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Video | The Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster Was a Crazy 1990s Icon

I recently had the chance to drive a Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster, which is truly one of the most insane cars in existence. There are many, many reasons why this is, but I’ll start with the appearance: the Diablo is one of the most aggressively styled cars in history, and a Roadster version, with a removable roof, only makes it more dramatic. I just love it.

In fact, I really love everything about the look, and I have since my childhood. This makes sense because the Diablo was “my” Lamborghini, the one that was around when I was growing up, and kids seem to be attracted to “their” Lamborghini models — children who grew up in the 1980s, for instance, love the Countach, while the 2000s kids love the Murcielago. I imagine this trend will pretty much continue forever.

The main thing I love so much about the look is the rear wheel arch, which isn’t circular, but rather some ovoid shape that makes things so much more aggressive than normal. There’s also the vents in the back, the way the vertical shapes on the side of the car become horizontal at the end … the whole look. It’s mesmerizing, and I really think the Diablo is one of the coolest, craziest-looking cars in existence.

Of course, the rest of the stuff is pretty special too. The Diablo Roadster uses a 5.7-liter V12 with 485 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque — not huge numbers by today’s standards, but still a potent V12 in the back. It’s a beautiful engine, too: lift the engine lid and you’ll be thrilled to see the bull logo, mounted right in the middle, framed by all 12 cylinders.

But let’s talk about lifting the engine lid for a second, because it’s one of this car’s unusual quirks. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a roadster, which means you can take off the roof and cruise. The problem is that you can’t do this very easily. In fact, you have to unlatch the roof on the inside, then physically lift it out of place. When you finish this task, there’s nowhere in the car for you to store it — so you place it on the engine lid. I am not kidding. There are little holes on the top of the engine lid where you can put the roof, and then it locks into place, and then you drive around with this heavy roof stored directly behind you. I wouldn’t try to hit this car’s top speed with the top placed back there.

Naturally, this is only the beginning of the quirks of this crazy Lamborghini. The interior is a veritable gold mine of insanity, with basically nothing placed in an area that makes any sense. Several buttons are incomprehensible, like a black button with triangles on it that apparently functions as the interior light dimmer. I also love the fact that the airbag, clearly an afterthought, just protrudes from the passenger side of the dashboard, with absolutely no thought given to concealing it in any way.

The driving experience, interestingly, isn’t as insane as the rest of the car. In fact, it drives fairly normally — assuming you fit. I do, though it’s hard for me to look out the windshield and see traffic lights when I’m stopped at intersections. But that’s a small-time thing, and the rest of the Diablo is surprisingly straightforward: the clutch isn’t so bad, there’s decent room in the pedal box for your feet, the acceleration isn’t so ridiculously crazy that you get scared to actually drive the car. Instead, it’s surprisingly drivable, with a nice steering feel and good — though not excessive — acceleration. Visibility is atrocious, of course, but you expect that from a vehicle like this.

Probably the craziest aspect of the Diablo Roadster is its mere existence, its appearance, the way people react when they see it on the road. It’s an old-school Italian car in the truest sense, that it’s all about emotion and not really very much about practicality or logic. Frankly, that’s a lot of why I like this car, as it’s one of the last truly crazy old-school Lamborghini models — and I really wish I could pick one up, if only they weren’t such a nightmare to own and maintain. Such is the price of beauty. Find a Lamborghini Diablo for sale

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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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