LAMBORGHINI marks 30 years of its iconic Diablo super sports car this year, with the car that replaced the legendary Countach having gone on sale in January 1990, following five years of development under the code name Project 132.
The Daiblo’s clean and aggressive lines are the result of a project by Marcello Gandini that was partially revised by Chrysler’s design centre, which in the meantime became the majority shareholder of Automobili Lamborghini.
Winning the hearts and appreciation of fans from day one, the Diablo was officially the fastest production car in the world at launch, capable of a top speed of 325km/h (203.1mph).
Its impressive dynamic behaviour was the result of intense development work involving rally champion Sandro Munari, and its 5.7-litre 12-cylinder engine, featuring four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder.
It was equipped with multi-point electronic injection capable of developing 361kW and 580Nm, in a rear longitudinal position. The Diablo initially came in rear-wheel drive only, with no electronic driving aids or power steering.
And despite being luxuriously finished, with leather interior, air conditioning, electric windows and electrically adjustable seats, the Diablo was still a hard and pure sports car.
In 1993, Lamborghini launched the Diablo VT, the first Lamborghini Granturismo to be equipped with four-wheel drive, which also brought a series of mechanical improvements and stylistic changes, which were adopted on the two-wheel drive version.
In that same year, the special SE30 series was presented to commemorate 30 years since the birth of the company, with a power increase to 385kW.
The Diablo SV then debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995, available once again in two-wheel drive, with maximum power of 375kW, and an adjustable rear wing. In December of the same year, the Diablo VT Roadster came onto the market.
It was Lamborghini’s first 12-cylinder, open-roofed, mass-produced vehicle, and featured slightly revised lines, and all-wheel drive.
In 1999, following the purchase of Automobili Lamborghini by the Audi Group, a restyled version of the Diablo SV, courtesy of the company’s first in-house designer Luc Donckerwolke, was unveiled.
From a mechanical point of view, the engine, now with 394kW and capable of 605Nm, was equipped with the variable valve lift system and, for the first time on a Lamborghini, the braking system included ABS.
The Diablo also came in the form of a Special Edition for competition, featuring 6.0-litre engines. The Lamborghini Diablo continued to be sold until 2001, when it was replaced by the Murciélago. It remains the company’s most produced nameplate to date.