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In 1985 the engineers of Lamborghini started working on the successor of the Countach, this wasn't easy, times had changed and a new car had to be better in all aspects : faster, higher built-quality and safer. The safety- and emission rules made it difficult for a small company like Lamborghini. The staff ordered that every car should have the same power, no special U.S. or Italian-market cars this time, and should have a top speed of at least 315 Km/h. (Most U.S. cars had less power than the europeans, due to the U.S. emission regulation). Luigi Marmiroli (who had worked at Ferrari and Alfa Romeo) was contracted as Technical Director and he decided to ask Marcello Gandini to design the car. (He also had designed the Miura and the Countach). Gandini had his first model ready in may 1986 and Marmiroli loved it, there was one problem, again Lamborghini was in financial problems, and in april 1987 the company was taken over by the Chrysler concern. Chrysler got involved in the new project and they decided to let Gandini make a new design. (Gandini used the first design later for the Cizeta-Moroder, a V 16 car.) The americans weren't quite satisfied and, in cooperation with Gandini took the model to their wind tunnel and design-computers, it came out as we know it today. The space frame was made of square tubes, witch was easier to construct then the round- tube frame of the Countach. Many parts of the Diablo were made out of composite-material, much lighter than steel, but, more important, much stronger. The result was a car that is much stiffer than the Countach. The engine was almost completely changed, it's bore and stroke now were 87 x 80 mm., and the cilinder s got a Nikasil coating, compression was raised to 10:1 and an electronic sequential fuel injection system, specially designed for the car was added. With this new engine the Diablo was the most powerful road car with it's 485 Hp at 7000 Rpm. (Ferrari claimed 478 Hp for the F40). The built quality of the Diablo was much better than the Countach, due to new production methods they learned from Chrysler. The mission was completed: the Diablo was a fully fledged successor of the Countach.

The VT (= Visco Traction) is the same car as the normal Diablo, but it has a visco-clutch which puts 17 % of the power to the front wheels if the back wheels loose grip, the drive shaft to the front wheels is made of carbon-fiber and the complete system only weights 44 Kg.
The SE 30 was introduced in 1994 to celebrate the 30th ANNIVERSARY of Lamborghini, the engine is tuned, and delivers 520 Hp, more carbon-fibre is used and the weight is 150 Kg. less then a standard Diablo, a traction control system was added and it's the fastest Lambo ever, we thought....
The last 10 cars were even faster, they were called Special Emotion, the engine has other camshafts and a different exhaust system and delivers 585 Hp. It's interior is clothed with alcantara, it has 4 point instead of 3 point safety-belts. Standard is a traction control system, active suspension and a fire- extinguisher system, all cars are Electric Yellow.
15 SE 30's were delivered with JOTA modification, they have a variable in- and outlet system and a straight-through exhaust (they are not road-legal). To get enough air to the engine- compartment it has two air-intakes on the roof, this Jota version delivers 600 Hp. and has a maximum torque of 600 Nm. at 5250 Rpm.

The Diablo roadster is designed by Marcello Gandini and has a removable roof part. You don't have to leave it at home, you can store it on the engine-cover, very handy ! The chassis has been stiffened because of the hole in the roof and it's even stiffer than the original car. The car has the 4 wheel drive system of the VT version. It has the standard V 12 engine on board.

SV stands for Sports Veloce, It is the latest version of the Diablo, and it has been introduced because it was 25 years ago that the world famous Miura SV came to us. It has a tuned V12 with over 500 Hp, the gear-ratio's are lower than on the normal Diablo, suspension is revised and stiffer dampers are mounted. The brake system is up rated, it has larger, ventilated, cross- drilled discs, and to get more air to the engine two large air intakes are mounted on the roof ( like on the SE's Jota version). Furthermore it's lighter and (very important) cheaper than the standard Diablo. A special race version is also available, this one is called SV-R.

What the press said:

Ian Bond, Classic and Sportscar july '94 (Diablo):
"The Lamborghini Diablo is a great car, a worthy heir to the Countach and a collectors piece for the future for sure, but will the crisis-suviving Bolognese factory be making Anniversery Diablos in 2015 ?"

Kevin Blick, Topgear aug.'94 (Diablo SE 30):
"I'm conscious that I'm barely scratching the surfaceof this amazing machine's grip but I know if I did find the limit I'd be of the road far and fast. You play with this toy at your peril.But how I loved my playtime. A hundred and fifty lucky people will get to play with a Diablo SE 30. And I wish I was one."

Tiff Needell, Topgear may '96 (Diablo Roadster):
"It's the Diablo for me, then. And I'd go straight for the Roadster version with a special request for rear-wheel drive only. It gives almost the same driving experience as the F50 - not quite so fast, sure-footed or aesthetically pleasing but probably a lot more reliable and a lot more comfortable. And I can just walk in off the street and order a new one and save at least £200,000 of my lottery winnings for something else to keep me happy in my old age."

· Premium Member
1,177 Posts
The VT (= Visco Traction) is the same car as the normal Diablo
VT = Viscous Traction

The word Viscous describing the nature of the fluid involved.

it has a visco-clutch
To call it a clutch seems wrong as viscous clutches normally involve some sort of plate?? A "viscous coupling center differential" seems more acurate.

puts 17 % of the power to the front wheels if the back wheels loose grip
I believe the system is always 17% to the front. Which is really the point here in that the differential is self contained and is always working based on the nature of the fluid.

... The car has the 4 wheel drive system of the VT version.
This seems awkward. Roadsters are VT's.

My 2 cents.


· Registered
534 Posts
On the Diablo Roadsters:
There are a few noticeable differences with the roadster compared to the coupe.
Front bumper
Side gills (same as the SE30)
Engine cover
No quarter window
Larger air intakes (this was Gandinis original Diablo design)
Rear Spoiler is like the SE30 as well

98 and above had 530 HP Variable valve timing , ABS, 18” wheels, Pass airbag, Cross drilled rotors and larger Brembo brakes

After Audi purchased Lamborghini in 98 the 1999 roadsters had the fixed headlights (Nissan 300Z lights), redid the interior and no longer in Kilometers
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