The phrase “dream car” gets thrown around a lot with us petrol heads and they’re often subject to regular change and updates. Mine has always been the Ferrari F430 and the Lamborghini Gallardo. After selling my Porsche CSR and turning a small profit to move it hurriedly, I found myself in the biggest first world problem to date. In my “budget” if I used some form of supercar finance I had around £70,000 to play with and sat within this budget was a Rosso Corsa F430 F1 and a *manual* Lamborghini Gallardo. With both cars holding special place in my heart I was very torn when making a decision yet the cards were stacked very much in the Gallardo’s favour. The Ferrari was in Ireland, it was £8000 more expensive and it had the clutch killing F1 transmission which compared to a manual is always a risky bet. I wanted the Ferrari more than anything but the harsh reality of a £5000 clutch bill just didn’t sit well with me as realistically I am poor.
The Americans seem to use the phrase “gated manual” an awful lot, on this side of the pond we just call them manuals. However the satisfaction the “click clack” of the gate gives when changing cogs is second to none. I genuinely drove the 100 miles home grinning like an absolute idiot. The clutch is fairly light, the gearbox is a little heavy and you need to take your time with it. There is some Italian lunacy mixed in however, the driver has the steering wheel yet the passenger seems to have the pedals and they’re far too close together, I’ve fairly narrow feet yet felt I was wearing clown shoes from time to time.
The Gallardo was Lamborghini’s first large scale production car with around 14,000 being produced between 2003-2013 with 97% of total production being the E-gear automatic. That’s right only 3% of all Gallardos sold worldwide were manual transmissions which when coupled to the 39k miles mine has covered makes it somewhat of a unicorn. It’s specced quite tastefully for an early 2000’s car as well with a subtle black over black specification, no mad two-tone interiors here I’m pleased to report.
The early Gallardo had a cat-ingestion issue, the high back pressure of the 5.0 V10 meant brittle catalysts over time could be sucked back into the engine and cause bore scoring. This tended to happen on higher mileage examples and I’m pleased to report this car had covered around 25,000 miles when ceramic coated cat-bypass pipes were fitted into a Tubi exhaust. Other issues included upper and lower arms which have just been replaced by Lamborghini Pangbourne and manual cars suffered from shift cables stretching, again these were replaced in March 2021. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous but with the Gallardo being my second car and covering less than 5000 miles a year I really thought it was worth a try, especially with it being cheaper than a manual V10 R8.