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Lamborghini unveils Veneno

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press

Only 3 were made, and all are sold – at $3.9 million each

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 1:55 pm

GENEVA – Who buys a $3.9 million car? Not you.

Lamborghini’s run of the new Veneno is sold out – though it only made three.

The latest in its tradition of bespoke cars, the Veneno is the fastest, most powerful Lamborghini ever built. At the Geneva Motor Show, where it was revealed Monday night, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann made sure to rev the engine as he drove the car out on stage.

Rest assured, the Veneno, which is named for an infamous fighting bull, sounds like a Lamborghini.

But why build a car for just three people?

“It gives you a high degree of freedom in terms of the design, you can test materials and new technologies, it has a halo effect on the other products,” said Winkelmann. “Last but not least, you’re fulfilling dreams, at least for a few people.”

A carmaker like Lamborghini isn’t immune from the travails of the economy, but sales of high-end cars, like many luxury products, have been surprisingly resilient. And a one-off like the Veneno creates a lot of buzz – or a halo – for the rest of the brand.

Two of the buyers – both Americans – were in Geneva to get their first look at the car, having signed the contract long ago.

Antoine Dominic, who is the principal in a Lamborghini dealership on Long Island, and Kris Singh II, a Floridian who is the managing director of investment firm Tequesta Investments, both have collections of exotic cars and both plan to actually use the car.

Powering the Veneno is a 12-cylinder engine and a 7-speed transmission with five driving modes. Lamborghini says the Veneno can reach 220 miles per hour and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

The body is carbon-fiber to keep the car as light as possible and allow for that quick acceleration. The shape is angular and muscular. The rear looks like the bottom of a rocket ship, and the car nearly kisses the ground it sits so low.

Scissor doors open up to reveal an interior also clad in carbon-fiber. The feel is suede-like throughout, but the dashboard has a fairly standard look.

The customers are thrilled — though they have yet to actually get behind the wheel.

“It’s rolling artwork; it’s like owning the Mona Lisa,” said Singh. “I look forward to driving it.”

Dominic said that can be hard since it turns so many heads. He plans to take it out at 5 a.m. on a Sunday when he finally gets it.