The Hunt Was Half The Fun For The Owner Of This Rare-Spec Lamborghini Diablo VT
Photography by Marco Annunziata
If you remember the dark green Lamborghini Countach (supercharged, no less) that appeared on the site a few months ago, we are back again with another mean, green scissor-doored machine owned by the same collector, who, as you have probably already guessed, has a certain enthusiasm for cars in this color combination. This is the car that got him started on the collection, a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo VT. Given that this year marked the model’s 30th anniversary, it feels like an appropriate time to celebrate it before our calendars flip to a new year.
The VT (viscous traction) is a rare bird, and even if Lamborghini has maintained a tendency of keeping some of its production numbers a bit secret (there is no precise data on the production of this specific model), it seems that from 1990 to 2001, it’s agreed that about 400 VTs were produced out of a total of about 3000 Diablos altogether, including versions like the SE 30, SV, GT, VT 6.0, and a handful of other special editions.
This particular green slice of supercar was produced and delivered to Auto König in Anzing, Germany in May 1994. As stated in the production sheet, the color was a verniciatura speciale (“special lacquering”), with the interior trimmed in a handsome complement of champagne leather.
“I started thinking about owning a special car in 2011. I was able to make an important purchase, but even if I had some money ready, I was still figuring out what I really wanted. I liked some Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, but many other manufacturers were on my list too, back then. So many questions whirled in my head. A 2 + 2, or a coupe? What color for the bodywork and interior? And then, did I want an iconic car with a long history of loving owners, or a brand new one? During this brainstorming, a phrase of Ernest Hemingway’s came to mind: ‘It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.’
“So with that in my head, I continued my journey, making sure to take pleasure in the search itself. It ultimately came down to finding a valid alternative to the Lamborghini Countach that I couldn’t afford in those days, but I didn’t immediately land on its successor.”
Before choosing the Diablo, our collector flirted with a white Porsche slant nose, then a blue first series (no airbag) Ferrari 355 GTS, before coming back to the bulls. “Although the Countach was a dream, I never really considered the Diablo inferior to it. I always thought that the Diablo was an underrated car that was largely misunderstood and unfairly compared. It was a very special design, had an excellent engine, and was quite a rarity. One day I was reading a brilliant road test with beautiful images of a purple SE30 in an Italian magazine, and from then on I was hooked, the decision was made.”
The next step was to check what was available on the market in the spec he was after: a Diablo that wasn’t yellow or red, one that had the pre-facelift pop-up headlights, and a coupe rather than a roadster.
“I absolutely wanted a coupe! Roadsters just don’t represent me at all. Fortunately, without having any other search limits—for example the number and type of previous owners, the km on the odometer, accessories and other options—I managed to find quite a few interesting prospects, and with Hemingway’s words still echoing, I made a point to enjoy the process of visiting these cars to find the right one. No rushing, no stress.
“I will never forget my encounter with the gentleman who sold me the Diablo I ultimately chose. We did not meet in his garage, as you might expect when you go buy a car, but in the living room of his house, where the car was ‘accommodated’ in the company of some Ferraris—a Testarossa, 365 GT/4 BB, 308 GTS, and 365 GTC4 ‘Gobbone’—and a wonderful Lamborghini Countach 5000S in red. At the time I still didn’t have much experience with these cars, but walking around the Diablo, crouching in vain to check underneath it, I knew that I’d found the right one.
“The color scheme alone left me breathless from the first moment (it’s a matter of personal taste for sure, but I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t agree with me!). Lamborghini has produced very few cars in this color, and over the years since then I have personally counted just four VTs, one SV, two VT roadsters, and one SE30 Jota in the same shade.”
Immediate emotional connection aside, it was still necessary to take the car on the road to do some tests, and after he had some seat time, the two returned to the living room to start the brief negotiations that saw the Diablo VT leave its “garage” for a new home.
There were only a few options in the Lamborghini catalog at the time for the Diablo: the rear wing, a Breguet watch with the matching VIN number, air-conditioning, a custom seat for the driver, a stereo with an Alpine CD changer, and a set of leather travel suitcases specially made for Lamborghini by Schedoni out of Modena.
“My car did not have any of the optional accessories, but after a long time of searching for them, I was able to track down an original Schedoni luggage set in the United States. As for the rear wing, I don’t think it suits the Diablo very well, so was not pining to add one. The lines that were originally designed by Gandini and then slightly softened by the Chrysler team are just perfect as they are, and in an elegant combination of colors like these, such an aggressive wing is like red wine with fish—you might like it, and that’s fine, but we won’t be sharing that meal together!”
The owner went on to tell me that the car was running very well apart from some oil leaks from the gearbox seals, but having spent everything he was able to on the car, he had to drive it like this for a little while until he could afford a thorough engine overhaul.
“The car also had some minor problems, especially regarding the electrical systems, but nothing that prevented its use. So for some time I had to drive it as it was, even on long trips, but it still gave me great satisfaction. And as soon as I could, I had the Sachs system clutch that was too stiff for me, replaced with the much softer and gentler Valeo system, and then I continued with normal maintenance from there.”
In 2019 he then decided to part with his Diablo for a while and take it to his trusted mechanic to give some attention to the engine: “The Lamborghini V12 is a very solid one, and even if it had no major problems, some work was still needed to reach the potential. Only the seals and a few small pieces were replaced in the end, though. In addition to this, all parts had to be cleaned and painted. I also had an Ansa lightweight exhaust installed, on the advice of a dear friend who owned both Diablo and Countach, that lightened the car by at least 30kg! I then had the interior cleaned completely, but no parts had to be replaced. At the time, Lamborghini still used the highest quality materials. The leather is still in excellent condition. Finally, I did a restoration of the wheels, which showed small spots of oxidation.”
Speaking of the Countach, it felt mandatory to ask the owner his opinion of the two cars as they compared, to which he answered, “The Countach is more immediate, and makes you feel everything, every turn, every pebble on the road. You really feel that the throttle cable is connected directly with the engine, with no electronics between the two. It is undoubtedly harder and more demanding to drive than the Diablo, but this is its most beautiful aspect. The Diablo is another thing, it is more comfortable, there is more space for the passenger, it is less noisy, easier to live with. In short, you can drive it for a long journey without immediately jumping into the shower once you arrive at your destination. They are different cars, both with their unique advantages, but both deliver an exceptionally rewarding driving experience. To have the ability to choose is something I will never take for granted!”