The goal for the Lamborghini Diablo was to top the Countach - its immediate predecessor. To do so it would need to be pretty special. Hence the fact that Marcello Gandini was entrusted with the styling. He fulfilled his design brief to perfection. From the projector headlights - inlaid into the car's cute snub-nose - to the four-barrelled exhausts at the back, the Diablo screamed classic Italian supercar. Lamborghini's answer to the Ferrari F40, the Diablo had all the allure of that automotive masterpiece. Diablo materials were state-of-the-art ... a carbon-fibre-strengthened chassis, clad in aluminium and composite-plastic body panels. Chrysler spent a cool £50m on Diablo development.
But, there was more to the Diablo than a stunning shape. For a roadster, performance was off the clocks. The 5.7-litre V12 maxed out at 492bhp. Top speed was a gargantuan 202mph. That made it the first production Lamborghini to attain that mythical figure. Diablo is Spanish for 'Devil' ... and the Diablo was nothing if not tempting! Torque was colossal - 428lb-ft of the stuff. Lamborghini had taken the incredible Countach engine - and improved it. Bigger and tidier, it was now catalysed and sequentially fuel-injected. The Diablo hit 100mph in second gear.
They say the devil has all the best tunes ... and their were to be several variations on the Diablo theme. SV, SV-R, Roadster and VT versions duly appeared. There were both 2- and 4-wheel drive models to choose from. The biggest beast of all was the limited-edition Diablo SE30. It topped out at 210mph. 0-60 came up in 4.2s. But, for all the Diablo's power, comfort was not compromised. Ergonomics were expertly-crafted. Adjustable suspension was an arm's length away. Interior trim was impeccable. The sole flaw was a lack of luggage-room. But, when the choice is between storage space - and a voluptuous V12 - most drivers would not take too long to make up your minds. After all, Lamborghini did not build the Diablo to lug stuff about. They built it to push the boundaries of design and science.