1996 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
Chassis no. ZA9RU37P9TLA12546
5.7-liter, DOHC, 492hp V12
Three-speed manual transmission
Viscous Traction all-wheel-drive
Fastest open car on the road in 1996
Only 23,100 miles from new
After 17 years in production, the legendary Countach was replaced by the Diablo, which on its arrival was the fastest, most advanced and most expensive Lamborghini ever built. First exhibited publicly at Monaco in January 1990, the Diablo improved on its illustrious predecessor in every way, setting a new benchmark in supercar design. Nobody can have been surprised to learn that it had been styled by Marcello Gandini, the man responsible for the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, for the family resemblance was obvious.
Beneath the skin there was a steel spaceframe chassis, developed from the Countach's, but constructed of square-section rather than round tubing and incorporating 'crumple zones' at front and rear. The use of carbon-fiber composite panels, first seen in the Countach Evoluzione model, was extended in the Diablo, which also featured revised suspension capable of accommodating the envisaged future developments of four-wheel drive and active suspension. Stretched to 5.7 liters for the Diablo, Lamborghini's 48-valve V12 engine gained fuel injection for the first time, producing its maximum of 492bhp at 7,000rpm. Of equal, if not greater significance, maximum torque went up to 428lb/ft, an improvement of 55% over the Countach. Catalytic converters were standard, enabling the reworked V12 to meet emissions requirements worldwide.
With more power and a lower drag coefficient than the Countach, the Diablo easily eclipsed its forebear, exceeding 200mph (322km/h) on test. More importantly, its acceleration and top speed figures were marginally better than those of the Ferrari F40. Although one of the world's most expensive cars, the Diablo was not a limited edition model like the latter but a series production car with a luxuriously appointed interior reflecting its designers' intention to produce a civilized Gran Turismo as suited to city streets and motorways as the racetrack. Four-wheel drive Diablo VT, with 'VT' standing for Viscous Traction, and Targa-style open roadster versions soon followed and then came the Diablo SE (Special Edition) only 150 examples of which were built to celebrate Lamborghini's 30 years as a car manufacturer.
This Diablo VT Roadster, fitting finished in Rosso Targo over tan hides, stickered for $273,000 when new and was the most expensive car you could buy from your local Lamborghini dealer. When this car was ordered new, the lofty price was made even more stratospheric with the addition of a $4,500 rear spoiler and optional Alpine stereo with a CD-changer and subwooferincase the music from the four tailpipes was not enough entertainment on its own.
Since leaving Sant'Agata Bolognese, just 23,100 miles have been covered. Showing well today, this Diablo VT is still amply capable of putting 200mph wind in your hair and turning heads. Plus, with all-wheel drive you won't need to put snow chains on the tires should you wish to drive up to ski in Lake Tahoe in the winter.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.