LFM Spotlight: Eric Balian, founder of SoCal Exotics
How did you first learn out about the Lamborghini?
When I was 6 or 7, my mom bought me an encyclopedia of every car make and model at the time, from Borders. It was well over 500 pages and this was back in the late 90’s. The Diablo, Countach, and LM002 were in the Lamborghini section. That’s when I first saw a Lamborghini and knew it was one of my favorites, alongside the Mclaren F1.
What made you serious about being a enthusiast and specialist in Lamborghinis?
Well, the love began a few years later in 2003, when I had seen the Murcielago for the first time on the cover of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. Ever since, Lamborghini has been my obsession. I only started being able to see, experience, and feel them in person in the past few years. It started with Instagram and grew into making great friends in the auto industry and being able to experience these exotic cars first hand!
If you have to choose, which Lamborghinis are your favorite?
My favorite will always be the Murcielago SV. My other favorites would include the Aventador SV, Huracan Performante, Squadra Corse, SuperTeofeo Stradale, Sesto Elemento, and Veneno.
How many times per week do you encounter a Lamborghini?
I’d say at least once or twice a week, just to keep a smile on my face.
What was it like to meet Stephan Winkelmann (former CEO of Lamborghini, and current Head of Quattro Division)?
For a Lamborghini fan like myself, it was unforgettable. I was at the Quail events in Pebble Beach 2015 and the Aventador SV Roadster was just unveiled. I saw him with a group of Lamborghini officials, so I had to walk up and greet him. We briefly spoke about the first SV to be a Roadster and admired the color it was unveiled in. I believe that was the last unveiling he did. He was a great face for Lamborghini and was a very humble man.
You and some of your colleagues just started an exotic car rally called “The Mozzafiato Rally”, which is still in the works. What makes this rally unique, and what can other car enthusiasts expect from your rally?
A friend of mine, Mark, sparked the idea en route to Shift-Sector. I thought about it for a few weeks and finally posted on my Instagram @socal_exotics. Within 15 minutes, we had 10 people confirmed. Unfortunately, due to changing the date and other big rallies the weekend before, it ended up only being 15 or so Lamborghinis. But, the next one will be much bigger. The first rally was a huge blast, aside from the helicopters and roadblock on the freeway, courtesy of LAPD. The rest of the day was amazing. Best of California’s scenic routes in Malibu, with the most beautiful Lamborghinis. We are planning a “Ferrari vs Lamborghini” rally next, so stay tuned for that on the @mozzafiato_rally page!
To anyone who wants to know what it’s like to sit in and drive a Lamborghini, what would you say?
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of the fastest cars in the world, from 1000HP Porsches to GTRs and Ferraris. Lamborghinis are a different animal. I’ve been in almost every Lamborghini, from the Murcielago SV, to high HP builds, like a supercharged Huracan or Twin Turbo Gallardo. There is nothing in the world like being in a Lamborghini. It’s the sound and feel that makes it so amazing, and when you step out to look at it, she greets you with a look like she wants to kill you.
Cars to me are not all about who goes the fastest; it’s about the joy and moment of being in the car. I’ve driven much faster cars from 600-800HP, but recently I had the Huracan for the whole day and it was the absolute best car I have ever driven. You couldn’t pay me to keep the smile off my face. You really feel as if you are sitting on an untamed bull that can charge at any moment with a push of a pedal. The V10 sitting right behind you is bone-chilling when it hits high rpm. Even just cruising at 4K rpm and hearing the light bark of the exhaust note behind you makes you feel like the king of the world. I had the pleasure to drive the Huracan for the day. I cannot wait to get in the driver’s seat again! I have a lot of fun stuff planned for 2017, especially taking out the Aventador Roadster for a spin this week!
Eric Balian driving the Huracan:
Thank you Eric for taking the time out of your schedule for this interview. We are truly grateful to share your passion for Lamborghini with members of this great community. We cannot wait to see the rally and more this year!
Follow Eric’s Instagram page and stay tuned for The Mozzafiato Rally: