The Lamborghini Diablo is 30 years old and still crazy

Two Lamborghini Diablos driving in the countryside
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Two Lamborghini Diablos driving in the country
Lamborghini Diablos driving down a gravel country road
Two Lamborghini Diablos driving in the country from the rear
Lamborghini Diablo in a courtyard
Lamborghini Diablo on a country road
Lamborghini Diablo on a country road intersection
Lamborghini Diablo engine
Lamborghini Diablo interior from the side

When Lamborghini had to design and build a successor to the Countach, it had quite a task on its hands replacing a much loved car which found its way into mainstream media and social consciousness, a poster child of the 1980s, arguably more than any other car.

The project started in 1985 with Marcello Gandini penning the original design with then parent company Chrysler and their designers taking over. It still looked incredibly “Lamborghini” but softened enough to fit in with the curves of the times, something which Gandini didn’t appreciate.

Lamborghini Diablos driving down a gravel country road

Launched in 1990, the Diablo met its target of the fastest production car in the world with a top speed of 325 km/h (203.1 mph), with rally champion Sandro Munari providing development input on dynamics.

The 5.7L 12-cylinder engine featured four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, equipped with multi-point electronic injection and pumped out 485 HP and 580 Nm of torque.

This was what many consider the last of the “real” Lamborghini’s with huge power, rear wheel drive, and no driving aids or power steering (although available later in 1993). Utter nonsense of course, with modern Lamborghinis proving to be just as wild and entertaining but without the wrong kind of drama.

In 1993 came the Diablo VT, the four-wheel drive version with mechanical and styling improvements. Also in 1993 the 523 HP SE30 series was launched to celebrate 30 years of the birth of the company.

Next came the SV in 1995, reverting back to two-wheel drive but this time with 510 HP. Later, the Diablo VT Roadster would be launched making taking boulevard cruising to new extremes, also featuring some styling changes and in four-wheel drive only.

After Audi’s takeover in 1999 the Diablo SV was restyled under the direction of Luc Donckerwolke, the first in-house designer at Lamborghini and along with the VT and VT Roadster, hinted at what was to come. 

Kissing goodbye to the model between 1999 and 2001 were 6.0L variants: Diablo 6.0, Diablo 6.0 SE, Diablo GT, and race ready Diablo GTR where it won the 2003 and 2004 Australian Nations Cup Championship.

The Diablo may have been passed around a bit during its time but it’s a highly successful model in Lamborghini’s history that still draws crowds today, much like any Lamborghini of any era.

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