Eat your heart out, Cannonball Run
November 19, 2020 12:15 PM   Subscribe

In what may be one of the most Italian things that has ever happened, the Italian State Police rushed a donor kidney from Padua to Rome for a transplant in a Lamborghini Huracan. Last week’s journey is around 300 miles, but with the help of a specially-outfitted supercar, the police made it happen in just about two hours at an average speed of 143 mph—and that’s a journey that normally takes around six.
posted by Sokka shot first (59 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Italian State Police have been reading too much Fast and Furious fanfic.

Also is there really nowhere they could have landed a helicopter? Like....a football field? I'm skeptical that this story is true.
posted by allegedly at 12:24 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


143 MPH is pretty close to the top speed of helicopters one might use for this trip, and that was the car's average speed. Considering the need for things like landing and takeoff, I think one would be hard pressed to make the trip quicker in a helicopter.
posted by FishBike at 12:31 PM on November 19 [6 favorites]


I'm skeptical that this story is true.

Please. The police know they have those Lambos and are absolutely looking for excuses to use them. I also think that they drove at roughly the same speed a helicopter would fly so it probably seemed prima facie fine. But it's mostly a random cop looking for any excuse to floor their unnecessary Lambos.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on November 19 [13 favorites]


"It’s a pretty solid use of a supercar, although folks on Twitter have wondered why Italian officials didn’t just use a helicopter to transport the kidney."

Because this is way cooler? Sorry, was that a serious question?
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:42 PM on November 19 [9 favorites]


I guess I'd rather see the Popo spend a ton of money on one of these than on up-armored-SWAT-hummers. So that's nice.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 12:43 PM on November 19 [19 favorites]


I suppose there was a chance that the car would crash, providing several more donor kidneys.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:48 PM on November 19 [35 favorites]


I want to hear all parts of the conversation(s) that determined which officer was to be the driver

Il fortunato bastardo
posted by armoir from antproof case at 12:48 PM on November 19 [10 favorites]


It's a fun story, but having a car doing 140mph or more on the highway can't have been safe for other drivers around them. I'm sure the guy driving the lambo has special training, but what about the grandpa who is trying to change lanes and get out of the path of the lights and sirens but actually can't judge how quickly they are coming at him because those speeds are far outside his usual experience?
posted by jacquilynne at 12:49 PM on November 19 [12 favorites]


Italian trains regularly go 300 kilometres per hour. Just sayin.
posted by bitslayer at 12:50 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Is Padua to Rome a straight shot with no hills?
posted by Caxton1476 at 12:51 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


If they can clear Italian roads for the Giro d'Italia, they can clear roads for Kidney Lambo.
posted by GuyZero at 12:52 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Is Padua to Rome a straight shot with no hills?

Was there a Confederate Flag painted on the top of the Lambo? Did the driver get in through the window? I think we know where we're going with those Italian hills.
posted by GuyZero at 12:53 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


frunk

please tell me this isn't really the street word for a refrigerated trunk.

please.

(We can frunk until the dawn/Makin' love 'til Lambo's gone)
posted by chavenet at 1:02 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


front trunk
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:05 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


please tell me this isn't really the street word for a refrigerated trunk

I am pleased to inform you it's not. It's the street word for a trunk in the front of a car, which this one is because the engine is in the back.
posted by FishBike at 1:06 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


Ideally mostly only emergency vehicles would be on the roads in the first place.

40mph or 140mph, both kill me dead if they hit me.
posted by aniola at 1:36 PM on November 19


Also is there really nowhere they could have landed a helicopter? Like....a football field? I'm skeptical that this story is true.

Someone clearly hasn't watched any Top Gear "Car vs. X" races.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:58 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


It's a fun story, but having a car doing 140mph or more on the highway can't have been safe for other drivers around them

I have some news for you pertaining to the general state of automobile use in Italy...
posted by sideshow at 1:59 PM on November 19 [15 favorites]


Shared this with my teen, who said, “wait, this is an actual Job????”
posted by childofTethys at 2:02 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


I can just hear Jeremy Clarkson: "I'm taking my kidney in the Lamborghini, Richard is taking his by helicopter, and James is going to use a 1940 Moto Guzzi Condor... it's 300 miles, so let's see who can get to the hospital first!"
posted by 43rdAnd9th at 2:04 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


... "screeching into the parking lot, speakers blasting 'yakkity sax' at full volume, the policeman slams on the brakes so hard it sends the chilled kidney hurtling out of the cooler, through the moon-roof, high into the brisk autumn air, through the open hospital window, and directly into the patient, lying in wait on the operating room table. "
posted by sexyrobot at 2:05 PM on November 19 [23 favorites]


From what I remember, Lamborghini usually donates a few cars to Italian police. They certainly got their donation's worth, and more, of attention for this story. (Which, I'm sorry, is truly one of the best things I've heard all year.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 2:07 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


so, here’s a GTranslate of a local article that explains the why (it was a “crossover” transplant, where it’s actually less urgent but at the same time more planable...), and confirms that in most cases, when it’s only speed that counts, they opt for aerial transport.
posted by progosk at 2:11 PM on November 19


> 40mph or 140mph, both kill me dead if they hit me.

No they don't.

Should've used a helicopter and a regular ambulance for the final leg of the journey if the hospital doesn't have a helipad.

That was dangerous, unnecessary and only serves to romanticize cars and cops. Cops like playing at being cops, not actually protecting society. Ban cars, defund the police.
posted by Tom-B at 2:35 PM on November 19 [14 favorites]


If police need to use expensive toys, I would take Italian supercars over militarized transports.
posted by geoff. at 2:37 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


... "screeching into the parking lot, speakers blasting 'yakkity sax' at full volume, the policeman slams on the brakes so hard it sends the chilled kidney hurtling out of the cooler, through the moon-roof, high into the brisk autumn air, through the open hospital window, and directly into the patient, lying in wait on the operating room table. "

I'm pretty sure this was the opening scene of Crank 3, alas never filmed.
posted by biffa at 2:39 PM on November 19


Tom-B, that is exactly what I am talking about. Depending on your source, 40mph is usually cited as killing you 8 or 9 times out of ten.

To know that and walk and bike anyway? It is terrifying.
posted by aniola at 2:44 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one with a fairly well-developed mental image of the Italian police officer waiting to be called in to action. Fastenable driving gloves, manly 90s hairstyle and a very specific choice of sunglasses, ready to be put on only for this specific type of mission.
posted by biffa at 2:45 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Distance from Rome to Padova is 394 kilometers. This air travel distance is equal to 245 miles.

In contrast, Google says the road distance is nearly 500 kilometres. I expect a helicopter would have been able to take a nearly direct path, so there's another argument for the "why not use a helicopter" brigade. And this wasn't an unexpected trip; it was a crossover transplant from the family members of two kidney recipients, each donating to a member of the other family.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:48 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Having experience on Italian motorways, I assume at only 143 Mph the officer would have been passed by moms late for soccer...errr...football practice in minivans and immaculately dressed businessman in high powered German luxo-barges, smoking a cigarette, texting and fighting on the cel phone with his paramour.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:48 PM on November 19 [8 favorites]


Was there a Confederate Flag painted on the top of the Lambo? Did the driver get in through the window? I think we know where we're going with those Italian hills.

Straightening the curves and flattening the hills was taken care of years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:54 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Kidneys aren't lungs or hearts; they tolerate cold ischemia remarkably well. We use some after as much as 40 hours on ice. With machine perfusion pods, the impact of those long times is becoming less and less. There was no justification for this stunt.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 2:59 PM on November 19 [6 favorites]


The Italian State Police have been reading too much Fast and Furious fanfic

I mean, the Italians will tell you that the most important thing is La Famiglia.
posted by hanov3r at 3:00 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


Was there a Confederate Flag painted on the top of the Lambo? Did the driver get in through the window?

On the plus side, it looks like this was a little bit less than the law will allow.
posted by biffa at 3:08 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


The story implied that this was not the first time. They actually made the frunk into a refrigerated frunk (we should all have one of those). The video looked like he had a shotgun rider. Now that takes guts. White knuckling it at a buck forty for 300 miles. How do you say, "Are we there yet?" in Italian?
posted by AugustWest at 3:37 PM on November 19


Eh, I'd feel a lot more comfortable in a modern Lamborghini on a motorway at 140+ than I did in a Saab 900 on a narrow and twisty dirt road at 80 with someone who liked to use that particular stretch as a rally stage. There are almost certainly a few branches of the universal wave function where my body was either merged with a tree or decapitated by a barbed wire fence.

Hell,I'd rather be riding shotgun in that cop car than driving the speed limit on I-95 in Miami. It's amazing how many people in crossovers and other cars that are very much not designed for high speed runs that treat the designation of the road as a minimum speed. The people in supercars often do the same, but they tend to only hurt themselves, not the people around them.

Perhaps it's just that I'm inured to people driving quickly on limited access roadways from living here for so long, but I save my ire for the folks who pull that shit on the surface streets where there are likely to be people around who aren't protected by a literal ton of steel and a bunch of airbags.
posted by wierdo at 3:59 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


front trunk

Is this called a frob or a frobo in English?
posted by biffa at 4:24 PM on November 19


a froot
posted by Ahmad Khani at 4:34 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


Eh, I'd feel a lot more comfortable in a modern Lamborghini on a motorway at 140+ than I did in a Saab 900 on a narrow and twisty dirt road at 80 with someone who liked to use that particular stretch as a rally stage.

...and I'd be much more comfortable watching a helicopter fly by than watching a lambo doing 140 trying to negotiate traffic around me.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:49 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


front trunk
Is this called a frob or a frobo in English?
a froot


I would have thought "fronnet"
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:52 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Italy as we know it didn't exist until around 1870, yet in 1924 they got the first motorway in the world, between Milan and Varese.

I used to spend a lot of time travelling around Europe by car. The feeling is different in every country. The spartan German Autobahn, once unparalleled but now plagued by Stau, where Audi's, BMW's and Mercedes effortlessly zip past you at 200+km/h, and service shops sell beer and hard liquor. The Autoroutes of France, rational and well-maintained, punctuated by regular road-side reminders that you're passing the site of a famous castle, river, or vineyard, and during the holiday season, endless caravans of caravans trekking South to the French Riviera.

From the French Riviera, you can get to the Italian Riviera by a road that travels from Montepellier, via Marseille, Cannes, Nice, and Monaco, to Genua. It's a breathtakingly beautiful region, with spectacular vistas across the Mediterranean, a rich ferment of ancient culture, a layer cake of fortunes made and fortunes lost. This is where Fitzgerald slept; here is where Grace Kelly died... It's an interesting road and a challenging road, full of sharp corners, short on- and off-ramps, thin shoulders. There are glamorous passages where it seems like the road doesn't so much enter a tunnel as barges through the Alps.

I'm near Monaco, and it's gotten dark. The lights of the tiny kingdom twinkle in the distance, a few kilometers ahead and dozens (a hundred?) meters down from where I'm driving, up here on this ledge, with a weary-looking barrier between me and certain doom. It feels like I'm driving way too fast, certainly above the speed limit. But the thing is: everybody does. Everybody's driving way too fast. It's like the road invites, nay seduces to a frenzy of speed. And I succumb. The curves are so satisfying, the rhythm so hypnotic. What a glorious road. What a glorious driver!

Then there's a flash in my rearview mirror. Someone's approaching and doing so in a great, great hurry. I'm rudely shaken from my reverie. Is it the police? But also — ok maybe mainly — how is this guy driving even faster than me? A moment later it zips past, so fast I can't quite catch it. A Ferrari, I think? Something red, certainly. But probably not police, and that's a relief. I'm a bit sobered by the encounter. Glorious driver? Madman, more like. Why is everybody driving so fast here, anyway? Don't they know it's very dangerous?

Then there's a second flash. Another car zips past me, this time it's black. A Maybach? But there's little time for deliberation, because the next moment it's already disappeared, and there's yet another flash, and another, and another. It's an entire fucking parade of ridiculously fast cars, all of them driving ridiculously fast, all of them on a ledge where a twitch or distraction can mean disaster. Suddenly I'm very, very tired. No more reverie. Fully deflated I puttered my way to Genua, checked into the hotel, and fell asleep. In my dreams, twisty roads.

Anyway so the point is that in that region of the world, that's how they do. After dark they suit up in ridiculously expensive cars and drive them like maniacs, and they're really good at it, as far as maniacs go. Sometimes the road wins.
posted by dmh at 5:00 PM on November 19 [27 favorites]


Well, this may seem dubious but the article dmh links above notes that delivering transplant organs was explicitly called out as one of the missions the Italian police intended for their Lamborghinis as far back as 2009.

(And as ridiculous as it is, and as unsuited for any real purpose, take one look at the first photo in the Jalopnik piece and you have to admit it's a gorgeous car.)
posted by Naberius at 5:09 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I think what this lacks is the Marseille mob seeing an opportunity to off the completion/witness and sending Vincent Cassel to stop the police getting there, by any means necessary.
posted by biffa at 5:09 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


And according to Google Maps, this with roadworks on the way.
posted by b33j at 5:13 PM on November 19


And tolls
posted by b33j at 5:14 PM on November 19


..and I'd be much more comfortable watching a helicopter fly by than watching a lambo doing 140 trying to negotiate traffic around me.

I suspect you're assuming that everyone in the world drives like shit as is the norm in the US. To make such a high average speed in the US, lots of weaving would be required, making a crash much more likely. In places where people don't camp out in the left lane just because they feel like it or they fancy themselves a hall monitor, not so much.

Certainly the high speed makes the consequences of a crash more severe, but not really any worse than a helicopter crash.
posted by wierdo at 5:15 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Yeah perhaps Americans do not realize that most Europeans (German, French & Italian at least) are amazing orderly highway drivers. They all zip along at 100+ mph with the left lane absolutely clear except for the aforementioned truly fast drivers who are doing like 150 mph. Americans park in the left lane like it's a rent controlled two-bedroom apartment on the upper west side and they plan to die there.
posted by GuyZero at 5:41 PM on November 19 [20 favorites]


I have no evidence but contrast between speeds thoroughfares were designed and engineered for versus posted speed limits is one thing that is very noticeable in the US. In Oregon you will find freeways designed to be taken safely at 85+ MPH with 50 or 55 MPH limits posted. Combined with the lack of discipline for (left) lane usage, the discrepancy I think is responsible for a lot of conflicts.

You’ll find a great diversity of surface streets with 30 MPH limits set, some designed more like freeways others narrow neighborhood streets. I think often the limits are decreased to make local users or stakeholders not complain.
posted by floam at 9:49 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


London jam sandwich liver run is still the gold standard internal organ police delivery, imho 😀
posted by slater at 9:51 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Fast and Furious 12: Toretto's Transplant
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:17 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I saw another discussion of this drive where the issue turned out to be that the hospital on the receiving end didn't have a helipad, and was in such a congested city that there was no helipad near by.
posted by wuwei at 10:55 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I suspect you're assuming that everyone in the world drives like shit as is the norm in the US.

I'm assuming that the cop going 140 drives like shit and however makes him feel like more of a badass, because he's a cop and can get away with anything.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:12 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


143 MPH is pretty close to the top speed of helicopters one might use for this trip, and that was the car's average speed.

Gumball Rally (1976) re: Team Ferrari Tim McIntire and Raul Julia)
Chopper Pilot:
Sir? We can't catch 'em.

Roscoe:
Whaddaya mean?

Chopper Pilot:
They must be doing 180. We don't even have a fixed-wing that'll go that fast!
posted by mikelieman at 6:16 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Slater, thank you for that jam sandwich link, even though it has raised my heart rate considerably. Terrifying to watch them hurtle through so many London streets on the wrong side of the road, but some brilliant collaboration on the way.
posted by Pentickle at 8:32 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


This is like a remake of Damnation Alley starring the poster that every other male college freshman had on their wall in the 80s and 90s.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:27 PM on November 20


As it happens, I was listening to Ennio Morricone’s L’estasi dell’oro while watching the video and reading through this thread. This addition has influenced my views considerably.
posted by the cydonian at 7:51 PM on November 20


the issue turned out to be that the hospital on the receiving end didn't have a helipad, and was in such a congested city that there was no helipad near by.

I could believe that. Aside from that, I wonder how the total cost of owning and using a helicopter vs. a fast car is. Estimates I've seen for helicopters is in the rough range of 400$/hr to fly, plus aviation training and maintenance is not known to be cheap.
posted by ctmf at 11:11 AM on November 21


Why Europe Is Slowing Down: Health, safety and environmental concerns — plus the pandemic — appear to be hastening the movement to drop speed limits in the E.U. and U.K.
posted by aniola at 7:51 AM on November 22


In what may be one of the most Italian things that has ever happened,

Objection, it would have been more Italian if the Lambo took two hours to get from Padua to Rome, and then the courier took six hours to get from the parking lot to the hospital
posted by Rykey at 10:51 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


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