Marcello Gandini had been working as a freelance designer for four years when two Swiss investors, Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran, bought the bankrupt Lamborghini and set out to launch a brand that fell victim to the 1973 oil crisis. They knew full well that the company owed a lot to the Bertone studio, especially Gandini, from whom the legendary types such as the Miura, Espada and Countach came from. Although the latter was already a ten-year-old model in 1984, the version modernized with plastic extensions became just as iconic in the 80s as the original in the 70s.
However, the Swiss brothers knew it was time to develop the successor, so they launched Project 132 in 1985 and asked Gandini to design a worthy body for the new top model. Investors have set a goal to make the new Lamborghini the fastest series-produced car in the world, even if future buyers will never use its knowledge. This required a speed of at least 315 km / h, so the displacement of the existing V12 engine was increased from 5,167 to 5,707 cc. By modifying the bore and stroke, both power and torque are increased. In addition to the engine, the basic structure itself, the three-frame construction method, was also taken over from Countach. The wheelbase and width have also been increased, the latter reaching its predecessor without the already mentioned plastic wheelbase widenings. The increase in size was also accompanied by an increase in weight, this could not be avoided, but with various light metal and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic parts, the Italians were able to keep it low.
In 1987, right in the middle of the design phase, Lamborghini changed hands, this time to Chrysler. The Americans changed not only the supply but also the 132 project, imagining a more comfortable and practical interior and a less aggressive exterior. The former even fit into the company’s philosophy, while the latter disappointed Gandini, who felt important elements had disappeared from the car. Although the final version was noted by Tom Gale, the base form was Gandini’s merit, which Chrysler also confirmed with a logo depicting the designer’s signature. Yet the success story is over, the designer didn’t work for Lamborghini anymore, he was more involved in the development of the Cizeta-Moroder V16T.
As sensitive to the idea owner as it was, the Diablo, unveiled in 1990, with its soft, sculptural lines, was more in tune with the style of the ’90s. The design, along with the modifications, was spectacular and functional enough. The brakes and the engine were cooled by air flowing in through openings in several places, and an air vortex around the rear bumper led the hot air out of the engine compartment. Its form factor of 0.31 was also more favorable than that of Countache, inheriting the general tilt lamp and the brand-opening doors that opened upwards. Thanks to the downward-curving belt line, the view from the driver’s seat was improved, the exterior and interior mirrors provided better rear view, and the windows were made in one piece and could be fully lowered with electric movement. Getting in and out was easier than before, the driver was greeted by an adjustable steering wheel and seat, and Italian elegance was provided by hand-sewn leather upholstery. The laid-in center console not only accommodated a headunit, cassette recorder or CD player, but also a CD changer and subwoofer on the extralist in the company of the Breguet watch.
There was no occasional purchase, in return 492 horsepower and 580 Nm of torque were squeezed out of the four-valve, injector V12 per cylinder. With a car weighing 1575 kg, it was possible to accelerate from a standstill to 100 km / h in 4.1 seconds. The factory gave a top speed of 325 km / h, but it was also accelerated to 337 km / h on the Nardo track. With that, he was considered the king of contemporary supercars made in the big series! He deserved the name Diablo, which means devil in Spanish, and, true to the traditions of the Lamborghini, was named after a famous bull. Six billion lira was spent on the classic development of the born, which is more than one billion forints at today’s exchange rate. The trade press and customers were also impressed with the end result, typically criticized for its difficult steering and also hard clutch pedal.
Its first improved version, the VT, was available from 1993. The acronym Viscous Traction referred to the viscous clutch all-wheel drive of the former LM002 SUV, which was introduced to Diablo in a modified form. The system delivered 25% of the torque to the front when the rear wheels spun, which greatly improved its handling. The new version includes extra air intakes, four-piston calipers, electronically adjustable shock absorbers, power steering and a softer clutch, among others. In 1993, the brand’s 30th birthday was celebrated, and to this end, the SE30 edition for street racing was also launched. Its engine was muscled to 525 horsepower, the four-wheel drive was omitted due to weight reduction, but the VT’s adjustable shock absorbers and stabilizer bars adjustable from the passenger compartment were installed. All the extras were omitted from it, even the side windows were replaced with a fixed opening plexiglass with a small opening. One of the 150 owners could sit in the carbon fiber seats with four-point belts, who could sit in an easily recognizable Diablo from the outside. The most striking difference was the larger rear spoiler and the bumper-mounted logo on the base price, but several other details were changed on the bodywork. For those looking for a real racing car, 15 Jota specs with 596 horsepower also left the Sant’Agata factory in Bolognese.
At the 1995 Geneva Motor Show, a new owner once again exhibited the novelties of the Lamborghini. The Americans passed on the brand in 1994 to a group of Malaysian investors, Mycom Setdco, and an Indonesian company, V’Power Corporation. In addition to the 510-horsepower SV, or Super Veloce, the range has been expanded with the VT Roadster. The 1992 study car came true with the cover version, although the series version differed only slightly from the closed version. With 466 specimens found between 1995 and 1999, it was one of the most popular models.
Diablo was considered a cult in its infancy, in addition to car fan posters, it was featured in the 1994 comedy Dumb and Dumber – Daisies, in the 1996 clip of Jamiroquai and on the cover of the 1998 computer game Need for Speed III – Hot Pursuit and became one of the iconic cars in the series. By then, the company had found its current owner, became part of the Volkswagen Group in 1998, and became part of Audi. Its tilt lamp has been replaced with conventional pieces from the Nissan 300 ZX, its engine has been upgraded to 530 horsepower, variable valve timing has been introduced, and higher-performance brakes have been supplemented with anti-lock brakes. The interior has been completely replaced, with a more spectacular instrument panel in its old location. From 1999 onwards, the V12’s cylinder capacity was increased to 5,992 cubic centimeters, 575 horsepower from the racing GT and 549 horsepower from the traditional VT 6.0. came from…
DIABLO ROADSTER CONCEPT
The study car, which debuted at the 1992 Geneva Motor Show, was not simply open, but received a special, barchetta-style body. It was not put into production despite the fact that the project was taken seriously by the Italians and all the necessary modifications were made to the chassis to make it functional and safe in this form. The German tuning company Koenig saw an opportunity in its success and transformed custom-made Diablos in a way known to the concept. Minor modifications were made to the bumpers and rims to avoid litigation, but it served customers until Lamborghini introduced the official VT Roadster in 1995.
Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.
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