Happy Birthday Diablo

This year Lamborghini celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the supercar which name arouse fear and revoke the underworld. As many other Lamborghini, Diablo name was inspired by a torus breed, linked to El Diablo legend – a fierce bull raised in Spain by the Duke of Veragua during the 18th Century. Rather than the name, Lamborgini Diablo has stainless origin in Motor Valley, Emilia Romagna, where Luigi Marmiroli, Marcello Gandini, Valentino Balboni together with Moreno Conti and Sandro Munari (who was in charge of the project) worked on an extremely wide, low and powerful supercar. Engineer Marmiroli had the task to create the car that should have had the burden to substitute the Countach, latest rear V12 produced by Sant’Agata Factory for 17 years, from 1974.
Diablo generation lasts until 2001, and in its twelve years of production, models marked out a various step forward the series.
As for the Countach, the design was entrusted to the pencil of Marcello Gandini, overseen by the Chrysler Style Center (in 1987 Chrysler purchased Lamborghini) and the testing was assigned to the Lambo historical test driver Valentino Balboni, supported by Moreno Conti. It took five years to get tuned the new mighty V12 supercar, but the result was an impressive evolution-revolution of cars standards. Presented in Monaco in January 1990, first look Diablo strike for the extreme wide side and the taper profile: from an early test from cars magazine at the time, someone said that exit from Lamborghini Factory passing under the barriers!
The feeling in the cockpit is to be sat in an enormous go-kart, able to get 328 km/h (!) and twitch from 0-100 in 4sec. Another quality of this eye-catching supercar is the road holding, incredible also thanks to the mighty tyres of 445/40 Z R17 front and 335/35 Z R17 rear, ceased by the auto-ventilating disc of 330mm front and 485mm rear. The “pulsing heart” of this “first-generation” Diablo produced in 873 examples, is a V12 with 5.7 litres of capacity supplying 492hp at 7000rpm.
Diablo generation lasts until 2001, and in its twelve years of production, models marked out a various step forward for the series. At 1992 Geneva Auto Show has unveiled a prototype painted in a colour never seen before, fluorescent yellow with golden shades – the Diablo Roadster made its debut. This ambitious prototype was an essential idea with plexiglass windshield and two roll-bars behind the seat headrests, which was intended to be just a concept. But thanks to the amazement and appreciation of the public, Lamborghini thought to realize an open Diablo – customers had to wait other three years before could buy the production version.
Indeed the open roadster arrived in 1995, becoming the first open-top Lamborghini production car with a V12 engine. Diablo Roadster was a “Targa Top” car with a removable roof panel that could be stored over the engine cover. But we need to take a step back to 1993 when, before the open-top Lambo, two models were introduced in Diablo family. In March 1993 at the Geneva Motor Show, the new Diablo VT (which stood for Vicious Traction) highlighted the new four-wheel-drive system, capable of shuttling 25 per cent of the engine’s power to the front wheels. Moreover the introduction of a 4WD system, the VT marked several updates to the car as the redesigned clutch, more comfortable seats and intakes added at the front to assist brake cooling.
Also in 1993, to celebrate the Lamborghini 30° Anniversary was built another Diablo version named SE (Special Edition). This car was conceived with an eye to racing, lightened of more than 130Kg thanks to the removing of series fittings and the adoption of new panels in carbon fibre – 150 units were built of this ultra-weight rear-drive iconic Lambo. Nineteen ninety-nine saw the introduction of the second-generation Diablo VT, which presented changes in the design interior and the front light, no more retractable but open.
All these model updates during the ‘90s culminate with the concomitant purchase by Audi of Lamborghini Company and the unveiled of the most powerful Diablo, the 575hp Diablo VT 6.0. The engine was increased to 6 litres (5992cc), and the interior was completely redesigned with a new dashboard – the most refined of its kind. The very final edition of the long-running Diablo series is the GT, a limited-edition variant (built-in just 80 examples) which was closely aligned with Lambos GT2 racing cars, but with road-going specs. During its launch at 1999 Geneva Motor Show, it was claimed as the “fastest production car in the world”. Production ended in 2001 when the Diablo series was replaced by the Murcielago – the torus raised by the Duke of Varagua marked an era followed by its successors.


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