Remembering the Most Devilish Lamborghini Diablo of All Time, the SE30 Jota

To celebrate 30 years of existence, the Italian carmaker introduced a limited-series version of its flagship supercar in 1993. Although the standard model was already crazy, this track-focused model dubbed Special Edition 30 (SE30) was considerably more outrageous. However, that wasn’t enough for some owners, and a few of these monsters were blessed with the Jota upgrade, making them the most powerful Diablo variants ever built.
1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota 12 photos
Photo: Johnathan Green via
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Following the success of the innovative Countach manufactured for sixteen years, the Italian carmaker decided it was time to build a worthy successor in 1985. After a grueling development process that lasted almost half of decade, the Diablo was finally released in 1990.

In the years that followed, the supercar grew in popularity and was continuously refined, even receiving an all-wheel-drive version in 1993. Since Lamborghini was celebrating its 30th anniversary that year, the company decided to mark this occasion with a limited-edition of 150 track-focused Diablos that would receive the SE30 moniker.

Two years later, those who weren’t satisfied with the uniqueness of these variants could turn them into full-blown race cars thanks to the availability of the ultra-exclusive Jota upgrade.

1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota
Photo: Johnathan Green via
Back in 1987, when the sports car manufacturer was acquired by Chrysler, the American company’s chairman Lee Iacocca decided they should enter Formula 1 and founded Lamborghini Engineering S.p.A. in Bologna, Italy. Ran by Daniele Audetto and employing the legendary Mauro Forghieri as technical director, the division which can be considered the precursor of today’s Squadra Corse had the clear mission of building a V12 capable of dominating the most famous motorsport competition of all.

While an engine called LE3512 was constructed in 1989 and was used by teams like Lotus and Ligier, it was notoriously unreliable. After a deal to supply a revised version to McLaren collapsed, Chrysler decided to stop future development, a move that suddenly left the Lamborghini Engineering employees without a clear task. Thus, they were subsequently instructed to create and install the radical Jota kit for the Diablo SE30.

The most important alterations were made to the powerplant, which received a racing ECU, bespoke intake manifolds, racing cams, two additional throttle bodies, and a completely reworked exhaust system. It meant that output was boosted from 523 hp to 595 hp, making it the most powerful version of the Bizzarrini V12 ever built.

1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota
Photo: Johnathan Green via
For the bodywork, the kit didn’t include many distinctive enhancements except for a set of magnesium wheels and a redesigned engine lid that featured two large scoops bulging above the roofline.

Inside, the normal speedometer was swapped with a 400-kph (249-mph) version, although the car was never clocked reaching that speed. Furthermore, the rearview mirror was removed because it was utterly useless, thanks to the new lid and engine upgrades.

Out of the 150 Diablo SE30 models eligible for this outlandish upgrade, only 28 were lucky enough to receive it. Lamborghini Engineering installed 12 kits, and out of the remaining 16 kits, 14 were installed by local dealers, while two were kept as factory spares.

1995 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota
Photo: Johnathan Green via
Although the Jota Diablos were sold strictly as circuit cars and were never meant to be road-legal, several owners managed to register them in countries like Japan or Germany, where they were let loose on public roads.

As you can see in the video below from Supercar Driver, riding in one of these raging bulls is an unparalleled experience. At high speeds, when the massive twelve-cylinder starts to gobble up air through those two scoops and screams through the unobscured exhaust, you quickly realize that this is by no means a road-legal race car, but rather a 1990s Formula 1 car in disguise.

It is so rare and so unique that only one of them has ever changed owners, the model featured in this article that RM Sotheby's auctioned off in 2016 for €672,000 (around $780,00).

The Diablo continued to be built until 2001, undergoing many upgrades through the years, yet none of the subsequent versions were as powerful and raw as the 1995 SE30 Jota. This model will be remembered as the most outrageous member of the Diablo lineup and one of the most epic cars Lamborghini has ever built.

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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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