In 1985, a few months after Mimran brothers purchased the ailing Lamborghini Company which was under receivership following its 1978 bankruptcy, production of a Countach successor began in a bid to revive the company’s fortunes.
The Lamborghini Diablo took four years to craft and its first model was showcased in January 1990. The vehicle was given the “Diablo” name tag; the name was derived from a fierce bull which was raised by the Duke of Veragua famed for having had fought with the famous matador “El Chicorro” in the 1860s.
The production of the model lasted until 2001 when it was replaced by the Murcielago. In its production runtime, the Lamborghini Diablo was very successful selling over 2,900 units in different specifications.
Lamborghini Diablo Exterior
Macello Gandini, the designer behind the Countach, Miura, Urraco and Espada was given the task to come up with its design. However, the Chrysler team which took over the company didn’t like the design’s trademark sharp edges.
The Detroit based Company commissioned their own team led by Tom gale who had designed the Dodge Viper to modify the Diablo design to their liking. The team softened the sharp wedges resulting to the current Lamborghini design. Gandini didn’t take this lightly; jointly with other past Lamborghini employees they came up with the Cizeta-Moroder V16T which turned out to be quite an impressive supercar.
Despite the modifications, the Diablo featured some design cues from the Countach such as its protruding bumper and an upswept rear fascia. Overall, the supercar looked more like a racer car than a road-going automobile. The vehicle stretched 175.28 inches long, 80.17 inches wide and 43.43 inches tall. It had a wheelbase of 104.15 inches and had a ground clearance of 4.52 inches.
Through the 11 years it remained in production, the Diablo exterior design remained relatively unchanged. It is only in 1999 when the model received pop-up headlights which had fixed composite lenses as well as 18-inch wheels. The automaker however added a Roadster variant to the Diablo lineup in 1995. When the vehicle came out in 1990, it caused quite a stir in the market. It was quite a head-turner on the streets.
Lamborghini Diablo Interior
Compared to the current supercar cabin designs, the Diablo interior might look Spartan but back then, its cabin was among the finest in the market.
The cabin featured hand-stitched Italian leather, an Alpine audio system with a cassette or CD player and electric windows. Power steering was introduced in 1993.Later its driver-oriented divider was separated into two by a steeply raked center stack as well as a tall and wide center console. Its dashboard was simple and clean. The clean design was also featured on its door panels.
The instruments cluster on the other hand featured a number of gauges. Most features were offered as standard and optional features only included a remote CD-changer, a subwoofer, a Breguet clock which was priced at $ 10,500 (almost enough to buy some of the economy cars of the time) and a luggage set.
There was also an option for a custom-made driver’s seat. As time went by, the automaker made several cabin changes such as a wider instruments cluster, a modified center console and redesigned door panels. The automaker also added carbon-fiber touches on top-of-the range VT models.
Engine Specs and Performance
When it first debuted, the Diablo was powered by a 5.7 L, V-12 engine which used computer-controlled fuel injection and dual overhead cams. It pumped 492 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. This power was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.
The vehicle had a top speed of 204 mph becoming the first Lambo’ to surpass the 200 mph mark. The vehicle did 0-60 mph dash in 4.5 seconds. Later in 1993, the automaker introduced the VT which was a tenth-second quicker. The changes resulted in a 100 pounds increase in its curb weight.
The following year the Diablo SE30 engine was updated to produce 523 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. This improved its acceleration from 0-60 mph to just 4.0 seconds and increased its top speed to 207 mph. This model was further enhanced to pump out 595 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque and cut down its acceleration from 0-60 mph to just 3.9 seconds and 211 mph top speed.
The same year, the automaker launched the Diablo SV which returned 510 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque as well as a VT roadster.
The lineup then remained relatively unchanged until in 2009 when the automaker eliminated the base model leaving the SV as the entry level model. The engine was tweaked to produce 529 hp and 446 lb-ft of torque in the remaining SV, VT and the VT roadster.
During the same time, a GT model meant for the tracks was also produced. The model featured a 6.0 L, V-12 engine which produced 575 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque.
When it was launched, the Diablo carried a $239,000 price tag making it the most expensive mass-produced Lamborghini. Today, to get a well maintained Diablo GT and VT models will set you back in excess of $300,000.
The Ferrari 512 TR was the main competitor to the Diablo. However, the supercar the ex-Lamborghini employees produced whose design was originally penned by Gandini for the Diablo also posed a threat. Its outlandish design became very famous. The car was named Cizeta-Moroder V16T. It’s only sad that they only built 19 units.
All in all, the Diablo presented many firsts for the automaker. To begin with, the supercar hit past the 200 mph mark, was the first model to feature power steering, airbags and was made in different versions. It also became the first supercar to get a roadster version. Though the Diablo didn’t reach the heights reached by its predecessors, the Miura and Countach, it is still attained a legendary status in its own rights.