Featured: The Poster Child

The Poster Child

By Jonathan WC Mills
August 27, 2015
15 comments

Photography by Jonathan WC Mills & Jacob GP Mills

I don’t really want to drive it.

I’m staring at the key, the car and the thin but very important set of loan papers on my desk, and quite frankly, I’m intimidated. I don’t want to join the club of automotive writers who have wrecked an exotic, plunging into professional failure and certain bankruptcy. I simply want to take a deep breath and bask in the experience of being a temporary custodian of one of the of the world’s most recognizable super cars.

But first I need a thirty minute tutorial on how to drive it. Did you know, for example, that the turn signals operate like those on a motorcycle? They’re a small button on the wheel that flicks left or right. Or that the reverse gear is engaged on a half trapezoid piece of center console-mounted switchgear? Of course you did. That’s what makes cars like this special: they don’t do things the way you are used to, and that’s just fine with me.

It made me feel powerful and famous…” – J. Mills, age 11

Like many of my peers, I grew up with framed posters of the iconic Countach hung carefully on the walls of my friends’ older brothers’ bedrooms. I knew what Lamborghini meant to them. It was synonymous with cool. I had a vague idea of what “cool” meant to me. Then I became a teen and Lamborghini released a car…named after Satan. If that’s not cool I don’t know what is. As I aged and my knowledge and sophistication grew, whispers of criticism seeped into my consciousness, but it didn’t matter when I saw a Lamborghini in the flesh, it remained the proverbial, “barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.”

The white Huracan sitting quietly at our office had the same effect, even sitting still.

As many of you who read my work with an eye to detail assuredly know, I’m no race driver. Guys like Sam Smith and Jack Baruth are heroes of both the paddock and pen because they have the racing chops to back it up. I’m a weekend warrior. A car guy who, like I suspect many of you, like to drive fast but have not had the time, inclination, cash or chutzpah to actually race cars.

Fine.

What about the 99.9% of us that don’t? I’m speaking to you directly from the cheap seats when I say the Lamborghini Huracan is exactly as advertised. It is a corrosion of conformity, a scream in the library. It’s not subtle and if it was, you could simply go buy an AMG. That’s not the point. Even in ice queen white (not the actual color name, by the way) the Huracan looks like it landed from another galaxy and could return you there just as easily. It’s automotive origami with an engine. It’s success, excess and excessive and it’s not even the range topper. It’s dramatic.

It goes pretty fast…it made me feel cool.” – Josh, 12

But is it worth putting up on the wall?

I decided that the best source to answer this question would be the bastions of honesty known as small humans, or in the parlance: children. More specifically, eleven year old kids who are just now beginning to learn what they like in the world. Future enthusiasts whose unvarnished opinions are often bracing and almost always interesting. Of course, with a son of my own, I called on a few of his friends to meet me by Pasadena’s iconic Rose Bowl for some photos and a ride and there were a few takers.

I’d only drive this in the morning…

Me: “Why?

Because of the cops!” M. Shannon – Age 11

The kids I met with were immediately smitten and so were their mothers. It’s that kind of car. It’s high drama on wheels and it’s absolutely impossible not to miss or be noticed. After a few days, I would find myself toodling along in traffic with my son and we would both forget, for a moment, where we were. In fact, at one point, my son looked up and said, “I totally forgot I was in a Lamborghini.” The human animal gets used to things very quickly.

The kids we met were not so sanguine. Strapping them into the passenger seat elicited squeals and wide eyes. The interior is tactile and their little hands wanted to touch all the leather and exotic-looking materials surrounding them. Then came the inevitable, “How much does it cost?” I liked to reply, “about 5,000 video games!” They would nod solemnly, as if this somehow confirmed exactly what they suspected. 

Then I would let them press the big red start button and the smiles would get even bigger. The kids liked this too.

Every time I pressed the sport button and gave the pedal a push towards the firewall, some very loud and violent things would happen. The digital rev counter would launch clockwise, and the bullet of the car would shoot forward with a howl. Not dissimilar to a cat with his tail being stepped on. At that point, the children’s little arms scrambled for anything to hold onto and their faces…their faces lit up. They didn’t just like this thing, they loved it…and why not?

It was so fast I had to grab the ‘oh shit’ handle.” – N. Shannon, age 35

In the right frame of mind, the Lamborghini Huracan isn’t a serious tool, it’s a joy ride. A ride of joy. A giant, hilarious, wonderfully expensive and impractical love letter to motion in an equally emotive package. Kids responded to it because they are honest, and those of us with an inner kid feel the same way. No one purchases a Lamborghini because they need transportation…you buy it because it makes you grin and when you drive it—and I did get a chance to really do that—the grin becomes a laugh. It literally made me laugh out loud.

Many other outlets can devote serious time and ink to which of the many cars in this category is subjectively best. Many more words will be spilled describing the merits of a V10 vs turbo V8 vs some sort of electric-assist powertrain. Some might even go so far as to describe why one car is “better at the limit” than another. In defense of the Huracan, I offer this:

When you slow down it sounds like fireworks.” – M. Shannon, Age 11

That’s all the reason one should need to consider a car. We live, if we’re lucky, about 78 years on this little blue ball of a planet and at the risk of being overly philosophical, I suggest you spend some of that time having fun. It’s a precious commodity in an increasingly dour world full of conflict, both large and small. As such, it remains my contention that by driving a Lamborghini Huracan you will most certainly bring some joy to your life.

Just make sure you give some rides to the kids. 

 

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Greg Jones
Greg Jones

Naysayers be damned. Great article Jonathan! I started grinning about 1/3 through it & didn’t stop. I try to remember this kind of stuff when I’m beat, dragging, would rather watch a ballgame & veg, when my daughter calls wanting me to pick her up so we can go for a ride in the convertible. It’s not so much the convertible, or the exotic in your case, that makes it special. It’s making good memories that will last a lifetime & (oh yeah), bring a smile to a kid’s face (in a world of naysayers & guitar slingers).

Ronnie M
Ronnie M

Great article. It sounds like our experiences growing up with the legend of Lamborghinis is the same. Hopefully someday, I’ll get a chance to see a Countach in the flesh and maybe drive something with a Raging Bull badge.

JJ Villarino
JJ Villarino

Fantastic post. Might be the best review of the Huracan yet.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

OK … I’ll play devils advocate here Pre Audi Lamborghini as a ‘ poster ‘ child ? Absolutely ! The present day sanitized over homogenized [ even in the so called special edition versions ] AudiGhini that your 85 year old aunt can drive especially when considering the fact that a bone stock C7 Z06 can keep pace with all of them ? Not in the slightest . Comparing the present day AudiGhini to the pre Audi days is like comparing Justin Bieber to the Rolling Stones ” Exiles on Main Street ” era . One was truly dangerous on… Read more »

Ricardo Jr Xavier
Ricardo Jr Xavier

Amen to that,that guy is our own personal troll, as always shakespeare is right on the spot

J J
J J

I haven’t read any of Guitar Slinger’s previous posts, thus am not privy to the you-weren’t-there-man context. Nevertheless, he has a point. Cars like the Huracan are most certainly both sanistised and engineered for the unskilled and ultimately non-discerning. These are traits it shares with nearly all moderns. Try this for size: “Technological advancements certainly didn’t stop by the year 2000. Cars continued to receive new technology with each year, but they also got a little bigger, a little heavier, and a little more compromised for mass tastes—ultimately making them rather dull for the driving enthusiast.” http://www.petrolicious.com/when-was-the-last-time-you-were-really-excited-about-new-cars Yup, from Afshin… Read more »

The Flash
The Flash

The world has changed, hence as you say “…trinket for the wealthy…” is what “exotics” are in today’s world. A GTR, Supra or RX-7 with small investments can destroy most exotics… which is why they are now called “exotics” not “super-cars” as what made them super in the old days is accessible to anyone with modest finances, resourcefulness and sweat equity. Gone are the days where a cars speedometer indicated it’s top speed. Exotics don’t sell if the people with money can’t drive them; again, the world has changed. Money doesn’t equal skill. Nor does owning a keyboard equal intelligence… Read more »

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

The common denominator in the photographs? Smiles all around. [i]”…Sounds like fireworks.”[/i] [i]”…made me feel cool.”[/i] Affording this opportunity to young kids (or even older kids like Mr. Mills) is giving them the chance to just be a kid and dream, which is what being a kid should be all about. My son has been fortunate enough to have sat in more racing cars than I could ever hope to. I’ll let him be the judge of which ones were better or worse (and believe me, he is quite the critic). What is a constant, however, is that he is… Read more »

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

The common denominator in the photographs? Smiles all around. [i]”…Sounds like fireworks.”[/i] [i]”…made me feel cool.”[/i] Affording this opportunity to young kids (or even older kids like Mr. Mills) is giving them the chance to just be a kid and dream, which is what being a kid should be all about. My son has been fortunate enough to have sat in more racing cars than I could ever hope to. I’ll let him be the judge of which ones were better or worse (and believe me, he is quite the critic). What is a constant, however, is that he is… Read more »

Steve Clark
Steve Clark

For what are adults, but children now jaded and laden with responsibilities. Joys like a Lamborghini cause them to forget their station in the world for a little while and the young child can shine through for a little while.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

If thats true then its no wonder we’re in such a godawful Potemkin Village mess worldwide !

Jono51
Jono51

Great Post!

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

Nice one.

…”[i]The kids liked this too[/i].” 😉

Sounds like you are having a good time. Thanks for sharing.

Francois Bozonnet
Francois Bozonnet

for us it was Le mans 2012. the car was the Oreca 03 who finished second in class and 8th overall. the driver near my son is Pierre Thiriet, a gentleman driver who, in 2012, win the european le mans championship. great memories for us..