September 2013
The Reunion: 1973-2013

He's been the public face of Lamborghini, at least to many of their visiting clients and journalists, for decades through good times and bad. The factory even named a car after him, and he's still doing what he does best: test driving Lamborghinis. His name is Valentino Balboni and on 5th September 2013 he celebrates the 40th anniversary of his first ever official test drive.

There's another man who is less well-known in motoring circles but his family name adorned hundreds of thousands of vehicles in post-war Italy, from Lambretta scooters to Minis built under licence. For his own transport Gianfranco Innocenti's father consented to gift him something rather less humble, and as chance would have it, it was that very same car which, on that morning 40 years ago, the young Valentino Balboni drove out the factory gate for the first time.

The Lamborghini factory employees who built the car are now old men, but over the past 18 months they have carefully preserved it for the next generation. The night before it was shipped to Pebble Beach to be shown at this year's concours d'elegance, we thought the time was right to reunite Signor Innocenti with the car he hasn't seen since he traded it for a new Countach at the end of 1973. And who better to deliver it to him than...  

Outside Milan, 3am: finally a pause for reflection
Outside Milan, 3am: finally a pause for reflection
Looking back over test records he wrote as a young man
Looking back over test records he wrote as a young man
An emotional moment as first owner Gianfranco Innocenti is reunited with a car he hasn't seen in almost 40 years
An emotional moment as first owner Gianfranco Innocenti is reunited with a car he hasn't seen in almost 40 years
Simon listens as Valentino Balboni remembers
Simon listens as Valentino Balboni remembers
Innocenti and his Miura: same car, outside same home
Innocenti and his Miura: same car, outside same home
A blast from the past as the black SV roars around its home town again after midnight
A blast from the past as the black SV roars around its home town again after midnight