A Lamborghini, a beat up Touareg and two Porsches (and a race trailer) – across America in 5 days.

Jun 1, 2020

Prelude – I received a call from a friend who said his realtor just inherited her late brother’s estate including a Ferrari in an old garage. Would we be interested?  Yep

The Ferrari turned out to be a 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo, the second year of the Audi makeover and a very pretty car. This one had the less-than-loved E-trans, but still – a Lamborghini! With a V-10! There were a couple of potential snags, the car was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and we decided to pick it up in person and tow it to California – in five days!  The plan was to get the tow vehicle, meet up with the Lambo, drive both to Ohio and pick up a race trailer, and head west. What could go wrong?

Graham arrives on the redeye from SFO to our local NY airport, JFK (we live on Long Island, which would be the start of our journey – a true coast-to-coast). Job one is to pick up a tow vehicle, which we did by driving to the docks of Brooklyn and purchasing a 2016 Touareg diesel with its house-pulling torque and highway refinement. This particular one had led a rough life as every panel on it was dented, scratched, marred and generally trashed. Still, a deal is a deal and we headed out to the family compound in the Hamptons for a few days of R&R before our adventure would begin.

Day One – Western Pennsylvania: Amazing how many dirt roads still exist. We finally found the shed – actually – where the car was stored, next to a ‘63 Caddy Deville. All very “Barn Hunters”. One of the family members fired it up, pulled it out – sounded good and looked pretty great. Cash was exchanged, docs signed and we were off.  Opps.  Running rough – doesn’t  like to decelerate without stalling – E-trans not happy. Hmmm. Made it to the motel in Ohio (about 200 miles down the road) and, thankfully, shut it off and contemplated our purchase.

Day Two – somewhere in Ohio on Sunday: Buying a new race trailer in Ohio where it is made saves about $2k over buying said trailer in California. Therefore, we are in Ohio packing up the Lambo and hooking up the Touareg but the dealership is closed and we are working with a salesperson who came in to expedite.  Hmmmm – trailer brakes not working and tomorrow we hit the rolling hills and the Rockies the day after. No service personnel here to fix it. Make an appointment at a shop a few hours away in Indiana that handles these trailers – on a Sunday. Fortunately, the Indiana shop had a great technician who worked with us while we struggled to find the issue.  Turns out that, in the general trashing of the Touareg, the wires to the hitch socket had been crimped when crashing into something and were not conducting.  Problem solved by running a new power line from the fuse box up through the cabin and out the tailgate. Fixed.

Day Three – Somewhere West of Laramie: Thank goodness for trailer brakes! Man, the wind here can really blow a trailer around. Can’t image driving an 18 wheeler through this.

Day Four – Pahrump, NV: Decided that the trip was getting a bit dull, so went on Craigslist and purchased a 2007 C4S Cabriolet which we picked up sitting in the driveway of a new (mostly empty) development out in the desert. Owner was not there but left the top down, key in the ignition and title in the glove box.  With Lambo in tow and C4S behind, we headed into Reno for our final stop.

Day Five – Sierra Nevada: A C4S is a fantastic car to drive through the Donner Pass and the Tahoe National Forest. Much more fun than driving a Touareg diesel towing a race trailer. The open air was filled with smoke from the many fires but even that could not dull the experience – what a great car!

Just to keep things interesting, we decided to sidetrack to Napa and check out another C4S, but a coupe’ this time. Met the owner in a mall parking lot, did our usual inspection and test drive, and bought that one, too.  Ran out of drivers so arranged to have it trucked to our shops.

Day Six: I could have made the redeye from SFO that night and get in under the wire, but decided to help unload the Lamborghini, move all the cars around and have a good dinner @ Chef Chu’s. And, frankly, doing all of that in 5 days and 3,200 miles was a bit much.  Still, made the first flight out.

Epilog: The primary issue with the Lambo turned out to be not enough air in the tires thus throwing the speed sensors off and generally discombobulating the E-trans. With that sorted, and interior trim pieces sourced and replaced, it turned out to be a fantastic car. And, after some serious dentless repair work, we made a couple of bucks on the Touareg.