Featured Image – “LP560” by Winning Automotive Photography licensed by CC 2.0
By: Daniel Kim
One of my good buddies is a bit of a roll-racing fanatic, and through him and his intimate knowledge of 1/4 times, trap speeds and dyno plots, I came to learn of a car which is now a bit of an internet phenomenon – the UGR (Underground Racing) Twin Turbo Lamborghini Gallardo.
This thing isn’t even ‘fucking’ fast. It’s asinine.
As you just witnessed above, it makes what’s considered a very, very fast production vehicle look like it’s standing still. For reference , the C6 Z06 is just a tad over 3,000lbs (its low curb weight is courtesy of an aluminum frame, carbon fiber body panels and even balsa wood in certain places) and has a 505hp 7.0-liter V8. A C6Z would smoke your friend’s bolt-on Honda Civic like Tyrone Biggums would smoke a fresh rock after a week of forced sobriety.
The UGR TT Gallardo is a grown man’s ultimate toy. Well, I suppose at least before you get into airplanes and yachts.
Going fast isn’t cheap, and going really, really fast is even less cheap. If you want to take out a 2nd mortgage, the Stage 2R Underground Racing TT kit will be yours for the low, low price of only $225,000. That DOES NOT include the car. Yes, that’s right, the turbo kit costs more than a brand new Lamborghini Gallardo LP570.
Just let that sink in for a second.
So what do you get for the price of what most newly weds would spend on their first home together? Bragging rights? A dyno sheet that car nerds the world over can geek out on? A wheel horsepower figure that makes you do a double take? (when I see 1000whp, my mind can fathom it, but when there’s a number greater than 2 in the 2nd digit, it just doesn’t compute).
The Stage 2 Race Version build is known to make 1700+WHP on VP Import (120+ octane racing fuel). Now the question I had for my friend was: “Does it really cost $225,000?” Well let’s turn on the out of focus projector and Altec Lansing computer speakers for a second and have a little lecture, shall we?
There is a sort of implicit financial mechanism inherent within the automotive tuning/aftermarket industry where parts for certain platforms (platform=specific car model) are ‘taxed.’ The more expensive the MSRP of your ride, the more expensive the shiny goodies for it are going to be. Porsche owners refer to this as ‘P-tax.’ Other common taxes are ‘GT-R’ tax, ‘Supra’ tax and ‘M3/BMW’ tax.
This also actually exists within the dealership/service department model. It is true that parts for certain makes like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche are more expensive, but the overall rates for maintenance are certainly inflated to adjust for the average income of owners of these vehicles.
Now, just to satisfy my own curiosity, I wanted to understand why it is that UGR could charge such astronomical rates for their products and services and not have market forces adjust accordingly.
It appears UGR originally became notable by building high power Dodge Vipers. If you happen to be a fan of what former Chrysler head of Global Product Development, Bob Lutz, termed the ‘modern Cobra’, you’ll know its gargantuan 8.3-liter V10 was produced in conjunction with Lamborghini. It’s a myth that the engine was engineered entirely by the boys at Sant’Agata, but they did provide advice on how to make the powerplant lighter and more powerful.
So my theory is, as Underground already had experience twin-turbocharging V10’s, they naturally transitioned into Gallardos, which are also powered by a factory naturally-aspirated V10 (which may or may not have some similarities with the Viper’s V10, I like to think it did giving them a leg up on the competition).
Getting back to the economics of high-end aftermarket vehicle builds, I suppose UGR currently has sort of a monopoly on a big portion of the market for these ‘exotic builds.’ I’m not sure what kind of setbacks they had initially in developing their Gallardo twin-turbo kit, but they seem to be fairly confident in their product now, offering a 2-year/24,000 mile warranty. It’d take too much time and money for any other shop to even think about trying to compete with them, so essentially, they can charge as much as they want.
In any given industry, the less the outside world tends to know about your internal practices and methods, the more they can charge for their products or services. It’s no secret then that UGR’s builds are super secret.
I didn’t mean for this article to turn into a micro/macroeconomics class, but perhaps for those reading who were interested in learning a bit more about why big boy toys cost so much, hopefully things are a little clearer.
So if your husband starts asking you about refinancing the mortgage and your internet browser’s history has the words ‘UGR,’ ‘Underground Racing’ ‘TT’ ‘Gallardo’ or ‘Texas Mile,’ in it, hug him, smile and say, “You don’t need 1700WHP babe, I think you look really sexy when you reverse the Naples Gold Honda Odyssey down the driveway.”
Hahahahhaha. I’m never getting married.
Sorry my stock photo is low-res and watermarked because I don’t want to get sued, but SpeedHunters has a great gallery available here.
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