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The 12 Days of Guy Fieri: Car Trouble in FlavorTown

A look back at one of the strangest car moments of Guy’s life

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Lead image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images; Entertainment/Getty Images; Jonathan Bachman/Stringer. Illustration by Eater. 

Food Network superstar Guy Fieri is practically synonymous with hot rods and the freedom that comes from cruising along the blacktop in search of something good to eat. Long before he got the keys to the cherry red Camaro featured on Triple D, Guy was hawking car mufflers on local TV. And in his post-fame life, the Platinum Prince has amassed an impressive collection of automobiles, many of which sport bright yellow paint jobs. Fieri, it seems, is living a car-lover’s dream — but his relationship with flashy vehicles wasn’t always so rosy. On this, the second day of Eater’s yuletide celebration of a food media icon, it’s time to revisit one of the darker chapters of Fieri’s life as a car enthusiast.

The disappearance of Guy Fieri’s Lamborghini

A banana yellow Lamborghini Gallardo
Getty/Cameron Spencer

In 2011, the Minute to Win It host got sucked into a bizarre crime saga involving his banana yellow 2008 Lamborghini Gallardo, valued at around $200,000. While the car was being serviced at a San Francisco dealership, a 16-year-old criminal by the name of Max Wade rappelled down the side of the building, Mission Impossible-style, cracked the window, dismantled the alarm on Fieri’s car, and drove it out the front door. Guy got the news while filming an episode of Triple D in Chicago, and initially thought someone was pulling a prank on him. “I thought it was a bad joke,” he told reporters in 2013.

Although the dealership had security camera footage of the heist, and the Lambo with the bespoke “guytoro” plates was spotted cruising over the Golden Gate Bridge on the morning of the crime, it still took the authorities over a year to track down the bandit. Wade even took the flashy car out for spontaneous joy rides, occasionally whizzing by some of Fieri’s friends who recognized the bright yellow automobile. The celebrity chef told ABC 7 News:

We would get calls all the time and I mean all the time. I had friends call me who would say, “Listen, I just saw your car on the freeway.” And I was like, believe it or not, there’s more than one yellow Lamborghini convertible probably in Northern California. And people would call and we’d get reports and my attorney would hear about it. Well, come to find out that he was driving it. Brave kid.

In a bizarre turn of events, Wade got pegged for the Lambo heist only after the police busted him for another, unrelated crime, where he fired five shots at a guy who was taking his high school crush out on a date. While investigating that crime, the authorities found Fieri’s Lambo in a storage locker that Wade was renting, along with some guns he was saving for other criminal activities.

The court room sketch of Guy on the stand
NBC News/Bay Area

Guy was asked to testify in Wade’s trial in 2013, but he kept his remarks brief. “I just wanted to keep it straight and to the point, let’s wrap this up,” Fieri explained. Outside the courthouse, the chef also told reporters, “There are other facets to [this case] that are fare more important than my car.” Fieri’s insurance company took possession of the Lambo after the court case, and Wade was sentenced to life in prison plus 21 years for a number of crimes, including the attempted murder of his high school acquaintances, and the theft of Fieri’s car.

This was an atypically heavy event in the life of Guy Fieri. On Monday — Day 3 of the 12 Days of Guy Fieri — we’ll take a look back at some of the more joyful moments of Fieri’s life in the limelight.

Previously: The 12 Days of Guy Fieri: A Look Back at the Pretzel Cart That Started It All [E]
All Food TV Coverage [E]

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