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The reason why an old Lamborghini Diablo sucks

The Lamborghini Diablo was the supercar of the 90s, and they've skyrocketed in price. But I've found a beaten one – can we save it?


I have the offer sitting on my desk, but 60% of you say to keep my current M3. Stay tuned. This week, I’d like to turn your attention to a car I’ve always assumed was awesome, but with hindsight perhaps is a dumpster on wheels: The Lamborghini Diablo.

The 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster vs the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO Spyder

See the Diablo listing

See the Huracan listing

I’m too young to be a Countach fan. By the time my school book fair rolled into town, it was out of production. So instead, my bedroom wall had a black Diablo poster.

And that’s sort of stuck with me. The Diablo became the default silhouette of what a supercar should be back then – it looked like absolutely nothing else on the road. Still looks good too (on the outside, we’ll get to that), and I think it put Lambo in a hole. When VW bought them in the late 90s, they went about trying to “fix” a car that was unfix-able. Hence the facelifted version getting lights from a Nissan 300ZX.

Are newer ones better?

And when it came time to replace the car, we got the Murcielago (fine), and the Aventador (very pretty, but also just fine). They were good cars, but no where near as crazy as the Diablo. Park the three of them next to each other and see which gets the most attention.

The Aventador isn’t as radical as cars from the past.

The thing is, Diablos weren’t really known for their driving qualities – you’d be much better off in a Porsche or Ferrari. It took them awhile, but Lambo finally caught on in the smaller Gallardo and Huracan – sports cars that could actually be driven for more reasons than leading a parade.

But now, the Diablo is very expensive. Maybe going smaller is better.

The 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster

Good from far, but far from good. Photo: Cars & Bids

Something very odd happened to this car. In 2019, you could buy them for a little over $100,000. I remember this, because a friend was looking into one. He waited, figuring they’d go down in price even more.

Instead, they went up. Way up. Here’s a 97 VT (viscous traction – all-wheel drive) for half-a-million?! Driven or not, facelift of not, all seem to fetch quite a bit. This particular car has:

  • 34,900 miles – hold on this…
  • Clean CarFax
  • 5-speed gated manual
  • Gets worse from there: front driveshaft and front axles have been removed.
  • Aftermarket steering wheel, yellow paint on the instrument cluster bezel, an aftermarket head unit, and an Alpine amplifier. They look like shit, okay?
  • 5.7-liter V12, rated at about 492 horsepower and 426 lb-ft of torque
  • Front bumper, passenger-side front fog light, passenger-side side skirt, and rear spoiler cracked
  • Rear bumper misaligned.
  • The speedometer and fuel gauge work intermittently.
  • Paint bubble on the passenger-side door
  • The interior looks like it’s straight out of a Crusin’ USA arcade.
  • Currently bid to $69,420

I could go on – you get the idea. The real kicker is that one person owned this car for the past decade. Oh, the mileage? *ahem*:

The seller states that the odometer worked intermittently “a few years ago.” The odometer currently shows about 56,200 kilometers, which represents about 34,900 miles, but the total mileage is unknown.

This is truly a Talk Me Out Of It special. But given that the Diablo costs as much as a house, perhaps it’s the best way to get in on the ground floor and fix it yourself.

Or, we can skip all that..

2020 Lamborghini Huracan EVO Spyder

Nice color. Photo: Cars & Bids

It’s somewhat hard for me to feel good about Lamborghini’s smaller offerings. They are, in essence, a repackaged Audi R8. They look like an Audi inside – actually, they look like an Italian sports car if you asked an Audi engineer to draw one. That’s different from owning a thing like a Diablo.

But beggers can’t be choosers, and if you want an Italian, mid-engine V-10, well…

  • 7,500 miles, no asterisk needed
  • Two-owner car
  • Clean CarFax
  • The only mod is PPF
  • 5.2-liter V10, rated at 631 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
  • No more manual, but you do get a DCT
  • Currently bid to $221,000
Audi R8
I will always see this car. Might even be better.

And that’s it. No drama, no questions. Just a really good sports car that is fun to drive. Price is about right, as these average anywhere from the mid-$200 to $300k range. STO variants get more, but you don’t need it to have fun (and I’d get mine without a top).

Still, it is just a fancy Audi, no? Wouldn’t the Diablo give you that real Lambo experience?

Want MWS to review your car?

If you live in the tri-state area and want me to check it out, send me an email! 

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