Valentino Balboni 1:18 by Scale Figures
Valentino Balboni (born 13 May 1949) is the former chief test driver of Lamborghini, a manufacturer of sports cars in Italy. He retired in October 2008 due to Italian government work regulations, after having served the company for 40 years. To pay tribute to him in occasion of his retirement, Lamborghini had labeled a 2009 edition to the Gallardo line-up, the LP550-2 Valentino Balboni. Balboni started working for Lamborghini on 21 April 1968, as a mechanic apprentice in the company. Eventually he was personally asked by the founder of the company, Ferruccio Lamborghini, to test-drive the newly built cars alongside Bob Wallace. Valentino Balboni has reportedly driven about 80% of all Lamborghinis ever built. Among the marque aficionados, Balboni has risen to cult status. In 2008, Balboni was still active for the company as the chief test-driver and ambassador. Fluent in English and German, he often appeared at different Lamborghini-related events, such as the unveiling of new models.
In July 2009, Lamborghini announced a special edition run of 250 Gallardo LP550-2 "Valentino Balboni edition" supercars; the company stated that the new car was to be rear-wheel driven in accordance with Balboni's preference for the thrill of cornering a rear-wheel driven vehicle. These vehicles were also made special with a white and gold stripe that runs the center of the car, inspired by sports cars of the 1970s.
Balboni, even though officially retired as chief test driver, has signed a two-year contract with Lamborghini as a consultant through 2010 that can be renewed multiple times.
Valentino Balboni said that the first car that got him excited about cars was a silver Bizzarrini GT 5300 that he saw at the Turin car show in 1966.