Lamborghini Diablo – Pontiac Fiero GT – Kit Car Magazine

10 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Lamborghini Diablo – Pontiac Fiero GT – Kit Car Magazine
Lamborghini Diablo

Lamborghini Diablo

– Orange Crush

When shopping for a kit or replicar to build, how do you decide on which one to go with? For Chuck Gibson, who owns more than a dozen vehicles of all sorts of makes (including an Everett-Morrison Cobra), the decision was a little easier. Even with his personal collection bulging with unique vehicles, he really wanted a Lamborghini Diablo.

But Chuck, who runs a demolition company near his home in Pearland, Texas (just outside Houston), didn’t want just another car that would sit in the corner of the garage and gather dust. He wanted a dependable driver, and he set out to have a car built to his standards. After finding a builder, Gibson thought he was on the right track, but when it took longer and longer to get anything done on the car, he began looking for another shop to do some of the custom touches he wanted on his car.

Gibson visited several shops around the country, but it wasn’t until he found Italian Designes on the Internet that the ball started rolling in the right direction.

Italian Designes, located in Claremore, Oklahoma (www.italiandesignes.com) is owned by Kelly Hays, and Kelly was advertising a Diablo chassis for sale on the Net. Gibson called Hays, the two hit it off, and the pair soon realized they had the same vision for Chuck’s Lambo. Gibson yanked the unfinished project from the first shop, and soon delivered it to Hays’ facility.

Italian Designes operates out of a 2,400-square-foot shop, which is next to a 4,800-square-foot office and entertainment facilities for their customers. (Hays offers the use of their guest suite when customers visit the facility during the build process.) With over 20 years of experience in building custom cars (from ’55-57 Chevrolets, Corvettes, Sixties musclecars, street rods, and Lamborghini replicas), Hays believes the difference is in the details (not only in the fit and finish, but in form, performance, and function, too).

Gibson found that Italian Designes strives to make their customers happy, and they invite clients to come visit the facility to get to know them first-hand. Gibson did just that, visiting his car sometimes twice a month so he and Kelly could discuss how Chuck wanted each aspect of his car’s design to look. Having owned a few musclecars himself, Chuck was familiar with the build process, but was surprised, because the extra work needed to complete this particular kit.

The scissor doors with fully functional door glass and locks are a little tricky for the first-time builder, but something Italian Designes has become proficient at doing. The mid-engine application is typically more costly and challenging than a front-engine car to build, but on the plus side, no other car compares to the attention level or celebrity status of the Lamborghini.

That makes building a Diablo the top of the game as far as skill goes, and you soon find out there is nothing kit about these cars because each is hand-built and custom-fabricated. Chuck believes that’s why 90 percent of the Diablo kits never seem to get finished or finished correctly.

Some of the work that had already been done to the Diablo was removed (such as the rollcage), as Kelly and Chuck completely redesigned the car from nose to tail. The body started off as an older DR body, and it would soon be fitted to one of Italian Designes’ chassis. An IFS/IRS setup (with coilover shocks on each corner) from Held Motorsports went in, and after some body panels-belly pans, really-were bonded to the chassis, so the only openings are for the suspension and the engine.

Lamborghini Diablo

Gibson had a lot of ideas of how he wanted to alter the exterior design of his ride, and Kelly, along with Italian Designes’ Rex Roberts, was able to make it work. They cut the back out of the car and glassed in new taillight buckets and modified the grille openings (under the taillights), which gave the car a more updated look of the 6.0 version. All of the scoops on the car are fully functional and serve a purpose.

For power, a LS1 engine was installed (mated to a Porsche 915 transaxle), which uses a LS6 intake and injectors. The intake is turned around backwards and the engine breathes out the back like on the real car. It uses a BBK throttle body, which receives air through a custom air box using KN air filters, and the airbox is fed through the scoops found on the lower quarter panels.

The engine compartment itself is boxed with aluminum, then textured and painted to match the engine cover. The engine cover is from Lambostuff.com, and is actually several pieces that were taken from a mold of a real V-12 Lamborghini. The center cover, plenums, gaskets, throttle bodies, injectors, plug wires, and valve covers are part of the engine cover set.

Italian Designes then made the coil-pack covers, which look like they’re part of the valve cover assembly (they hide the coil packs and the real plug wires as well as the exhaust tubes).

The car’s suspension utilizes an air-ride system on the front (using a ShockWave setup) that raises the car about 8 inches to get over the larger speed bumps. This is monitored by the replica gauges on the dash that detail the airbag pressure. Another unique feature is the backup camera that was mounted under one of the taillights. It provides vision on a 7-inch DVD player in the dash (helpful when backing up the car).

The interior is two-tone leather and is complemented with a carbon-fiber center console and dash trim.

Up front, a roadster-style bumper was installed, and Gibson requested the turn signals be flush-mounted. Turing up the wick at the shop’s custom department, Hays used turn signals from a Grand Am and molded them into the bumper. The side marker lights usually found on the side of the bumper were filled and replaced with the European side marker lights, which were frenched into the front fender.

The headlights are true Xenon lights from Europe and cost $1,600.

The rest of Chuck’s Diablo is very accurate in comparison to an original Lamborghini. Part of that is due to the fact Italian Designes uses real emblems, lights, door handles, latches, and factory decals to give a very authentic look. The performance of this car has been owner-tested past 150 mph, and Chuck reports no air leaks and a tight operation.

Though the car hasn’t been professionally tested on the track or on the skid pad, both Kelly and Chuck are confident their Orange Crush will perform well. But even more important to Chuck, he got the car he wanted and is happy to drive it wherever and whenever he can!

Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
Lamborghini Diablo
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