Valentino Balboni

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The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni

Valentino Balboni is the former chief test driver of Lamborghini, a manufacturer of sports cars in Italy. He retired in October 2008 due to Italian government work regulations, after having served the company for 40 years.[1] To pay tribute to him in occasion of his retirement, Lamborghini had labeled a 2009 addition to the Gallardo line-up, the LP550-2 Valentino Balboni.[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Balboni started working for Lamborghini on April 21, 1968 as a mechanic apprentice in the company.[1][4] Eventually he was personally asked by the founder of the company, Ferruccio Lamborghini, to test-drive the newly built cars alongside Bob Wallace. Valentino Balboni has reportedly driven about 80% of all Lamborghinis ever built. Among the marque aficionados, Balboni has risen to cult status. In 2008, Balboni was still active for the company as the chief test-driver and ambassador. Fluent in English and German, he often appeared at different Lamborghini-related events, such as the unveiling of new models.

In July 2009, Lamborghini announced a special edition run of 250 Gallardo LP550-2 "Valentino Balboni edition" supercars; the company stated that the new car was to be rear-wheel driven in accordance with Balboni's preference for the thrill of cornering a rear-wheel driven vehicle. These vehicles were also made special with a white and gold stripe that runs the center of the car, inspired by sports cars of the 1970s.

Balboni, even though officially retired as chief test driver, has signed a two year contract with Lamborghini as a consultant through 2010 that can be renewed multiple times.[1]

Valentino Balboni said that the first car that got him excited about cars was a silver Bizzarrini GT 5300 that he saw at the Turin car show in 1966.[5]

Valentino Balboni, Mike Gulett and his silver Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada in Monterey at Concorso Italiano in 2011.

Media[edit]

Valentino Balboni has made several appearances on television in different documentaries related to Lamborghini such as Top Gear Rides, as well as an episode of 60 Minutes from 1987.[6] In the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty, one of the characters asks a salesman at a Lamborghini dealer "...is that a Balboni?", referring to the special edition vehicle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Matt Davis (August 3, 2009). "2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni First Drive". InsideLine.com. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ Luke Madden (July 1, 2009). "Lamborghini LP550-2 ‘Valentino Balboni'". evo.co.uk. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Balboni honored with two-wheel drive Gallardo and Aston city-car ...". ultimatecarpage.com. June 30, 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Legendary Lamborghini Test Driver Valentino Balboni Celebrates 40 Years With The Bull". italiaspeed.com. July 23, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  5. ^ http://mycarquest.com/2011/08/valentino-balboni-and-the-silver-bizzarrini-gt-5300.html
  6. ^ "1987: Lamborghini on 60 Minutes". Retrieved April 29, 2013.