Legendary Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni launches ‘VB’, his eponymous aftermarket exhaust company. And he’s got his eyes set on the 740bhp SV Aventador…[Not a valid template]
After 40 years with possibly the coolest job on the planet – save perhaps Claudia Schiffer’s personal masseuse – former Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni isn’t ready to abandon life with the Raging Bull just yet. His new company, VB, will produce bespoke custom exhaust systems for Lamborghini owners, the first of many targets being the already brutal 740bhp SV Aventador. Fighting for the spotlight alongside Elvis Presley’s fully restored ’57 BMW 507 Roadster, Balboni’s new venture will be officially launched at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Headlining the unveil will be VB’s first aftermarket kit, a lightweight exhaust for the LP-750 SV Aventador, designed primarily to achieve ‘a new dimension in sound’. Made entirely from titanium, the exhaust weighs only 6.3kg (13.8lb), is a bolt-on part using OEM mounts, and takes a whopping 350 hours to build. Only 30 will be produced, and unsurprisingly, prices have yet to be announced. Then again, if you’ve already forked over nearly half a million dollars for your new SV Aventador (or Roadster), chances are a couple of extra thousand won’t ding the bank balance too heavily.
Balboni’s legacy at Sant’Agata is difficult to argue with: the company even produced a limited edition LP550-2 ‘Valentino Balboni edition’ Gallardo in 2009 in his honour. Granted his first job with Lamborghini aged just 18, Balboni had risen to mechanic by 1970 before joining the test team alongside chief tester Bob Wallace (only then did the Italian actually take his driving test). Already a huge fan of the Miura, Balboni became heavily involved in prototype development, production and customer service as production began on Lamborghini’s flagship Diablo during the 1980s, simultaneously becoming a company ambassador in the process. He would eventually retire in October 2008 after four decades at Sant’Agata having personally tested 80 per cent of all cars produced by Lamborghini in that time.
Not that it was all plain sailing of course: whilst testing a customer’s Countach in 1978, and having just clocked 180kph, an unsighted truck caused Balboni to spear off the road, the Countach barrel rolling violently before landing upside down. The future aftermarket exhaust specialist would escape – somehow – with only minor scratches.