arrive at work. Colleague with ex-husband is raring to go.

5:00 P.M. Crain whistle blows, we head for the ex’s.

6:12 P.M. Arrive at ex’s. Take photo of colleague flipping off house that now belongs to ex and which ex has since redecorated “exactly as I had wanted it when we were married.” Console sorrows by driving through nearby Taco Bell, much to delight of drive-through personnel, who fill memory of camera phones. Colleague is appreciative of free Taco Bell Zesty Caesar Salad, which will appear on expense account as “business dinner,” or under the more appropriate category of “gas.”



Thursday
11:00 A.M. Flatbed arrives to haul Lamborghini away. An hour later we stand at a bus stop on Wilshire Boulevard with a $3 all-day bus pass. Doing the math going the other direction, $3 to $379,000 is an increase in vehicular net worth of more than 12 million percent. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

But standing in the very front of the packed bus, up against the windshield and almost on the front bumper as it glides down Wilshire at great, albeit non-Lamborghini-like speed, it feels like flying.

And not a single person among what seems like several hundred onboard, asks us how much the bus cost or how fast it’ll go.
 

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thumup: great thread.

What an awesome find. That was funny... and about really expensive cars so expensive it almost doesn't look like a car anymore. amazing.
 
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