Supercar owners tend to heed the adage of Indiana Jones when it comes to their precious exotics: “It’s not the years, honey—it’s the mileage.” Hence the paradox that the very cars that are designed exclusively for the pleasure of driving tend to be the ones that get driven the least, instead being locked away in climate-controlled garages lest an excess of miles reduce their value.
Which is why this U.K.-registered Lamborghini Murciélago is a supremely elegant, and extremely orange, riposte to the fetishization of barely used supercars. When we were lucky enough to drive it recently, its odometer read just over 258,000 miles, but we’re told that total has gone up by another 2000 miles since. Continued use means that its record as the highest-mileage modern Lamborghini in the world is unlikely ever to be beaten.
Mortgaged to the Hilt
The Murciélago belongs to Simon George, co-owner of a U.K. “supercar experience” company called 6th Gear Experience. Although the car has acquired most of its mileage working as a high-class rental, George’s decision to purchase it predated and even inspired the creation of the business. George started out as a heating engineer and then used cheap credit to buy rental properties in his native Yorkshire. In 2004, he took out a new mortgage against his entire portfolio of properties to raise what was then the equivalent of about $50,000 to put down a deposit on a brand-new Murciélago.
“I’ve always lived life on the edge,” he admitted. “And I always wanted a Lamborghini. The finance payments were about three grand a month—the car was £180,000 [the equivalent of about $320,000 at the time]—and I only had enough money put aside for about eight months. So I knew the car would have to earn its keep.”
The easiest way to monetize his exotic asset was by renting it to a supercar-experience company, with George serving as instructor and sitting beside paying guests as they wailed on his pride and joy on British racetracks. After a couple of years of that, he set out on his own with business partner Andy Cummings. They formed 6th Gear Experience, with the Murciélago serving as the pride of their fleet. The business has since expanded to call itself the largest in the U.K., with 27 cars on its books.
For five years, the Murciélago worked harder than a New York City taxi, doing up to 90 events a year and being driven by dozens of different people at each. It also served as George’s daily driver, covering 600 miles a week commuting and traveling between event locations. Costs were predictably high. George reported that the Murciélago’s fuel economy peaks at 13 mpg on a gentle cruise—this on premium unleaded at the equivalent of $6 per gallon. Consumables have been consumed with predictable gusto: The Murciélago eats as many as 14 sets of tires every year at $1150 per quartet and requires new brake pads on a similar frequency. Brake rotors last about 20,000 miles, with a new set costing…