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L.A. Drives: Why Adam Carolla is trying to unload the cream of his Lamborghini collection

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Adam Carolla is a lot of things: comedian, podcaster, home improvement expert, radio and sitcom star, car racer and collector.

He’s also a native Angeleno, born and raised in North Hollywood. In other words, he’s a perfect candidate to lead an L.A. Drive.

We met the creator of the most downloaded podcast in history at the Glendale garage where he keeps the vintage cars he collects and races — including some owned and raced by the late Paul Newman.

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The tall, lanky Carolla, dressed casually in jeans and a plaid shirt, showed us around the garage, which also houses automotive memorabilia and a collection of vintage Lamborghinis.

Most of these were up for sale — part of Carolla’s attempt to “thin the herd,” he said.

“Those of you who think I’m getting a divorce, or have a bad cocaine habit — while both of those things may be true, that’s not the real reason,” Carolla said.

The real reason: Carolla was clearing space in the garage and raising funds after spending a reported $4.4 million last summer for a vintage Porsche that Newman raced in Le Mans in 1979.

For the day’s drive, Carolla chose the cream of his Lamborghini collection, a beautifully preserved rare example of the Italian carmaker’s earliest automotive effort. Carolla was selling it for $800,000.

“It’s a 1966 350 GT,” he said. “And the cool thing is, it’s the first Lamborghini that Lamborghini ever built.”

We left Glendale, headed for Pasadena, planning to make the route interesting by taking surface streets.

The Lamborghini’s V-12 engine gave a throaty grumble as we rolled down Glenoaks Boulevard and up Verdugo Road.

But nearing Foothill Boulevard, the Lambo began to strain. The outside temperature was over 90 degrees, and the Italian luxury car was close to overheating. Carolla pulled to the curb in the shade of a tall pine tree and let the car cool down.

While we waited, he talked about relocating recently from the Hollywood Hills to La Cañada.

“I tapped out and went to Boring-ville, for the kids,” said the father of 10-year-old twins. “But I enjoy it. I like the old-school Mayberry feel.”

It was a return to that side of the hill for Carolla, who went to Colfax Elementary, Walter Reed Middle School and North Hollywood High School and now runs his empire from twin garages in Burbank — one for the cars and automotive efforts, and one for his “Adam Carolla Show” podcast and other radio, TV and film efforts.

He’s had a lot of success in a lot of areas, many of them of the lighter variety, like his stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”

But he’s also a serious documentary filmmaker, having produced the 2015 feature “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman” with partner Nate Adams. Their latest effort is “The 24 Hour War.” Released in November and available on Carolla’s chassy.com website, it tells the story of the 1960s battle for Le Mans between rivals Ferrari and Ford.

He’s also a serious car racer, having won competitions as a celebrity and later a professional driver. (He favors BRE Datsuns, one of which he was preparing the day we met for an upcoming race at the Circuit of the Americas.)

A few minutes on the freeway brought the steaming Lamborghini back down to normal temperatures. Soon we were in Pasadena, pulling up in front of the Cheesecake Factory on Colorado Boulevard.

We weren’t there for the cuisine or the ambiance, but because it was the nearest place that serves Carolla’s signature brew — the Endless Rant IPA, which joins his Mangria wine drink on the shelf of his personally branded beverages.

Carolla opened a can of the IPA and pronounced it to his liking. Sipping suds, he talked about his plans to write a motivational book; produce new documentaries about the rise to fame of alt-rock radio station KROQ-FM and the life and times of black NASCAR driver Willie T. Ribs; and star in a new, live, “how-to” home improvement show he’s doing for Spike TV.

On the way back to the car, I asked the podcaster about his on-air prediction, back in 2007 — five years before he was a guest on “Celebrity Apprentice” — that Donald Trump would run for president in 2016.

“I say a lot of things,” Carolla said. “People always want to know what it’s based on, and it’s always nothing. I have a way of predicting things, because I don’t know anything. I don’t read a lot of books. I’m not very well educated. I just spout off.”

Charles.Fleming@latimes.com

Twitter: @misterfleming


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