After more than 40 years as a test driver for Lamborghini, Valentino Balboni retired. In place of a gold watch the Italian supercar maker crafted a limited edition model (only 250) in his honor: the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni — yes, it’s a mouth full. That very car birthed two beautiful descendants. Our photo essay continues after the jump.

The LP designation means longitudinale/posteriore, denoting the placement of the engine just in front of the rear axle in a longitudinal fashion; the 550 represents the horsepower of the naturally aspirated V-10; and the 2 indicates the number of wheels driven, which is half the number of the standard Gallardo. Consumer adoration and demand for this limited edition inspired the LP550-2, and we were fortunately invited to Malibu, CA to experience the newest version, topless. The car. Not us.

makes the excessiveness on top of the already remarkable Gallardo an absolute, brutal necessity

The Gallardo is intended to be a purist’s sports car and this roofless version, combined with the somewhat rough E-tronic automated manual gearbox makes the excessiveness on top of the already remarkable Gallardo an absolute, brutal necessity. But it’s more about cranial pleasure than posterior comfort. You feel all the bumps in the road and live every movement of the clutch engaging and disengaging the lovely gears, and all the while you’re surrounded in plush leather and the throaty symphony that two-hundred and twenty thousand US dollars will provide.

The low center of gravity, the aggressive nose and the raucous banshee scream of the engine is why there’s a Lambo poster on every 8-year-old boy’s wall. We derived gobs of pleasure seeing one little kid hanging out of his mother’s car window on our drive telling at me how much he loved “my car.” Yeah, kid. It’s mine. Thanks.

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