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September 16, 2019

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j. patrick coolican:

Floored by the Lamborghini experience

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Sam Morris

Las Vegas Sun columnist J. Patrick Coolican takes a test drive in a Lamborghini Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011.

Lamborghini Test Drive

Las Vegas Sun columnist J. Patrick Coolican hops in a Lamborghini at Lamborghini Las Vegas in Henderson Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. Launch slideshow »
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

As I steer my Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder through downtown Henderson, I pass JobConnect, our state’s unsubtle euphemism for the unemployment office.

As I pass by, I yell, “Losers!”

OK, it’s not my Lamborghini, yet. I’m test driving it, preparing for my inevitable riches.

The Lamborghini dealership in Henderson is opening a new showroom, and it’s a good thing, too, because I think we can all agree that the Lamborghini dealership just hadn’t been up to the Las Vegas Valley’s standards for class and glamour.

In celebration, they’ve invited me to drive one for 30 minutes.

The Spyder has 560 horsepower and a top speed of 217 mph. It’s gunmetal gray, tan leather interior.

I realize it’s gauche to even ask, but I’m told it goes for $220,000. As a member of the local media elite, I’m right on the bubble. We’ll see how she drives.

Before I head out, I sign a release form that sits on a coffee table with a bag of A&W fast food. Apparently, I’m not supposed to be drunk or high.

I receive instructions on operating the machine — this isn’t a Toyota, you plebeians. I head down Eastgate Road in Henderson, which runs through the Automall. I can’t wait to escape the odor of all the cars that go for under six figures.

It’s a different driving experience than my 2005 Hyundai Accent. It feels like a gentle ballet-tap on the gas pedal could start another war in the Persian Gulf. Until you get used to the gas pedal, there’s a jerking motion like when the old-school roller coaster starts up at Wally World.

I go right on Warm Springs Road and right on Boulder Highway toward downtown Henderson. In my head, I hear a pulsing chant: “One percent. One percent.”

At a four-way stop downtown, cars let me go even though it’s not my turn. That’s called deference, and don’t forget it next time you cross paths with a Lamborghini.

I turn around at City Lights Art Gallery. If I cared about art, I could buy it all.

While I’m pulled over, a guy who says they call him “Doc” tells me he’s impressed. He’s got a Corvette.

Please. Move along.

At Lake Mead Parkway and Boulder Highway, there’s a guy with a sign advertising Viagra and Cialis.

I’ve got mine right here, buddy.

Now I’m on Boulder Highway. The satellite radio is tuned to the Grateful Dead, and I’m hearing a choice version of “Jack-A-Roe.” I can feel the admiration of the other drivers, and a shiver hits my head.

I peel out of the stoplight and in seconds I’m going 50 mph. I’m a cop magnet, so I slow down and some hillbilly in a truck passes me going 60 or 70.

As I head north on Boulder Highway, one of the most elegant boulevards in the valley, I think back to when I was 8 years old and there was literally nothing better — aside from a couple professional athletes, maybe — than a Lamborghini. The Matchbox car was my favorite, and I may have had a poster on my bedroom wall.

Over the years, first gradually and then rapidly, the Lamborghini began to mean something else. I began associating it with purveyors of high-end pornography and lobbyists for oil and gas companies.

I pull up to a light at Boulder Highway and Sunset Road, and a guy in a Smart Car with a handicap placard suggests we race.

I love when the little people have a sense of humor.

I go left on Russell Road and hit U.S. Highway 95. Now I really let it go, hitting 80 mph and leaving a trail of rubber on the windshields of the lessers.

Back at the dealership. They tell me I was grinning as I pulled in.

Also, they offer a correction: The car goes for $230,000 and not $220,000, as I was told earlier.

That hardly matters. But the cup holder is in a weird place, so no thanks, Mr. Lamborghini.

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