Sometimes I genuinely feel sorry for some athletes who are so freakishly large that they simply cannot drive exotic sports cars because they don’t fit. Then I remember that they make my yearly salary in about 45 minutes and stop feeling so bad for them. Still, it must be frustrating to be able to afford high-priced Italian exotics but not fit in them. Shaquille O’Neal is probably the most famous big man in the world and potentially the richest. So when he wanted a Lamborghini Gallardo back in 2008, but couldn’t fit, he had a stretched version built just for him.
In his book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, he talks about how his extra-long-wheelbase Gallardo came to be and why he ended up selling it. To make his stretched Lambo, Shaq bought two Gallardos, one brand-new one, and another donor car. He then hired the Gaffoglio family from Argentina—famous for their automotive and aerospace metalwork—to cut the two apart and marry them together. The result was a Gallardo that was very clearly longer than normal but didn’t look too outrageous.
It wasn’t cheap, though, costing the Hall of Fame Center over $600,000. “The reason it cost so much was I bought a brand-new Lamborghini and then I bought an old, beat-up Lamborghini, and in order for me to fit into it, they had to chop them both in half and then superglue it together,” Shaq said in his book.
Was it really necessary for Shaq to have two Gallardo’s stitched together for him to fit? Considering he stands at 7’1″ and weighs over 300 pounds, yes it absolutely was. When you see the famous meme of him in the Lambo, he still looks cramped, despite its custom-built length.
However, during a drive to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, he spun the car at high speed and nearly crashed. Afterward, he was too scared to drive the car again and ended up selling it for $110,000 to Amare Stoudemire.
It’s unclear where Shaq’s extended-wheelbase Lamborghini is now but I really want to drive it, just to see what it feels like to drive such a long Gallardo. Whoever has the car now has an odd piece of both automotive and sports history.
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