My Car Quest

July 20, 2024

A Lamborghini Gallardo, A Water Bottle and A Pocket Knife

by Mike Gulett –

I wanted to get us away from the depressing news and world events of the day, at least for a few minutes, so I reached back into the My Car Quest archives and pulled out one of my favorite personal car experiences.

For a few days back in 2006 I had an up-close relationship with a Lamborghini Gallardo, which I have always wanted to own. I never did get a Gallardo, at least not yet, but wound up with a Lamborghini Espada many years after this adventure.

I like this story, although at the time there were moments I was not happy, maybe I just like the memory of this story. I included the very interesting comment left in 2018 by an experienced Gallardo owner, driver and Lamborghini and Ferrari dealer.

This story was originally published on March 20, 2018.

Ever since I first saw the Lamborghini Gallardo I have wanted one. My desire for a car starts with the looks but the car must be able to back up those looks with performance and technology. The Gallardo indeed does back up the beautiful style with stellar performance.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Powered by a mid-engine 5-liter V10 producing 500+ hp, depending on the year and model, just getting behind the wheel and starting up a Gallardo is an adrenaline producing experience not to be forgotten. The Gallardo comes equipped with either a six-speed manual or the Lamborghini E-Gear (paddle shift) transmission.

Italdesign-Giugiaro did the initial styling of the first Gallardo, the 2004 model. Fabrizio Giugiaro drew the original sketches, but the car was then restyled by Luc Donckerwolke, the same Lamborghini designer who styled the Murciélago.

Lamborghini Gallardo Loaner

In 2006 I was offered the use of a new Lamborghini Gallardo for a few days by the local Lamborghini dealer, formerly Ferrari of Los Gatos. They made the offer because I had agreed to trade in my Bentley Continental GT for a Flying Spur (they were a Bentley dealer among other makes as well).

Lamborghini Gallardo

My new car, still on the boat, was a few days away from arriving when the salesman called and said he needed my trade in car right away because he had sold it and he wanted to close the deal before the buyer changed their mind. I told him that this was my daily driver and I needed it. He then offered an extended demo of either an Aston Martin DB9 or the Lamborghini Gallardo just so I would not have to hitch rides around town. I jumped at the chance to spend a few days with the Gallardo.

Lamborghini Gallardo

My good friend, Michael Menetto, and I drove the Gallardo with an E-Gear transmission all around the Santa Cruz Mountains for a few days.

During this Lamborghini adventure:

* Everywhere we stopped we drew a crowd of car lovers who wanted to look at the Lamborghini – this was when the Gallardo was a rare sight, even in Northern California.

Michael Menetto and the Lamborghini Gallardo

Michael Menetto and the Lamborghini Gallardo

* We were followed by a police cruiser in a small mountain town into a gas station (they just wanted to look at the car). Fortunately they did not see us speeding and I am not admitting that I actually did speed.

* Despite the previously mentioned gas station stop plus others we ran out of gas; when a Gallardo gas gauge says 1/8th of a tank it really means empty. This same thing happened to Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear in what looked like an identical Lamborghini Gallardo, even the same color.

We were driving up Highway 9 out of Santa Cruz toward Skyline Boulevard, I could feel the sputter of the engine and I knew we were likely running out of gas because of my years of experience with a ’56 Chrysler with a gas gauge that did not work. This is not a good feeling especially on a mountain road with few turn offs. Fortunately I was able to nurse it to Skyline, turned left and immediately came upon a wide area on the side of the road and I pulled over knowing we could not make it any further.

Mike Gulett and the Lamborghini Gallardo

Mike Gulett and the Lamborghini Gallardo

Cell phone connections were not very good in the mountains in 2006 and when I called Rebecca, my wife, to ask for help with the empty gas tank situation the wide area on the side of the road was at an elevation that allowed for a brief yet noisy cell phone call. I did not know if Rebecca would come save us or not because she did not leave me hopeful when we lost the connection.

She did drive up to rescue us and by the time she arrived we were on the way to the gas station north on Skyline Boulevard driven there by a nice couple who stopped to look at the Gallardo, another Lamborghini advantage – people stop to look or help. Rebecca waited with the Lamborghini (being the only orange Gallardo on the road she assumed it was ours).

When we returned with the gas we discovered that the gas container spout would not fit in the Gallardo gas filler opening, which was only about one inch or so in diameter – just big enough to take a gas pump nozzle. Fortunately Rebecca had a plastic water bottle with an opening that would fit in the Gallardo opening and Michael Menetto had a pocket knife to cut the plastic bottle in half, which allowed us to turn the water bottle into a funnel for the gas. Otherwise we may have tried to pour the gas into the Gallardo gas opening which I think would not have worked out well.

Notice how I needed something my wife had with her and something my friend always had in his pocket. Neither items were in my possession proving we all need other people to help us sometimes.

We were saved and we drove straight to the gas station to add more gas to the Gallardo and return the gas can to the station owner and claim my $20 deposit on the gas container.

* We covered more than 250 miles in this Gallardo in two days of driving, mostly in the mountains, going nowhere, arriving very quickly and in style.

* I still want a Gallardo.

* Since that day I have hoped that I do not need a water bottle and a pocket knife to get home again, so far so good.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.



Lamborghini Logo

Lamborghini Logo

A Lamborghini Gallardo, A Water Bottle and A Pocket Knife
Article Name
A Lamborghini Gallardo, A Water Bottle and A Pocket Knife
Despite several gas station stops we ran out of gas; when a Lamborghini Gallardo gas gauge says 1/8th of a tank it really means empty.


  1. As the first in the world to be an owner of both a Ferrari and Lamborghini franchise, I knew my friends and customers would all ask the inevitable “which is better, Ferrari or Lamborghini?” So I bought a 2004 Gallardo for my personal use. At the same time I also owned multiple Ferrari’s. I loved the look of the Gallardo, and I soon experienced the benefits of owning a car with great Italian design, backed by German engineering and quality.

    I drove the Gallardo hard, drove it to track days and Drove it hard on the track, then drove home many, many times with no problems whatsoever! I drove it the rain, in the snow, across the desert from Santa Barbara to Las Vegas, ran it at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, tracked the Gallardo, then drove back to Santa Barbara.

    Drove the Gallardo back to the DC area, and continued to drive the car hard. Used it as an everyday driver, driving in rush hour traffic, lots of stop and go, etc. overall put nearly 30,000 miles on the car without any problems. The clutch was fine. The Gallardo seemed to need to be driven hard. I actually pushed the car beyond redline a number of times, drove on bad road surfaces, and tracked the car in an attempt to see if the car would break!!

    In the end I was able to tell friends and customers that I found the Gallardo to be nearly unbreakable! I only let the Gallardo go when I took delivery of one of the first Huracan’s to arrive in the US.

    • SS,

      Very interesting. I owned a Ferrari 360 Modena with the F1 transmission for a few years in 2000-2003 or so – before the Gallardo was introduced. I drove it a lot (a few thousand miles) and it was nearly a daily driver. I liked the 360 but grew tired of the F1 transmission. I loved the E-Gear Gallardo transmission (I know it was a few years later than the Ferrari transmission) but it is a paddle shift transmission that I could love on a sports car. The Gallardo also has much more power and torque than the 360 and the sound of that V10 is awesome. After the 360 I drove a Ferrari 550 Maranello daily for one year and did love that car and the manual 6-speed transmission.

  2. Mike Stellato says

    I truly empathize with both comments above and only wish that the Millennials and other youth could embrace the connection with the design, engineering and mechanicals of these man-made wonders in the same way they have done with electronics. Understandably, there is a declining appreciation for automotive anything – unless its electronic. It will be a sad day, indeed, when the batteries wear out and there are no more mechanics.

  3. My 1968 MGC GT has run dry enough times (running rich enough to only get around 17 mpg instead of 20). My temporary solution uses the same plastic water bottle trimmed back to insert into the filler pipe. A piece of wire hooks it firmly in place so I can guide the gas can with both hands. I’ve also discovered that a fly rod’s tip can be snaked in to touch bottom on my Sprite, MG, and 1935 Riley Aero Saloon. Incidentally, I’ve no need to do this to my ’78 Porsche, as they simply do not break.

  4. To continue the conversation, I will reiterate how much I enjoyed my first Lamborghini, the 2004 Gallardo. As I said in 2018, I only gave up the Gallardo when I took delivery of one of the first Huracans delivered to the US. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Huracan. However, I still have special memories of both my 2004 Gallardo, and the 2008 Superleggera I bought out of our dealer inventory and immediately drove to Summit Point for a long and very rewarding day at the track! Can’t say enough good things about the Lamborghini products. However, I recently had the opportunity to drive a 2020 Aston Martin Vantage….Wow! what a car! Very nimble, and with the Mercedes engine and electronics, I anticipate it will be very reliable as well! Additionally, Aston Martin seems to still know how to give customers the bespoke experience that has always been a hallmark of Aston Martin. No, I am not an Aston Martin dealer and have no relationship other than as a customer. It seems that the other companies have become too large to maintain the personal attention that Aston Martin still provides. AND they are making even better cars now!

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