1996 Lamborghini Diablo SV-R | Etceterini | Profiles

31 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 1996 Lamborghini Diablo SV-R | Etceterini | Profiles

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The Diablo was introduced in 1991 under Lamborghini’s brief period of Chrysler ownership, preserving but refining its layout, smoothing out the body’s humps and bumps and improving occupant accommodations. In the middle of the ’90s, Lamborghini built 31 Diablos prepared for use on the racetrack. The race version, known as the SV-R (for Sport Veloce, Race), was for competition in the new one-marque Lamborghini Diablo Supertrophy series.

Customers could purchase an SV-R along with a season of racing. Lamborghini carried out all maintenance and repairs itself.

Built alongside the production Diablo SVs, the Rs were 191 kilograms lighter than the regular model and used OZ Racing one-piece, hollow spoke, cast magnesium 18-inch wheels with slick tires. The engine was tuned to put out 540 bhp, with the additional power mostly derived from a revised fuel injection and, for the first time ever on a Diablo, variable valve timing was used. Inside the cockpit, the SV-R is pure racecar, without any superfluous sound deadening or comfort items.

This car finished second overall in the 1996 series and third overall in the 1997 series, and campaigned at many distinguished tracks including Le Mans, the Nurburgring, Brands Hatch, Spa and Vallelunga. It was submitted for restoration after retirement from the series. All exterior, interior and mechanical systems were gone through and restored with exception of the mechanicals, which needed very little except a thorough tune, as the car had been under factory care throughout its racing career.

This Diablo was painted by well-known French artist Georges Wolinski, whose work was preserved by the manufacturing of stickers, so any future scrapes can simply be repaired. New race seats, harnesses and tires were installed, making this completely race-ready.

208 This car sold for $113,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Amelia Island auction on March 8, 2003.

More than any other car, Lamborghinis represent the haute couture of the car world. They are Armani, Klein, Givenchy, Lauren and Versace all bundled together in one tremendous piece of machinery.

I remember seeing my first Diablo roadster, at the Detroit Auto Show in 1996. It was one of the most striking cars at that venue. Painted titanium and trimmed with a black interior, it inhabited a stand near the Statue of Liberty-painted Vector, making a stark contrast of cool vs. dopey.

Diablos are quicker-than-quick supercars. One of the things I enjoy most about Carmel every August is hanging around the Diablo owners at Concorso Italiano, each topping the previous speaker with tales of outrageous driving. The cars have gotten more interesting and better looking over the years, and from what I gather, build quality, although never perfect, improved over the lifespan of the model.

But here’s the rub. Showing up at a party in the Hamptons, with your significant other wearing a year-old party dress by Krizia, may causesotto voce comments about your financial condition. Showing up in a nearly 10-year-old Diablo at a Rodeo Drive Cruise-In will generally elicit only one off-the-record response: Can’t afford a Murciélago, eh?

Now, take that one step further. This particular car was built for a Lamborghini-only racing series, designed to promote the competition prowess of the brand. (No snide comments here from Ferrari owners about Lambo finally finding a way to win-by forbidding all other cars.)

Let’s add in the current political mix. Touting a car as having been painted by Georges Wolinski, the well-known FRENCH artist (maybe famous in Montmartre, but an unknown in Jacksonville), at a time when our Congress is consuming Freedom Fries and jokes about cheap surrender-model French army rifles for sale, only dropped once are filling e-mail inboxes, means that the timing of this sale wasn’t exactly perfect.

And although art is always subjective, I would offer that the Warhol-painted BMW M1 and the Stella, Lichtenstein and Calder BMW CSLs and 320is prove you can paint an automobile and get away with the coveted prize of true one-off artwork married to a beautiful shape. I don’t think that the Wolinski Diablo is destined to be regarded in the same way.

But there are some good things to say here. First of all, the art is all plastic sticker applique, so it can be removed (and preserved in case Wolinski turns out to be the Picasso of his generation). Second, with the proliferation of club track days and private racing groups with their own circuits, the new owner will have no shortage of places to exercise his toy.

I would guess that driving this highly prepared, race-tested car at speed would be an extraordinary experience.

For the rarity and mechanical sophistication offered, this Diablo was not expensive. Will it depreciate further? If properly kept up, probably not.

It just looks too good, and goes too fast, to ever be a $75,000 car.

While it’s not the kind of car that I would put my hand up for, if the new owner ever asked if I was interested in a few hot laps around Laguna Seca at a Lambo owner’s track day, I’d have my helmet on in a New York minute.-Steve Serio

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