Meet the 21-year-old Limpopo man who spent 4 years building his own Lamborghini from scratch. Anyone who’s ever done it will tell you there’s not much to compare with the feeling of power and freedom that comes from chewing up the highway in a Lamborghini – an agile, low-slung, high-performance super.
As a little boy, Mukundi Malovhele (21) dreamt of getting behind the wheel of one of these babies and putting pedal to the metal but he knew his dream was a far-fetched one.
After all, this car goes for big, big bucks – in South Africa, a second-hand Lamborghini costs between R2 million and R4m and brand new goes for a cool R5m, and you’d have to be mega-rich or mega-foolish to buy one. So Mukundi did the next best thing: he built a Lamborghini for himself. And it’s one like no other.
Sleek and low to the ground, Mukundi’s two-seater Lambo is a labour of love, a DIY project to which he devoted four years of his spare time and cash and built from the ground up.
“I thought, ‘Why wait until I have money when I can use my skills to redesign and make it?’” says Mukundi, who hails from Tshipise Tshasagole-Niani village in Limpopo. Creating his car required scrap metal, old car parts and heaps of ingenuity.
“I asked community members for any scrap metal they could spare, which I used to create the chassis of the vehicle with a hammer and welding machine,” he explains, adding that he designed the car from pictures of Lamborghinis, a little help from online kit car guides and YouTube videos.
It took him about a year to build the chassis and he then set about collecting sheets of zinc for the car’s exterior.
“My father bought me a grinder and I used my brother’s welding machine to carve out the body,” adds Mukundi, who matriculated last year. Then lockdown happened and everything stuttered to a halt. Mukundi struggled to find material for his car because everyone was at home and there was precious little scrap to be found.
“But after things started getting back to normal, I continued. I used quad-bike wheels and an old steering wheel to bring my car to life,” he says, describing the finishing touches to the vehicle’s body. Now after spending four years slogging away at his creation, Mukundi stands proudly next to his handmade Lambo – sleek white exterior, red-and-black interior and all.
His parents, Paul and Mercy Malovhele, didn’t think their son was serious about his vision of building his own version of the supercar.
His family farms watermelons and tomatoes and Mukundi is the youngest of six kids. Being the baby, his mom and dad used to fuss over him, he says, and never really took him seriously about anything – so when he announced he was going to build a car they thought “yeah right”.
“But once they saw it coming together they really started to support me,” he says.
In between his schoolwork, Mukundi would work on his father’s farm and help him sell produce so he could earn money which would go towards buying bits and pieces for his car. “Sometimes my father would assist me with money so I could get parts,” he says.
Like his parents, their neighbours were also about Mukundi’s homemade supercar and few expected him to complete it. “Now, no one can believe I made it myself,” he says proudly.
“People in my community are really impressed with my work; they love to come to see my progress and how it’s going.” His village has become the centre of attention in Limpopo after word of his Lamborghini got out and made him an overnight social-media sensation.
“Many people now come to my hometown just to see the Lambo,” he says with a laugh. “I’m really surprised because I didn’t think it would get this much attention. I was just building it for myself. I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.”