It’s just like driving a regular car, Bruce Bodine tells you as he hands over the keys.
But then you notice all the doodads and doohickeys, the paddle shifters, the ever-so-slightly uncomfortable seats of a car built for speed.
And then it hits you … you’re driving a Lamborghini.
It turns out Bodine, 59, doesn’t even need to be there to hand you the keys — instead, his organization Drive Lambo has set up what Bodine believes is the world’s first self-service Lamborghini rental at his Parkland company headquarters.
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If you want to go zero-to-60 in a little over three seconds, it’s going to cost you $895 a day (and a $5,000 security deposit). And during the summer months, good luck getting on the list.
Bodine, whose Bodine Industries owns two storage unit facilities as well as other Pierce County businesses, bought the 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo after it had been damaged in a crash at Pacific Raceways in Kent.
After Bodine had the 560-horsepower supercar repaired, one of his buddies suggested he rent it out. He thought about it, then decided it would be a good idea.
The self-service setup is pretty simple: Once you clear a driving record check and make your payment and deposit, you get a key code to the garage in which the Lamborghini is parked.
There’s a kiosk with instructions — be careful not to scuff things with your shoes when you get in the car, make sure you let it idle for a minute before you drive it, reverse gear is a button on the dash — and once you complete that, you get the keys.
“The reality is, there’s only three or four things that are complicated about this car. Everything else is just like a normal car,” Bodine said. “When you step on it, that’s when it turns into a rocket.”
Don’t try to pull a fast one — there are cameras everywhere in the garage, and Bodine can pull them up on his phone and watch you before you leave.
And the car has a GPS tracker, so Drive Lambo knows where it is and how fast it’s going at all times.
If you can’t get in on Drive Lambo’s busy schedule, there’s another way to slide your way into the driver’s seat: by winning one of the myriad charity auctions for which Bodine donates his services.
Lindsey Jensen and her then-fiance, James, entered a raffle with the Tacoma Rescue Mission for a day with the Lamborghini and were surprised when they won.
But they couldn’t figure out what to do with the car. So they used it in their July 11, 2015, wedding at Freighthouse Square.
“We thought it would be fun to take a picture with it, but it ended up being one of our favorite wedding pictures,” Lindsey Jensen said. “It’s funny how that worked out. It got a lot of attention.”
Lindsey’s dress, like the supercar, was white. (James wisely said his wife looked better, though.)
James got to drive the car around more than Lindsey did, but she enjoyed driving it through Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood during the farmers market.
“It was definitely the most powerful car I’ve driven, so it was a little intimidating,” she said. “As you can imagine, we didn’t get it up to high speeds.”
The Emergency Food Network has had the Lamborghini up for auction three times, including twice where it was on site.
The car is a showstopper, grabbing everybody’s attention and encouraging them to donate, said the nonprofit’s executive director, Helen McGovern.
“It’s kind of everybody’s secret dream to drive a very expensive, really fast car,” she said. “And you don’t often get a chance to realize that, especially when it’s not in a selfish way.”
Putting the car up for charity auctions also shows the considerable largesse of Bodine, his family and his businesses, she said.
“Their hearts are huge and they walk the walk,” she said.
That focus on giving back is something Bodine stresses. The “doing good room” in which the Lamborghini is parked is peppered with photos from various charitable exploits. The banner above its parking spot reads, “This Lamborghini is fueled by charity.”
NW Furniture Bank co-founder Bill Lemke got to know Bodine after Bodine let him use warehouse space to stow furniture for people affected by the 2007 Chehalis River flood.
They’ve maintained their relationship, leading Bodine to donate the Lamborghini to the Furniture Bank for its charity events.
“I got to start it up at one of the fundraisers and rev the engine,” Lemke said. “He was very clear that I needed to keep my foot on the brake. He made that very clear.”
Bodine wanted to stress the importance his company puts on volunteerism. His Need A Break Services charity puts together a series of projects to help the disadvantaged, both locally and internationally.
“It’s good for the community and good for the soul,” he said.
Donating a day or two with the Lamborghini is another way for Bodine to give back to the community.
“A lot of people go to charity auctions to find a deal,” he said. “When you put this Lamborghini at an event, it just amps the whole event up. It sends a signal of, ‘We’re trying to raise money here; open up your wallet.’ ”
Most people who rent the Gallardo are looking for an experience, he said, using the vehicle for a fast romantic getaway or a quick trip up to Mount Rainier.
Only a couple of people have been turned away in the two years since Bodine started Drive Lambo, he said.
“We’re pretty rigid on how we rent it and who we rent it to,” he said. “We don’t just say, ‘You showed up, here you go.’ ”
The high rental fee for the car helps subsidize the charity donations — upkeep is expensive for luxury cars, especially when only one dealer in the Northwest services Lamborghinis.
But the Northwest also has few exotic car rental companies, probably thanks in part to the region’s notoriously rainy winters.
Rain doesn’t seem to dampen the spirits of renters though, Bodine said.
“I’ve never had a client return the car after a rainy day with anything less than a big smile on their face,” he said.
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