Valentino Balboni’s relationship with Ferruccio Lamborghini was more than professional; Ferruccio became his mentor.
Valentino Balboni started working for Lamborghini in 1968 and became their Chief Test Driver in 1975.
At one point, he had driven about 80% of all Lamborghinis ever produced, and the only person to have driven more Miuras was his former boss, Bob Wallace.
Test drivers, or as the Italians call them, Collaudatore, are less public and don’t carry the status of race drivers.
But they are highly respected among the inner circles of the exotic car world.
Before he had his licence, he would drive customer cars around the factory every chance he got, just for the thrills.
His bosses threatened to fire him numerous times if he continued driving cars without permission.
In 2015, just seven years into his retirement, Balboni completed his Biography titled ‘The Best Job in the World; Lamborghini Test Driver.
The man has earned cult status.
He is known as Mr Lamborghini worldwide.
As to the priest, Alfredo Pizzi took Valentino and some friends to play football at the pitch of the oratorio in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Opposite the Lamborghini factory.
Young Valentino viewed a car transporter unloading Miura’s from Bertone.
Valentino helped push these cars into the Lamborghini factory. Remember the phrase, ‘like a kid in a candy store’?
The rest, dear readers, is history.