Happy 30th birthday, Diablo! See the Lamborghini super sports car through the years

The diablo ruled the Lamborghini roost in the 1980s and 1990s.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

It's been 30 years since the Hubble Telescope launched, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and Tim Berners-Lee created the first web server, which created the foundation for the World Wide Web. In 1990, Automobili Lamborghini debuted the Diablo, but its story actually began give years earlier.

The year was 1985 and the Diablo was codenamed Project 132. Its aim was the replace the Countach at the top of the Lamborghini lineup. The Countach had been in the Lamborghini stable since 1974 and would end up sticking around until 1990.

Lamborghini Diablo (1990)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Legendary car designer Marcello Gandini is responsible for the clean and aggressive lines of the body of the Diablo, just as he was responsible for the design of the Countach and Lamborghini Miura. Chrsyler's design center (Chrysler owned Lamborghini from 1987 to 1994) partially revised Gandini's plans.

Gandini was unimpressed with Chrysler's revisions. Two years before the Diablo went on sale, Gandini was able to realize his true design in the Cizeta-Moroder V16T.

Lamborghini Diablo VT (1993)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

When it launched, the Diablo was the fastest production car in the world. It was capable of achieving a top speed of 203.1 mph. The car could get from zero to 62 mpg in 4.5 seconds. Diablo's dynamics were developed in partnership with rally champion Sandro Munari.

The Countach successor took was offered in its predecessor to the next level, featuring many features and equipment that are commonplace on modern vehicles including adjustable seats and steering wheel, electric windows, a high-end stereo system, power steering, anti-lock brakes, and rear spoiler. Buyers could choose to add a remote CD changer.

Lamborghini Diablo Roadster (1996)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The Diablo was powered by a 5.7-liter 12-cylinder engine that featured four overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It had multi-point electronic injection that led it to be capable of developing 485 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque.

Lamborghini Diablo SE (1994)

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The first Lamborghini Granturismo with four-wheel drive was the Diablo VT. It launched in 1993 and brought with it a number of styling changes and mechanical innovations. Among the changes was the addition of a viscous center differential. It was that merchaincs that gave the car its name. "VT" stands for viscous traction. The Diablo VT featured new front air intakes below the headlights and larger intakes in the rear arches. The car's interior was revised to be more ergonomic.

Lamborghini Diablo SV (1996)

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In 1993, the special SE30 series was presented to commemorate Lamborghini's 30th anniversary. The model received a power increase to 523 horsepower. It had enough differences with the traditional Diablo to render it unique. There was a revised front fascia that included a deeper spoiler and the raging bull emblem was moved from the front lid to the nose panel. There was just one fog lamp and one backup light. The car also featured special magnesium alloy wheels and SE30 badging.

The Diablo SV debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995. It was only available with two-wheel drive but it made 510 horsepower and had a adjustable rear wing. The car received black tail lamp surrounds, repositioned rear fog and reverse lamps, dual front fog lamps, and an extra set of front brake cooling ducts. Buyers could add SV decals to their model.

Later that year, the automaker brought the Diablo VT Roadster to market as Lamborghini's first 12-cylinder, open-roofed, mass-produced Lamborghini. The car was offered only with a four-wheel drive transmission.

Lamborghini Diablo SVR (1996)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

The Diablo SVR was made for just one year, 1996, and was designed for racing. The Diablo GTR followed in a similar vein. The company sold just 32 of those models from 1999 to 2000. The GTR was a lightweight version of the Diablo that had the air conditioning, stereo system, soundproofing, and heatproofing removed. The former two-seater had a single race seat installed, compete with a six-point seatbelt harness. A roll cage, fixed Plexiglass windows, and new air intakes were among the other modifications.

Lamborghini Diablo GTR (1999-2000)

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In 1998, Lamborghini was sold to the Volkswagen Group who soon placed the brand under the control of its Audi arm, where it remains today. In 1999, a restyled Diablo SV was revealed after design revisions by Luc Donckerwolke, the company's first in-house designer. Donckerwolke is currently the Chief Creative Officer at Hyundai Motor Group.

With the revisions, the car became capable of achieving 529 horsepower and 446 pound-feet of torque. For the first time, a Lamborghini came with an antilock braking system.

The Diablo 6.0 was a transitional model as the brand prepared to launch Diablo's successor, the Murciélago. It featured a revised front fascia that included two large air intakes, smoothed features and larger turns signals. The rear of the car remained mostly unchanged by taillight surrounds went from red or black to body-colored.

Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 (2001)

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

Lamborghini brought back elements of its past models, 18-inch OZ wheels were styled to look similar to a design that was on the Countach. Air conditioning and pedal alignments were improved.

Software updates and new intake and exhaust systems gave the car a power output of 549 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. Lamborghini did not sell the Diablo VT 6.0 in anything but a coupe body style.

The Diablo was Lamborghini's most produced car to date with 2903 units in total whenn it was replaced by the Murciélago.

Lamborghini Diablo GT at MUDETEC

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini

MUDETEC is Lamborghini's museum. It's no longer just a showcase of cars, but also an homage to the technology, from cars to production lines, that helped make Lamborghini the brand it is today, and in the future. The Museum of Technologies is located in Bologna, Italy.

Lamborghini Diablo 30th Anniversary Celebration

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Nuts & Bolts


The Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition pays homage to vintage aircraft.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the aftermath of World War I, company founder Ettore Bugatti showcased the first three vehicles made by the company that bore his name. They were race cars and Bugatti found itself at the pinnacle of the sport very quickly.

By 1930, the company would begin its relationship with the aerospace industry, first with the Bugatti 100P, which never actually flew due to World War II, but served as the inspiration for a number of patents that are filed by the company. The plane went into storage as the Second World War kicked off and Mr. Bugatti would never again work on it during his lifetime.

Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Bugatti is honoring its racing and aviation past with a new series of Chiron Sport models dubbed "Les Légendes du Ciel". The drivers who piloted the Bugattis to success in the early 1900s were often time multitalented with resumes declaring them flying aces, daredevils, and technically skilled pilots.

"Bugatti has had close associations with aviation since the company was established more than 110 years ago. Many successful Bugatti racing drivers, such as Albert Divo, Robert Benoist and Bartolomeo 'Meo' Costantini, flew for the French Air Force, the French aviator legend Roland Garros privately drove a Bugatti Type 18 to be as fast on the road as in the air," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. "It is therefore almost an obligation for us today to pay tribute to the legends of that time and dedicate a special edition to them."

Each of the new models features a special, matte gray "Gris Serpent" paint job, which is inspired by the exterior color of aircrafts from the 1920s. The color extends front to rear with high-contrast, which gloss stripe running up the center. The front wings are adorned with the "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo. The "Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge" tricolor decorates the front area of the side sills made of exposed black carbon fiber.

At the front is Bugatti's traditional horseshoe radiator grille, finished in gloss black. The grille mesh is made of laser-cut and deep-drawn aluminum, and constructed in a dynamic pattern that that is repeated on the car's leather seats. Entry lights project the edition logo on the ground at entry while "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo on the middle console inlays.

Bugatti has covered the engine with black exposed carbon fiber with contrasting white lettering. The material continues at the back where black exposed carbon fibre and a black-coated exhaust trim cover made of 3D printed, high-temperature-resistant Inconel dominate.

The car's interior is almost entirely upholstered in leather. The leather's light brown color was chosen to be reminiscent of the natural leather in early aircrafts. On the door panels there is a hand-sketched racing scene between the Nieuport 17 aircraft and a Bugatti Type 13.

The new Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition is limited to 20 vehicles. Every model is independently numbered and costs $3.5 million.

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Walter P. Chrysler stands next to his1924 Chrysler Six, the first car bearing the Chrysler name.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's been nearly 100 years since Walter P. Chrysler formed the Chrysler Corporation. In that time, the company has been merged, spilt, sold, and reborn in a variety of forms, but its roots still remain in Michigan where it is known as one of the Big Three automakers alongside General Motors and Ford.

Let's take a look back at the history of the company from its highest highs to its lowest lows, and everything in between.

The beginning

1925 Chrysler B70

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Walter Chrysler formed his namesake automotive company in 1925, when his employer, Maxwell Motor Company, was reorganized. A little over a year earlier, Chrysler's first production car, the Chrysler 70 (above), was released and featured several forward-looking innovations. The car came with a high-compression engine that had full-pressure lubrication, an oil filter, and a carburetor air filter.

An early pioneer

Early on, Chrysler pioneered several other automotive features that would eventually take over the entire industry. Four-wheel hydraulic brakes, rubber engine mounts, and more were all Chrysler's inventions. The company also developed a ridged rim for its car's wheels, which was designed to prevent a deflated tire from flying off the rim at speed. It was eventually picked up by the entire global automotive industry.

Introducing ... Plymouth

Plymouth Hotel Algonquin 1935 taxi cab

Photo by Martin Forstenzer/Getty Images

In 1928, Chrysler Corporation introduced the Plymouth brand, which was intended to be a lower-priced alternative. Early Plymouth models were rebadged Chrysler cars with small four-cylinder engines. In the photo above, a Plymouth taxicab is parked in front of the Hotel Algonquin in New York City in 1935.

DeSoto was also unveiled at this time as a mid-range model line for the group. Not long after, Chrysler snapped up the Dodge Brothers auto and truck company.

Hello, Mopar

In a stroke of genius that remains a large part of the automotive world today, Chrysler coined the MoPar brand in the 1930s. As a combination of the words "motor parts," the name is still used to describe vehicles and parts in the Chrysler-Dodge world today.

Imperial, Valiant, DeSoto

By the mid-1950s, Chrysler had spun up more nameplates to join its empire. In 1955, Imperial became a brand of its own after a run as the range-topping Chrysler model, and in 1960 the Valiant brand name came to be. In 1961, Chrysler discontinued the DeSoto line.

Chrysler in space

Saturn 1B Kennedy apollo picture

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The automaker had a hand in the space program, too. In the late 1950s, NASA contracted Chrysler to build the first booster stage of the Saturn I and Saturn IB vehicles. The Saturn 1B is pictured above on January 22, 1968 launching Apollo 5 from Cape Kennedy, Florida, to complete the first flight test of an unmanned lunar module.

The company built the pieces for the Apollo Program at the Michoud Assembly Facility in East New Orleans, which was one of the largest manufacturing facilities on Earth at the time.

The future is now

1963 Plymouth Valiant

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Chrysler's forward thinking operations continued into the 1960s, when the automaker became the only of Detroit's Big Three to use a unibody design in its vehicles. Today, most passenger vehicles are unibody designs, but it was a novel idea at the time. Around the same time, the Valiant brand was moved back as a subsidiary of the Plymouth brand (a 1963 Plymouth Valiant is shown above), and became the first production car with an alternator.

Ooh, Barracuda

1965 Plymouth Barracuda

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In 1964, the Plymouth Barracuda was introduced (shown above as a 1965 model), almost two weeks before the unveiling of the Ford Mustang. Despite being first, the 'Cuda was outsold by the Mustang ten-to-one in its first year on the market. Chrysler had also set its sights on Europe by this time, and took a majority stake in the British Rootes Group in 1964. The venture was short-lived, however, as financial difficulties in the British company forced Chrysler to sell to PSA Peugeot Citroen in 1978.

Stiff competition, disastrous results

The 1970s proved to be a difficult time for Chrysler, as it was for all American car companies. Cheaper, smaller Japanese and European cars flooded the markets, as the oil crisis drove prices through the roof and made large, heavy cars almost immediately obsolete. Later in the decade, a rush to push new models to market led to massive warranty and repair costs for Chrysler, as its Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare were hurried to market with poor construction and an even worse design.

Mr. Iacocca

1984 Plymouth Voyager

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1978, Lee Iacocca joined Chrysler as CEO after having been fired from Ford. Because of its missteps with the Aspen and Volare models, Chrysler was hemorrhaging cash at the time. Iacocca started retooling the automaker from scratch, which included many layoffs, the sale of European assets to Peugeot, and the creation of the project that would ultimately lead to the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager (1984 model shown above). The project was driven by former Ford executives after Henry Ford II denied its forward progress under his watch.

Iacocca realized that the company would not be able to survive without a significant influx of cash to turn its fortunes around. In September 1979, he asked Congress for a $1.5 billion loan, which led to the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979. The military later purchased thousands of Dodge trucks from the company, which helped it recover and avoid bankruptcy.

The K-Car and the minivan

1982 Chrysler LeBaron

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

In 1981, Chrysler released the first K-Car platform model - another rejected Ford project. The platform would go on to form the basis of several models throughout the decade (1982 Chrysler LeBaron shown above). In 1983, the first minivan was introduced, the success of which helped Chrysler repay the federal government the same year.

American Motors Corporation

The late 1980s were a consequential time for Chrysler. In 1987, the automaker was the subject of an investigation over its practice of disconnecting odometers during test drives before being shipped to dealers. The company settled out of court, but suffered a massive public relation hit. The same year, Iacocca led the acquisition of American Motors Corporation (AMC), which brought Jeep into the Chrysler fold for the first time. The Eagle brand was also created at this time.

Chrysler and Fiat Part I

In 1988, Chrysler and Fiat reached an agreement for the American automaker to be the exclusive distributed or Alfa Romeo in the United States, which lasted until Alfas were phased out in 1995. The early 1990s also saw Chrysler making a return to the streets of Europe, first with select Jeep models and then others.

DaimlerChrysler Motors Company

In 1998, Chrysler formed a 50-50 partnership with Daimler-Benz, and the automaker was renamed DaimlerChrysler Motors Company. Though it was supposed to be an even merger, Daimler-Benz was in the driver's seat. Plymouth was phased out in 2001, and the remaining auto brands went on to share platforms and technologies in vehicles that are still seen today. The marriage came to an end in 2007, when DaimlerChrysler AG sold the majority of its stake in Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management. That sale led to a shuffle in management and a new logo.

Economic downturn

A Jeep sits in front of the empty showroom at Premier Chrysler June 8, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The dealership is 1 of the 789 Chrysler dealerships nationwide that are scheduled to close tomorrow. Today the Supreme Court delayed Chrysler\ufffds sale of most of its assets to a group led by Italy\ufffds Fiat. (

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The financial crisis of 2008 cut deep into Chrysler's operations and stability. Late in that year, the company announced a 25 percent reduction in its salaried and contract workforce. Sales fell drastically for all automakers at that time, but Chrysler was particularly vulnerable after having been passed around through mergers and acquisitions over the years. In December 2008, President George W. Bush announced a rescue loan for the auto industry, which included Chrysler.

As part of a reorganization, Chrysler LLC and Fiat announced plans to form a global alliance. The agreement gave Fiat a large stake in Chrysler and led to several months of restructuring. By mid-2009, Fiat had taken a majority stake in Chrysler, and by 2014, the company we all know today had taken shape. In December of that year, Chrysler Group LLC's name was officially changed to FCA US LLC, or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


New Stellantis company logo revealed ahead of Groupe PSA-Fiat Chrysler merger

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The next chapter of Chrysler is already written. The company will become part of Stellantis, a megacorporation that brings together the holdings of FCA with those of PSA Groupe. The deal closes in January 2021.

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