The Poster Child
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.
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…”
“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.