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Diablo SE30: in the middle of the history of Lamborghini Automobili

In the year in which the Bull blew out its first sixty candles, the engineer Marmiroli remembers the genesis and “behind the scenes” of the car that was born to celebrate its thirty years: a brutal, uncompromising car that hides a detail that warms even the hardest hearts.

Pictures courtesy of Luigi Marmiroli Archive

A post stamp featuring a Lamborghini Diablo SE30 alongside other models.

In 1963, Ferruccio Lamborghini set up the company that still bears his name today, and soon after presented its first creation: the 365 GTV. In 2023, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of Automobili Lamborghini, under the aegis of the Audi Group, it has unveiled the brand-new Revuelto.

Well, in 1993 - exactly in the middle of these two dates - with the then-owners of the US Chrysler, we presented the Diablo SE30 Special Edition to celebrate the 30thanniversary of the foundation of Automobili Lamborghini, as the official poster shows.

A post stamp commemorative poster featuring the Lamborghini Diablo SE30 alongside many other models.

Only 150 SEs, derived from the Diablo, were built, and were numbered with a silver plate affixed beneath the left-hand side window.

Lamborghini Diablo ES emblem special edition, car number

Instantly christened a car that was even more of a “Diablo” than the original Diablo, it became the competition version even though it was type-approved for road use. Once again with the style input of Marcello Gandini, the aerodynamics of the base car were significantly improved.

A rare photo of Ing Luigi Marmiroli with Marcello Gandini alongside a Lamborghini Diable

What changed the appearance was an original front bumper, a winged profile bonnet, the rear spoiler with an adjustable flap.

Rear wing of the Lamborghini Diablo SE30 on the CAD design screen

The innovative and unusual interiors, the same for all 150 cars, came in an egregious purple colour. The specially designed paint varied the colour shade depending on the point of observation, as shown in the pictures here.

The Lamborghini Diablo SE30 prototype front view
The Lamborghini Diablo SE30 prototype rear top view

The doors were made from lightweight plastic and had a small wind-up window like the closed competition cars. We deliberately removed the ashtray, the cigar lighter, the hi-fi and aircon systems: in our opinion, true drivers of a brutal car like the Diablo SE30 had to sacrifice comfort for performance. On the other hand, we added three major components that were typical of competition cars, including four-point seat belts that held both driver and passenger in rigid seats, making them feel at one with the car. In the event of an emergency, a protected button activated an extinguisher system, like the ones in Formula1 cars. A roll-over bar, required by competition regulations, and an electronic inertial system that cut off the petrol circuit in the event of a collision, made the car even safer.

The test driver Valentino Balboni, alongside an engineer who was recording the data, found himself involuntarily having to check (and luckily pass) the safety test. On a country road, as ever pushing the car to the limit, he ran off the road and hit a full row of pear trees. Under the disbelieving eyes of the farmer, both men got out of the car unharmed.

The over 525 HP available were hard to manage, and for this reason we adopted a brand-new TCS (Traction Control System) derived from the Formula1, which made the car stable even with sudden variations in the road hold.

The Lamborghini Diablo SE30 prototype original 525 HP engine, view of the open bay

At a maximum speed of over 330 km/h and a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration under 4 seconds, the performance was very impressive. The S.E. significantly increased the technological contents, but I explicitly wanted to add an old, poor and non-technological component, positioned emphatically right in front of the driver. In the centre of the brand-new, ergonomic steering wheel, I had a horn button, bearing the Bull, fitted, the same one used on the first Automobili Lamborghini car, the 1963 350 GTV. The button was recovered from a dusty old warehouse…

The intention was to remind the lucky Diablo S.E. owner that there was a continuity with the past that had to be maintained over time, the same mission that Automobili Lamborgini has always had: to thrill its customers.


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