The answer to that question is most likely no, but that’s all about to change. This already hyperactive and oh-so-striking Lamborghini Diablo SE30 was given an almighty upgrade and served as a prototype for the brand. Now, it’s looking for a new home with Auto Sportiva.
The date was the 21st of January 1990, and Lamborghini were ready to lift the lid on their most ambitious creation in the company’s history. Codenamed ‘Project 132’ and created with a clear aim of superseding the now legendary Countach as Lamborghini’s flagship supercar, it’s fair to say the Diablo had a tough act to follow. Thankfully, those who did see it on that late-January day were deeply impressed, and an icon for the new decade was born. Those clean and yet impactful lines could only have been penned by Marcello Gandini, even if the end result was bizarrely altered by Chrysler’s design centre, who were the majority shareholder of Automobili Lamborghini at the time.
Those excitable millionaires and supercar connoisseurs waving their deposit cheques to secure their build slots didn’t have long to wait, as by June the supercars were being shipped out of Bologna. Of the 2,884 examples that were built across the Diablo’s lifespan, we can safely assume almost every owner was satisfied with the supercar’s 5.7-litre V12, which produced around 520 horsepower and could blast its way to 200mph if you were brave enough. There were two customers who wanted more, though, after missing out on the ‘Jota’ package for the SE30. Not to be miss out entirely, these two cars were chosen as prototypes, both of which getting the addition of a supercharger that would give this bull an even mightier kick. The timing was perfect, too, as Lamborghini were considering bringing a turbocharger to the mighty naturally aspirated V12, after seeing the success of Jaguar’s XJ220 and the Bugatti EB 110.
Known as Prototype No. 56, this Porsche-derived metallic purple Diablo is one of just two vehicles sporting the supercharger, with the other one being silver. At a total cost of 200,000 Marks in additon to the price of the base car, this upgrade certainly wasn’t cheap, but the outcome saw the power figure leap to a blistering 634 horsepower. The mechanical package was developed by Lamborghini Hoecker, while the fine-tuning of the software and other hardware was handled by the Lamborghini factory.
Naturally, this modification caught the attention of some leading figures at Lamborghini, one of which being Valentino Balboni, who prompty demanded a test drive in the modified Diablo. Thankfully, after a short blast around Sant’Agata, he was deeply impressed, and considerations were made about producing a limited run of supercharged examples. Due to time restraints, though, this never happened.
Today, this Diablo is in fantastic condition throughout and is available at Auto Sportiva. Benefitting from a complete engine overhaul in 2015, this Diablo continues its quirk with the integration of McLaren F1 brakes, as well as a specially adapted engine controller and carbon intake designed specifically for the supercharger. Out of all of the crazy details, though, our favourite addition is the upgraded speedometer, which now tops out at a mind-bending 400 km/h!
Photos by Kevin van Campenhout