Six years after it was purchased by Audi, Lamborghini still relied on the Diablo as its flagship model, and that received a final bump for the last production year: the VT 6.0.
After a troublesome period, Lamborghini finally looked like it had found a big group who could take good care of the legacy left by Ferrucio Lamborghini. The Diablo was designed in Chrysler's studios, outraging Marcello Ghandini, who penned the first sketches for it, but the customers loved the reshape done by Luc Donkerwolke, who worked especially on the Diablo VT 6.0 as Design Director for Volkswagen Group.
The car lost its pop-up headlights since new technologies allowed the carmakers to create angled lamps that could illuminate the road ahead efficiently. Thus, the sharp front end was kept, but the lower apron received a new design with side air intakes and a flat area reserved for the license plate. At the back, the Diablo VT 6.0 sported a twin-exhaust placed in the middle instead of the formerly used quad-exhaust system.
Inside, Donkerwolke didn't change the overall design but changed the materials used. Thus, the carbon fiber elements were seen on the center console, while the leather upholstery covered not just the seats but the door cards and the dashboard as well.
But the most significant change was on the car's underpinnings, which sported an all-wheel drive system. Also, the six-liter powerplant V12 was new and developed 543 hp (550 PS), which was a lot for those days' standards, and it was mated to a five-speed manual.
In 1996, Lamborghini recalled the Super Veloce nameplate used on the 1971 Miura SV and created a new entry-level version for its Diablo supercar.
While the Diablo was introduced under Chrysler's ownership, Lamborghini engineers made the SV under new management after the company changed its owners in 1994. There were new rules, and the carmaker had to increase its sales by any means. Its marketing department considered that a more powerful car with a lower price-tag could boost the sales. They were right, up to a point, but not all the way since bigger power on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle without electronic nannies spelled troubles for the drivers.
The car was already brutal in its look. Its pop-up headlights with dual lamps and air-scoops in the spoiler showed the most aggressive front fascia in the supercar world from those times. Unlike the rest of the range, the SV featured dual air-intakes on the roof that were needed to bring cold air to the engine. Depending on the customers' requests, Lamborghini installed either a carbon-fiber rear wing or a color-body fiber-glass one.
Inside, it was the same cramped interior but adorned with some SV stitching on the sport-bucket seats. Lamborghini extensively used Alcantara inside the cabin: the seats, the center stack, and the dashboard sported the new (then) expensive material.
Under the hood, the Italian engineers squeezed 517 hp from the 5.7-liter V-12 engine. The power was sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Lamborghini Engineering SpA developed a special kit for the Diablo SE30 and named-it Jota after the original Miura built to comply with the FIA's Appendix J racing regulations.
Back in the '90s, Lamborghini tried to make it into Formula 1 and beat the Scuderia Ferrari at its own game but ended up in a total failure, and without wins nor cash to burn, they had to quit. About the same time, its racing engineers worked on a special kit, which was named Jota, in honor of the Miura Jota. They installed it on the SE30, which was already a lightened version of the Diablo, and it resulted in the fastest Lamborghini ever built to that date. The carmaker built only 28 kits, and 12 of them were installed in its factory.
Since the Jota version was based on the Special Edition 30 model, it kept most of that version features. There was a bumper with four fog lights at the front, while on the sides, the car featured roll-down small windows segments and the fuel-filler on the passenger side. The Jota kit came with an important upgrade over the engine cover. The engineering team introduced special air-intakes above the car's roof. In the back, Lamborghini installed an adjustable wing.
Inside, the SE30 Jota featured two main materials: carbon-fiber and Alcantara. Since it was a lightened supercar, it didn't feature power-windows. There were only two small areas that could have been manually rolled down via a knob on the door. For the instrument panel, Lamborghini installed white dials instead of black ones in the rest of the Diablo range.
Lamborghini Engineering modified the engine and increased the V-12's power to 600 hp. A six-speed manual gearbox was installed.
As the Lamborghini Countach Anniversario was built to celebrate 25 years since the Automobile Lamborghini SpA came to life, such was the Diablo SE30 for their 30th anniversary.
Presented during the Lamborghini Day in 1993 in Sant’Agata, the SE30 was the sportiest vehicle built by Lamborghini by then. SE stood for Special Edition and the SE30 was indeed special, as it was designed as a street-legal race car that was lighter and more powerful than the standard Diablo.
To achieve the reduced weight, Lamborghini replaced the power glass side windows with fixed plexiglas, as well as removed the luxurious features found in the original version, such as the air-conditioning and the power steering.
Aesthetically, the SE30 was restyled and featured a new front fascia, as well as a front deeper spoiler. The emblem was moved from the luggage lid to the nose panel of the vehicle and a larger spoiler was offered as standard equipment.
Inside, the SE30 was equipped with small carbon seats that grabbed the occupants with a 4-point harness to hold them tight.
Built in a limited series, only 15 SE30 units were produced, with 15 of them being converted to the Jota specification, a factory modification kit designed to turn the regular SE30 into a pure race car.
The Diablo was the last supercar designed and engineered by Lamborghini, even though it wasn't an independent carmaker anymore.
Lamborghini Automobile S.p.A. was already under Chrysler's ownership and tried to introduce a new car to strengthen the brand. The Diablo development had begun in 1985, and the car was ready to launch in 1990. It was a stunning supercar that sent the competition (especially Ferrari) back to the drawing board. Just three years later, when the carmaker celebrated three decades in the business, it introduced the Diablo all-wheel-drive, named VT.
Everything about the Diablo was exaggerated. It was wider than expected, loud, and with a very aggressive stance. Fixed stationary lamps and turn-signals complemented its pop-up headlights in the bumper. Underneath, a pair of fog-lights completed the front lighting package. The broad back was split into two distinct parts in the rear: the engine side and the bumper. Between the circular taillights, Lamborghini installed a mesh-grille that helped to cool the engine.
Inside, the Diablo was cramped, and larger or taller owners often criticized the sport bucket-seats with high bolstering. The center stack was almost horizontal, and the wide center console served as an armrest for two people.
But the real surprise was for the drivetrain. Lamborghini installed a viscous center differential that sent up to 25% of the torque to the front wheels when the rear ones were spinning. Thus, the car could be controlled better even by the drivers without too much experience.
Lamborghini finally replaced the old dog Countach in 1990 with the stunning supercar Diablo, developed under Chrysler management.
When the American carmaker bought Lamborghini in 1987, they found that the Italian carmaker was working on a new supercar named Project 132. Its target speed was 315 kph (196 mph), and Marcello Gandini signed the exterior design concept. Everything was in the right place, but Chrysler's management didn't like it and sent the sketches to its design department in Detroit to reshape it.
The Italian carmaker already decided that the car will have a mid-engine, and that led to a short front area with a sharp and narrow edge. Its pop-up headlights were a thing of the past but still attracted many customers. Its four fog lights and the exposed turn-signals and parking lights were unique on the market. With its windshield that continued on the same line as the front compartment storage lid and a short roof, the Diablo had a unique look on the market. Behind the cabin, the carmaker made the engine compartment long enough to host a V-12engine inside. Its two, side air intakes from the lower and upper rear quarter panels ensured the cooling.
Inside, Lamborghini offered two high-bolstered bucket seats with a tall center console between them. The sloped center stack hosted the Alpine audio system and the climate controls. Despite the car's advanced design, the instrument panel was very simple and, somehow, bland. There were family cars on the market with a better-looking dashboard than the Diablo.
In the engine compartment, Lamborghini installed a 5.7-liter V-12 engine paired to a five-speed manual gearbox. Even though it didn't break the world's speed record for a production car, it was close enough to be considered a speed king.