June 8, 2017
Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini Ambassador and Former Chief Test Driver
To be honest, despite forty-five years of devotion to Automobili Lamborghini, I still do not know exactly the reason why.
After elementary school I chose to go to a mechanic school only because it was close enough to go to with a bicycle. My father was a carpenter, and he had no time to bring me to school with his Vespa and there was no bus in our area. I was increasingly attracted by the teacher’s lessons. Even more, I was enjoying putting my hands on engines and suspensions, instinctively falling in love and becoming more “addicted” to cars.
When it came time to look for a job, Automobili Lamborghini was not too far from my home so I decided to fill out an employment form—and after a short time I became an apprentice mechanic at the Automobili Lamborghini Customer Service Department.
Love and passion for cars became my reason for life despite the fact that I didn’t know, at the beginning, what I would end up doing. Love is intense and instinctive, so natural.
If you could go back in time, what historic automotive event or person would you want to see and why?
I would love to have seen the original Mille Miglia. Even today, every time the modern Mille Miglia drives by I enjoy the atmosphere and the smell of engines burning oil. The combination of the sound and the smoke of those cars in acceleration is still an attraction, and it makes me think of what the real competition might have been like on those magic days. I have a never ending smile on my face while walking on the parc fermé.
To see the white-haired mechanics inspecting and taking detailed care of those machines is another amazing thing.
What Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance moment do you most remember?
I started to go constantly to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance more than twenty-five years ago, and every time is like the first time: I seem to enter a magic world. The elegance of the cars and their owners, the public, the ocean and the fog make the atmosphere unique. It is a place and an event not to be missed.
The moment I became an Honorary Judge is unforgettable. Working and sharing opinions with the utmost qualified experts and historians in the world is an amazing and motivating experience.