This lady is so cool. She is also proof that even Italian exotics can be used every day.
NYTimes said:ON the idyllic October day on which this year’s Scarsdale Concours d’Élégance took place, the Most Unique award was presented to a 1974 Lamborghini Espada. One of some 1,200 examples of that model built in 1968-78, the exotic Italian car was distinguished by its pale pink exterior — not a factory color or a Mary Kay car.
The award could have just as fittingly gone to the car’s singular owner, Lorrie Stern, who has had it for 37 years.
Ms. Stern is a trim grandmother of five, an amateur acrobatic pilot — “I just wanted to fly like the World War II pilots,” she said — and a former owner of several other European sports cars, including a 1968 Jaguar E-Type and a 1988 Ferrari Mondial.
She said of the Jaguar: “It took turns and curves just better than any car.”
Driving in the snow was another story, Ms. Stern recalled, diving into a description of one harrowing trip to a dealership in Queens.
“I can’t remember what possessed me to drive it in this tremendous snowstorm,” she said. “They were doing construction. You had to drive around it in order to get on the highway. I skidded out, and I ended up facing the snow.”
She had hit an embankment and thought she had died. “It was the weirdest feeling,” she recalled recently. “I thought I was in heaven — and I was there with my Jaguar! I was so happy.”
Ms. Stern was sitting in the kitchen of her Long Island home, a room as pink as her Lamborghini (“of course,” she said of the pink floor tiles, counters, oven and refrigerator). She wore a pink ****in shirt and blue jeans.
The Lamborghini was a gift from her late husband, Stanley. She and her husband were high school sweethearts in New Rochelle. “His last name was S-T and mine was S-C, so we sat next to each other,” she explained. (Her maiden name was Schwartzman.)
They became close friends and eventually started dating. One thing they had in common was an interest in European cars, especially Italian ones. They visited the New York auto show at the Coliseum on Columbus Circle each year.
There were other excursions.
“We used to drive up to a dealership in Nyack, N.Y., Bob Grossman’s, and we would just look at the cars,” she said. “We weren’t the only ones. It was something to do.”
After they married, Mr. Stern, a lawyer, bought a Citroën SM, in large part because the French car had a Maserati engine. And it was a Maserati that drew the couple up to Nyack one day in 1973.
“We found out that Bob had a burned-out Maserati Ghibli that was once owned by a racecar driver,” Ms. Stern recalled. But the Sterns were past the point of buying a fixer-upper, she said.
“And then I saw the Lamborghini.”
A hulking brand-new grand touring car with four seats, the Espada had a 350-horsepower V-12 and a 5-speed manual transmission. It was shaped like a wedge — a Bertone design — and the factory color was a bright green.
“I just had to have it,” Ms. Stern said.
It took a couple of trips to Nyack to see the car before she was able to persuade her husband to buy it as a Christmas present. No test drive needed: she traded in her little Fiat 124 Spider and they drove the Lamborghini home.
“There was one condition,” she said. “I had to use it as a daily driver.”
And she did. The couple’s four children maxed out the passenger space of the Espada, which has rear seats and, fortunately for the Sterns, a spacious trunk.
“You didn’t have the regulations you do now,” she said, referring to the laws for child seats.
She used to drive in car pools with the Lamborghini. “Every child in the neighborhood has been in the car,” she said. “If you wanted to ride in the car, sometimes you got into the trunk.”
The odometer stopped working several years ago, at 98,800 miles; Ms. Stern says that the car has well over 100,000 miles on it now. Many of those came on road trips with the Maserati Club’s eastern chapter — she and her husband were founding members of the group in 1985. Mr. Stern owned a 1980 Maserati Quattroporte that he put 160,000 miles on, she said.
Ms. Stern has piloted the Lamborghini around the road course portion of Pocono Raceway, a track in Pennsylvania whose trioval is one of Nascar’s superspeedways. One year, the Sterns drove it to Florida for a club meet.
In 1979, she had the car painted pink for the first time. "I think it shows off the body lines better,” she said — and in 1992 she undertook a complete restoration. “It was either get rid of it or restore it,” she said.
The Lamborghini was in the shop for two years. When it was done, she shipped it to Monterey, Calif., for the Concorso Italiano, one of the collector-car events around the Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance. “They didn’t have a category for it, so they gave it a ribbon for the Special Prize,” she said, showing the ribbon.
Ms. Stern has enough ribbons, trophies, awards and platters to cover her dining room table, which she did for a visitor. Each accolade won by the Lamborghini came with a story, and Mr. Stern co-starred in most of them. Clearly the Sterns were partners in every part of their lives, until his death in 2004.
Ms. Stern said he had supported all of her pursuits, from attending the Skip Barber racing school to flying loops in her Cessna Aerobat, a single-engine plane reinforced to handle higher loads imposed by stunt flying.
“If you heard him talk about me, you would have thought I was Amelia Earhart and Stirling Moss rolled into one,” she said. “He may not have approved of everything I did, but he stood by me.”
There was one thing, however, he did not allow.
“At one point I wanted to turn my dining room into a garage — a showroom kind of thing,” she said. “Everybody voted me down. They didn’t think it was good for resale value.”