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Reminisces on dating a temperamental Italian supermodel…

The sleek black panther (above): languid, luscious, lustful…and dangerous, very, very, dangerous

Behold, the 1966 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2. I owned this Italian supercar for three years and drove the hell out of it. I was the abusive, sex-obsessed, oafish American ogre husband, married to a temperamental Italian supermodel used to getting her way. We had a tempestuous, volatile, relationship, interspersed with the hottest sex of my long life.  In the end we got divorced, this after she tried to murder me.

Evelyn Waugh once described a voluptuous woman he knew as “Languid, luscious, lustful…” This quote flashed across my consciousness when first laying eyes on this seductress. I was purchasing a foreign bride and the upkeep was going to be expensive: a tune-up was a cool $1,000. None of which mattered, I was smitten, it was love at first sight.

The black Lambo had the perfect stance, it was the right color, it had polished Borrani wire wheels and a luxurious interior with a powerhouse stereo. I was shocked stupid and had to have her: I craved, I lusted, I drooled. And that was before I saw the enchanting naughty bits: the jewellike, 4-liter V-12, double overhead cams, six side-draft weber carbs, a smallish engine putting out a cool 400-horsepower. Being aluminum bodied, the Lambo weighed in at a svelte, streamlined 2,800 pounds.

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway describing Greta Garbo, “The Lambo had better curves than a racing yacht.” 400 horsepower divided into 2800-pounds yields a 7 to 1 power-to-weight ratio. Dangerous territory for a rookie. Deadly in the wrong hands…my hands.

I was born with an inherent love of fast cars. By the age 12 I was a monthly reader of Hot Rod magazine and Sports Car Graphic. I built 100 + model cars and raced slot cars. I knew how to calculate liters (61-cubic inches) by age 11. My father took my brother and me to Watkins Glenn in 1962 where we sat on the infield as a fleet of four 289 Cobras battled a fleet of four Ferrari 250 GTOs. Bob McDonald in a Cobra (number 98) won the production car class. We were delirious: the raw, crude, rock and roll American Cobras spanked the effete, sophisticated Ferraris.

In 2021, those Ferrari 250 GTOs that I saw in combat are now the most expensive cars in the world.  Only 36 250 GTOs were ever made, and collectors have made them the most desirable and expensive cars on the planet. Within the 36, the hierarchy is dependent on race history. The 1962 GTO that won the production car class at LeMans in 1962 fetched the highest price ever paid for an automobile when the owner of Weather Tech paid $80,000,000 (no typo.)

Cobras with race history fetch a cool two million. That day in 1962, I was watching $200,000,00 worth of future automobile collectables racing balls out, bumper to bumper. The Cobras, when floored, sounded like thunder cubed. The Ferrari GTOs had 183-cubic inch V-12 engines, small displacement, tiny cylinders, in full flight they sounded like an amplified swarm of angry killer bees. Or, as my brother noted, “The red cars sound like grandma’s sewing machine.”

1966 Corvette 1966 Corvette

 

My everyday driver: today? $150,000

As a young man, I was doing well financially, so I bought my first supercar. Check it out. This was my Nassau blue 1966 327-340 fastback coupe Corvette. I bought it for $7,000 and used it as my everyday driver. It was a hardy, robust vehicle, a great, great, great car. Mine had AC and headrests, rare options. Women loved this color combination.

It was a raw brute of a car: visually beautiful, yet unrefined. The interior sucked, the cheap seats were pathetic and had zero recline, the AC was a joke, the Delco radio sucked. Mine had underpowered power windows. All that said, it was a fabulous car to drive, a great handler with tons of power and an independent rear suspension. Cheap to maintain, simple, timelessly beautiful, in hindsight, this is the car I should have stayed with forever.

Instead, I traded up. I got a great offer on the Corvette (I made 4K) and took it. Now I had cash burning a hole in my pocket. In 1980, I bought the 1966 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 for $12,000. This off a senior “leader” of the Pagan’s motorcycle gang (allegedly) The Lambo was black with 24,000 KLM (18,000 miles) on the odometer. It had exquisite Borrani wire wheels and exquisite hand-stitched saddle tan interior. The seats were better than I had in my living room.

It had an exquisite 4-liter (244 ci) “boxer” engine, double overhead cams, the V-12 was the same engine used in the million-dollar Countach. I had the car garaged at home and would pull it out when I was showing off.  Which was quite a bit.

I would routinely drive the black panther for high-speed 100-mile runs to Ocean City, Maryland. I would take some lucky passenger; I could have charged a fee. No one who ever rode with me in that car ever engaged me in a meaningful conversation: they were all too gob smacked by the car as I was either scaring the hell out of them with my driving - or they were swooning and babbling on about the car – which is when I would turn up the music volume.

I could and would routinely hit 140 + on the long flat sections on the far side of the Chesapeake Bay bridge. This at dawn, while blowing my head off listening to Van Halen or Mahavishnu (jacked up on caffeine and bud) at top volume on the state-of-the-art German stereo. The car had a realistic top speed of 185-mph if I had the balls. Which I did not. At 140 mph the telephone poles whip by like a deck of cards being shuffled, one steering wheel bobble and you are cartwheeling into a cornfield.

We would go to Ocean City on successive weekends to see my rock star buddies play at Fager’s Island. We would play racquetball at the OC Racquet and Health club, eat steaks and seafood, lift weights, boogie board, drink too much, hit the club at night and drive the car all over town. Nothing trumped this ride.

The motorcycle chieftain I bought the Lambo from looked like Odin. He handed me the keys and said, “Son, never ever drive this car in rain! This car is a guided missile, a gasoline firebomb, a bad combination. If these tires get wet,” He pointed at one of the Tiger Paws, “you will spin-out of control. On dry pavement, you are the baddest thing on four wheels. Drive on wet streets and you are in mortal danger.” Well, I queried, what do you do if you are out driving around and it starts to rain? As it occasionally does.

“Find a bridge, pull under it, wait till the roads dry.”

If the weather was good, I would periodically drive the Lambo on the 40-mile trip to Mark Chaillet’s Gym. The roads were a good combination of high-speed highway driving and twisty back roads.  On one such trip, on the way, I stopped along the way and picked up my hillbilly criminal (allegedly) training partner, the uber-powerful, male model, Marshall P. (525 raw bench, 785 squat, 219-pound bodyweight.)

Nicknamed “Doc”, Marshall loved the Lambo. “This car is sex on wheels brother! This car is auto-mo-tive PORN!” He would moan and seemed to get sexually aroused when I would rip through the five gears eating up a cloverleaf.

The final stretch heading to Mark’s gym was a wonderful three miles of twisty backroads, one lane in either direction, with no room for error: there was a three-foot drop-off into marshland on both sides.  The Lambo tires were like pencil erasers. Gummy, they stuck the car to the road surface; it handled like a 400-horsepower go-kart. Every corner was a thrilling 5G carnival ride.

On this particular day, I had just gotten off the superhighway and turned onto the twisty section when the sky got really dark really quick. A giant raindrop hit the windshield, splat! “Oh HELL” I yelled, I floored it to 100 in four seconds, shredding gears in a crazed effort to beat the rain. Marshall sat bolt upright.

“What in the HELL is go’ in ON??!!!” He was (rightfully) behaving like a 767-jet passenger having an oxygen mask drop down as the plane starts to shake.

Before I could tell him to buckle his three-point harness seatbelt, the Lambo broke loose and started spinning in fast circles. It seemed in slow motion.

Within five seconds of first giant drops of cold rain hitting the scorching pavement we were an aluminum gas bomb spinning in circles.

On our first 360, we dodged an oncoming monster truck (I remember the rebel flag license plate being at eye height) We were an aluminum matador, and this was a near miss with a giant 5,000-pound iron bull going 60 miles an hour the other way: we had barely missed getting gored in the nuts, but that was just the first revolution.

Marshall screamed louder with every revolution. I was strangely at peace: we were going to burn to death in a flaming exotic car – it would be a very Rockstar-like ending.  Perhaps, if we were lucky, the collision would send us careening into the marshlands, if we didn’t explode on impact, perhaps the malaria-ridden swamp water would extinguish the burning napalm that would cover our burning bodies…

A miracle occurred. All the spinning stopped.  After coming within inches of being run over, after the car had come within inches of sliding off the road and into the marsh on both sides, we ended up dead in the water facing in the right direction, in the right lane. The car had died.

Luckily, there were no other cars on the road coming in either direction. Marshall’s chest was heaving so hard he could not catch his breath or speak, with his left hand he grabbed my shifter hand in a death grip, his face was purple. I yelled, “Are you having a HEART ATTACK!!” He could not answer, he gestured frantically, spasmodically, for me to get moving.

I drove the remaining ¼ mile in 1st gear going 20 miles an hour. Marshall got his himself together. He had a shitty workout and told me he had another way home.

The spinout, later on I had an ignition fire, the $1,000 tune-ups…the final straw was a monster jump in my insurance premium.  It combined to sour me on the Lambo.

We got divorced.

I did not buy this car to have it sit it in the garage and let appreciate in value: I bought supercars to drive the hell out them. I was stupid. I felt so smart when, after paying $12,000 for the Lambo, and driving the hell out of it for three glorious years, I sold it to a Texas banker (later indicted and incarcerated in the nationwide S&L scandal) for $18,000. I made a $6,000 profit! I was a genius!

In the condition I was driving it around in, so freaking casually, that same car today in that condition would be worth a cool $500,000. Take that car, give it a frame off restoration and we are talking 1.2 million.

1966 Lamborghini 400 GT Leather Interior 1966 Lamborghini 400 GT Leather Interior

 

Auto Porn: my Lambo’s interior. Note the toggle switches. The seats were fabulous, the stereo powerful, the smell of the hand-stitched leather intoxicating. Nothing topped listening to superb music jetting along at 100 + in this rocket ship; the whine of the V-12, the cool dawn air, a dry road, no cops (I had a radar detector) Those times are never to be repeated – but better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

In another genius move, I was talked out of buying the car pictured below. My exotic car mentor, Ed Waterman, the owner of Thoroughbred Motors, was a Ferrari snob. When a super clean Ferrari (red with tan saddle interior) 250 GTE 2+2 came available to me for $10,000, Ed talked me out of it. I had money in hand and was ready to purchase when, in a last-minute conversation with Thoroughbred Ed, he dissed the car so bad that I bailed.

“It a lady’s car.” He yelled. What?? I countered – Ed, this car has a 183-inch 3-litre, 250-horsepower V-12. This car has a detuned version of the same SOHC 3-litre V-12 used in the 250 GTO! Ed, this car has a hand-tooled, hand-stitched, Italian saddle tan leather interior? What is not to like?! Plus – I have driven it – and it screams at 6.500 rpms. It had a major tune-up less than a month ago and had only 12,000 miles on the odometer.”

He was merciless. “A Ferrari with a backseat?! Get serious! This is a car for your wife!” He was hitting below the belt at the manhood of anyone that would consider buying this lowest-of-the low Ferraris, ignoring that the next Ferrari up in the pecking order was the ravishing Berlinetta Lusso, quadruple the price. Ed’s attack at the manhood of this particular Ferrari hit its mark with macho Marty.

So okay Ed, what would you suggest I spend my $10,000 on?? He suggested a frame-off restored Paxton supercharged Studebaker Avanti. I bought the car, hated it (it rode like a supercharged covered wagon) and immediately sold it to a Studebaker cult member. I used that money (plus a few bucks) to purchase the Lambo. After I sold the Lamborghini, I bailed on the exotic car market; the insurance costs took the fun out of it.

These cars became too precious to use them in the reckless way I used them. I loved my Dukes of Hazzard times in my Corvette. I loved the surreal experience of piloting the exotic black panther at night, driving it the way it was meant to be driven; windows down, music blasting, V-12 screaming, slicing through the countryside, no one else on the highway in either direction, no streetlights…alive, ridding on the cusp of control and sanity in a supercar that will kill you in an instant.

That which does not kill me makes me soooo happy…

I hear she got a frame off restoration and is pimped out and garaged in some rich euro-weenie’s car collection. He never drives her, he just looks at her, like another of his paintings or statues.  He may own her, but she’ll think back on me the way Madonna thinks back on Sean Penn…

Ferrari 250 GTE Ferrari 250 GTE

 

Thanks for talking me out of this car Ed! Does this look like a “Lady’s car?!” I could have had this car Ferrari SOHC 3-liter V-12 for $10,000. Nowadays worth $400.000.

Look for Marty Gallagher's full autobiography coming soon. Hope you enjoyed this "sneak peek"...

 

RAW with Marty Gallagher, J.P. Brice and Jim Steel Podcast RAW with Marty Gallagher, J.P. Brice and Jim Steel Podcast

 

About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of multiple books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.