Burn!

Our author was given the chance to drive a Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4, the only one of just 112 units in the color Arancio Bruciato. If you’re now asking yourself why he, of all people, was allowed to do that – you’ll just have to read this story to find out.

  • Text
    Kurt Molzer
  • Photos
    Matthias Mederer · ramp.pictures

As we all know, you can’t choose your family. But you can choose your friends. And I choose them well. One of them, for example, is the general manager of a luxury resort with overwater bungalows in the Caribbean. Every year, I visit him there for two weeks with my girlfriend Madita. When taking a shower, we’re treated to a view of the seabed through the glass floor. The official price for the fourteen-day stay in our category is €19,820. On the last day of our vacation, I pull out my credit card. Pro forma. My friend always just taps me on the shoulder with a wink, “Kurt, c’mon, are you crazy?” Another friend of mine runs this gourmet temple in Vienna. Twice a month, occasionally three times, I dine at his place. With Madita, of course. I especially enjoy the seven-course table d’hôte (the most recent example: Bouchot mussels with sweet corn, Arctic char with blood orange, wild duck with black walnut, etc.). Comes to €410 for two people. Not counting the bottle of wine. After dessert, I ask the waiter for the bill. Pro forma. My friend, a whirling dervish in a tailored cashmere suit, then comes rushing to our table, gently squeezes my forearm, shakes his head and says, “No way, Kurt! Go on, put it back.” Some people say that money can end a friendship. I don’t agree. For me, that’s exactly where my friendships start.

Despite my rotten character, I have a surprisingly large number of friends. One of them is one of only 112 people in the world who own a Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4.

Despite my rotten character, I have a surprisingly large number of friends. Of one of them, I would like to say that he is my best friend – but he wouldn’t like that, because he thinks I’m a scheming sycophant. So I just call him my second-best friend. And that brings us to the beginning of our actual story. Because my second-best friend is one of only 112 people in the world who own a Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4, that exhilarating, exclusive, exorbitantly priced reinterpretation of the most famous of all Sant’Agata bulls, built on the Aventador platform to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its ancestor: 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12, 803 hp (of which 34 are supplied by an electric motor), 355 km/h top speed, seven gears. The hybrid powertrain was adopted from the Sian. All-wheel drive, of course. You can’t drive the 800-4 on electric power alone, however; in fact, the electric motor is really only there to optimize performance. Why was the production limited to 112 cars? To remind you of the internal project designation of the first Countach: LP 112. Sticker price: €2.4 million.

Late summer last year, we went for a long drive in his yellow Miura. After two hours of chasing after all sorts of rebellious upstarts (Mercedes AMGs and the like), we gave the old warrior its favorite swill (V-Power 100), settled down on a couple of bar stools inside the gas station, and once again asked ourselves whether the mind-blowing thunder of a twelve-cylinder engine revved up high or the sweetly ecstatic, sky-high exultation of our most dearest at the climax of physical union gave us the greatest possible pleasure in our earthly existence. Once again, we could not come up with a definite answer. But when my second-best friend said with a thoughtful look on his face, “Well, if I had to choose . . . ,” I stopped him right there. Because I could guess how he was going to finish that thought – and I wanted to save his really quite happy marriage. (Because once something is said, I write it down without mercy, there’s no off-the-record with me, that’s kindergarten stuff!) “Stop right there,” I stopped him, “You don’t have to say anything, I know how you feel.” He nodded in relief. Then I casually asked him, “So, when are you taking delivery of the monster?” A blissful smile flashed across his lips: “Very soon.”

Germany became the true promised land through a ­decision by the Bundestag on December 19, 1952, namely the abolition of all maximum speed limits. December 19 is a holy holiday for me and the only day of the year when I pray.

Two months later he called me: “It’s here. It’s waiting for you. Come and play with it and write something nice about it.” I dropped everything and took the next plane to Stuttgart. When I arrived in front of the garage where he keeps all of his race cars, I was greeted by the blazing hellfire of the sun itself. I thought I was hallucinating! My taxi driver was feeling a bit uneasy as well. He turned off the engine and shouted in bewilderment: “What the fish!? Am I dreaming? Someone pinch me!” Arancio Bruciato. Burnt orange. My second-best friend hadn’t told me the color of his Countach. It was supposed to be a surprise. This burnt orange makes everything worse! It increases the degree of alarm that takes possession of you as soon as the optic nerve has registered the monster and passed it on to the brain. My thinking organ immediately recalled the last lines of a poem by Alfred Henschke, a German writer better known by his pseudonym Klabund. Hopefully not a bad omen: “Fly between moons, between stars, to the throne of the sun, the distant one; fly to the blazing god of pain and burn in his heart!” In the next instant, however, the unfathomable human brain experienced a spectacular decline in sophistication and produced one of those simplistic Chuck Norris jokes: “Chuck Norris can stand faster than you can run.” And to ensure that that makes sense further down the line, within milliseconds my brain turned nasty: “The Countach can stand faster than a Ferrari can drive.” Dear friends in Maranello, I am infinitely sorry! My cerebrum, often subjected to strong centrifugal forces, puts me in maximum embarrassment. I will make it up to you! Just park the latest test car in front of my door – but in red, not in blue like last time! Two weeks should be enough, I’ll write something very lovely in that time, greetings and kisses. Okay, back to the Countach and a word on its looks. Because the new Countach is more than just the old Countach. The LPI 800-4 is an extremely intoxicating cocktail with a shot of Diablo and a good dose of Murciélago, it makes you drunk with joy, no, heavily drunk just by looking at it, like a Tequila Sunrise, and when it stretches its bulging rear end towards you, you need to control yourself enough not to make a fool of yourself by lying down on your stomach in the street, clawing your fingernails into the asphalt in despair and cursing life because, for whatever reason, you’re not one of the 112 chosen ones.

Just then, the owner of the Countach came around the corner. His face was solemnly serious. His dark eyes literally pierced me with their gaze. Not a word of greeting. “There are only three people in this world,” he began, “who I would trust with this car. Senna. But he’s dead. Verstappen. But he doesn’t have any time. And you. You’re not dead and you have time like Santa Claus has whiskers. Senna was the greatest. Then comes Verstappen. Then comes nobody for a long time. And then there’s you.” – “I know,” I said, “and now give me the key.” He was taunting me, of course, because after Verstappen, it’s not me who’s next. It’s him. And only then it’s me. So my second-best friend gave me the key. I opened the scissor door and was about to get in. “Stop!” he shouted. “You’re wearing the wrong pants. They’re too dark and will rub off on the light-colored seats.” I thought he was joking, but my second-best friend was serious. “Okay,” I said, “I’m happy to take them off, except my underpants aren’t any lighter. Maybe you’d like me to sit in there with my bare ass?” – “Hmm.” He pondered and I continued to spin the yarn: “What will I say when they pull me over? I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s headlines: NAKED IN A LAMBO – PERVERT SHOCKS POLICE!” – “Wait a minute, I’ve got something you can wear,” he said, before he disappeared in the garage. When he came back, he brought with him a thin, white plastic of the type that the workers at a professional car wash stretch over the damp seats after their work is done. It didn’t look very elegant in the €2.4 million bomber, but that was okay with me; at least I was allowed to stay dressed south of my waist...

→ Read the whole story in ramp #60 »Too Cool to Handle.«.

Kurt Molzer

Kurt Molzer

Freelance Author & Columnist
Kurt Molzer was born and raised in Vienna and worked for years as chief editor for Bild, Penthouse and Bunte. From 2000 he was a writer for GQ magazine, where he had a monthly column. His debut novel "Kurt's Stories" was published in 2006. Now he writes for ramp (again). And he has to drive fast cars for it - although he had actually already sworn them off.
ramp #60 Unfassbar. Cool.

ramp #60 Unfassbar. Cool.

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