The days around the winter solstice can be a very difficult time of the year for many people, especially as the Christmas cheer starts to dissipate. Short days and long, cold nights can take a toll on our mood and mental state. Studies have identified why this happens each year to people who live in colder climates. Known commonly as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the lack of sunlight can cause fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, overeating, and agitation. Sounds like 2020 in a nutshell, doesn’t it? The increased isolation and financial challenges of the past year have no doubt compounded these effects.
During the darkest days of the year, I was provided with a welcome bit of brightness in the form of a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster. Adorned in a vibrant hue of blue called Blu Nethuns, it’s a car that is exciting and outrageous in every possible way. Loud and brash, long and wide yet low to the ground, its silhouette is sleek, while its jagged, angular edges cut through the air like a fighter jet. Spoilers and splitters fabricated from carbon fibre keep the car planted, while massive air ducts help keep the 6.5L naturally aspirated V12 cool. The car gets a visceral, animated response from every person who comes across it, particularly during the winter in Canada where it caused more than a few people to do a double take. Production of the Coupe version is limited to 900 units. With only 800 of the Roadster models being produced worldwide, it is a very rare and exotic entity, indeed.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to experience the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Coupe in the depths of winter, where I discovered that it was more than capable of handling everyday driving duties within the urban winter landscape. Originally developed for the Huracán Performante, the SVJ model sees the Aventador adopt Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) active aerodynamics for reduced drag and increased downforce that helped it achieve a lap record at Nürburgring for fastest production car.
All-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and massive Pirelli Sotto Zero 3 tires measuring 255/30R20 up front and 355/25R21 in the rear also prevent it from slipping or sliding around, while the hydraulic nose lift option assists with driving over speed bumps and small snowbanks. With a base price of $700,238, you certainly wouldn’t want to do any damage to its various lightweight components.
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That being said, it would be a shame to have such a feat of design and engineering sitting idle and unappreciated for even an evening, let alone the entire winter, so I decided to explore the city looking for festive holiday displays that were impressive in their own right. The time, energy, and financial commitment required to decorate these homes was mind boggling; the sheer magnitude couldn’t help but ignite a small festive spirit, even within my jaded, atheist heart. Looking for ways to entertain their children and get some exercise, local families bundled up to tour their respective neighbourhoods looking for lights got a special treat when the Aventador pulled up. Children’s faces lit up with exuberance as their attention turned away from the painstakingly curated displays. Their jaws would drop, and their eyes widen, as if they were witnessing Santa himself climb out of their chimney. Saint Nick may have eight reindeer, but that was no match for a ferocious bull packing 770 horses.
Piloting on public roads provided lessons in patience and restraint as the SVJ is capable of going from a standstill to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 349 km/h. It’s not a car that likes to be driven slowly. Strada (the default), Ego, Sport and Corsa drive modes adjust suspension stiffness, steering sensitivity and throttle response, with the latter two options unleashing the full sound of the 6.5L powerplant.
The next day, I decided to pop the top. As if driving the SVJ Coupe wasn’t exciting enough, the Roadster manages to take that invigorating experience up another notch. Two lightweight carbon fibre roof panels can quickly and easily be removed and secured in the front trunk for a uniquely exotic open-air motoring experience. Bundling up to battle the frigid temperatures, I removed the roof to enjoy a rare day of sunshine. With warm air blowing from the vents and the heated seats set to high, it was actually quite manageable. I couldn’t help but smile with the sun on my face complemented by the raucous sounds exiting the twin tailpipes; a boisterous symphony of growls, crackles and barks echoed off buildings and tunnel walls.
I figured I’d also use the opportunity to share some of this cheer by delivering cards and gifts to close friends and kin. A good buddy’s young son is a car fanatic who can seemingly name every car on the road, so I made a point to drop off some of my old toy cars (including a highly coveted Lamborghini Diablo) and see if he could identify a Lamborghini. Surely enough, he knew right away. He may put me out of a job one day.
Over the course of the pandemic, tension and anxiety have been running hot. Tempers have been escalating quickly and I’ve noticed a significant increase in road rage. A magical thing happens when you drive a bright blue Lambo, however. Driving the SVJ Roadster in the city resembled what it must feel like to walk through the halls of your high school as the most popular kid in class. Pedestrians stepped out into traffic to wave and give a thumbs up, people tapped their friends, and strangers young and old pointed. Nearly everyone I passed on the street smiled a big, toothy grin. It was a nice, fresh and admittedly somewhat strange feeling to generate such positive reactions amid such negativity. Many (not all) slow drivers even moved out of the fast lane to let me pass. The seas miraculously parted, allowing me to (briefly) wind up the eager and underworked V12.
This level of happiness and exclusivity don’t come cheap, mind you. The list of bespoke options brings the MSRP up to $791,578. Some personalized highlights that ensure the rarity of this model include the Blu Nethuns paint, bronze brake calipers, Carbon Skin Package, gloss black rims, Alcantara and perforated leather steering wheel, SVJ Ad Personam interior, carbon fibre mirror housings, exterior trim and the aforementioned hardtops, to name just a few. With the level of factory customization available, it’s highly unlikely that any of the 800 examples will be alike.
It’s been a challenge trying the find the festive spirit this year for obvious reasons, not the least of which is that I haven’t been able to hug my own mother since March. But bringing wide smiles to children and strangers alike couldn’t help but warm even my cold heart. The spirit of the holidays may be difficult to find this year, but it’s still out there if you look for it.