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
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
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
The same year, the automaker launched the Diablo SV which
returned 510 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque as well as a VT
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
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.