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Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster




Diablo VT Roadster (#466 Made 1996-2000)
Supercar Innovation, Heritage and Exclusivity

Introduced at the December 1995 Bologna Motor Show for the 1996 model year.

For the first time in the 32-year history of Automobili Lamborghini comes a world-class open top automobile from the Sant'Agata, Italy, factory, and the first new model initiated by the new shareholders. With the 1996 introduction of the Lamborghini Diablo Roadster VT, a new benchmark for open air touring is established.

The Diablo Roadster VT clearly confirms Lamborghini's passionate commitment to preserving its heritage for quality hand workmanship and market exclusivity, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of innovative solutions and design. All of these important elements, from its innovative removable hard roof to its all-new hydraulic lifting system, are strikingly exemplified in the Diablo Roadster VT.

Throughout Lamborghini's much-heralded history, several endeavors have been undertaken to build open cars. Yet despite being very well received by the world's motoring public and press, they were never put into production. These memorable prototypes were the 350 GT Spider in 1965, the Miura P400 Roadster in 1968, and in 1980 with the Athon.

Lamborghini Style

The style of the Diablo Roadster VT is, once again, of the purest Lamborghini design and is engineered to be functional and practical while maintaining its stunning looks. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges an engineer faces with a removable hard roof is locating a place where it can be positioned when not in use. This is where Italian ingenuity and originality comes in. For the first time in such a car, the roof is positioned securely over the rear engine cover.

The dynamic style offers a brilliant technological solution that essentially creates three different and distinct visual impressions depending on the roof's positioning. It can remain in place; be removed and mounted over the engine cover; or removed entirely and stored separately.

New exterior features distinguishes the Diablo Roadster VT from the coupe, and are highlighted by:
    new angular front bumper
  • redesigned fog and marker lights
  • slightly lowered new windscreen and A-pillar
  • new doors and beveled door glass
  • all new designed removable hard roof
  • modified engine cover
  • restyled exhaust cover with Bull and VT identification
  • restyled exhaust pipes
  • all new rear bumper
  • new enlarged air intakes over rear wheel arches
  • Diablo Roadster badging
  • original new OZ wheels
  • Lamborghini shield replicated on side pillars
InteriorThe interior style maintains the user-friendly configuration of the Diablo coupe, but all new colors and materials have been selected specifically for the Diablo Roadster. High-grade leather, in particular, is abundant and is thoroughly treated to provide maximum protection against the sun and other atmospheric agents.

The comfortable driver-oriented cabin is highlighted by its precision five-speed gate and excellent all-around visibility. Full-time active climate control, power windows and mirrors, tilt-adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, customized Alpine sound system, central locking system, removable electrical cut-off and theft deterrent switch and hidden storage compartments are among the many standard features found in the Diablo Roadster VT.

The Hard Top

The completely redesigned and reengineered hard roof is made of two carbon fiber panels that are separated by insulating material. Its total weight, including locking mechanisms, is just 16.5 pounds (7.5 kg) which allows one person to comfortably lift it. Owing to dimensions, however, (it is the largest hard top available on the market) it may be necessary for two persons to easily and safely install it with minimal physical effort.

Removing or installing the roof is made easy by an over-center lock that tightly secures the pillar and roof together. From inside the cabin, the simple rotation of two levers completes the roof's secure attachment. After reversing the process and the roof is removed, the driver can either store it separately or attach it to the rear engine decklid.

Attaching it to the engine decklid is accomplished by simply inserting the front pivots into their housings, then lightly pressing on the rear part of the roof where it remains securely fixed. The roof can be quickly and easily removed by engaging an electropneumatic system operated by a safety button within the cabin. To ensure safety, the system can only be activated when the vehicle is stopped and the hand brake is fully engaged.

Lamborghini Convenience

A new feature for all 1996 model year Lamborghini Diablos is the company's innovative lifting system that hydraulically raises the front end of the car two inches (45 mm). Simply engaging the switch within the cabin provides the added clearance for everyday driving convenience. For safety and performance reasons, an electronic unit automatically returns the front to its original lower configuration as soon as driving speed exceeds 43 mph (70 km/h).

To preserve the traditional Lamborghini scissor doors, an electronic unit automatically lowers the door windows six inches (15 cm) to provide an extra margin of clearance for enhanced mobility and ease of movement. The system is activated each time the outside opening button is depressed or the inside door handle is lifted. Once the door is closed, the system automatically returns the windows to their previous raised position.

Lamborghini Performance and Safety

For Lamborghini, with style comes performance. The chassis, powertrain and powerful 5.7-liter, 48-valve, 492-horsepower, V-12 engine is identical to that of the Diablo coupe. The sculpted powerplant sits mid-longitudinally and generates 428 lb/ft of torque at 5200 rpm and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

As in all open top automobiles, the top overall speed decreases slightly when open, yet the Diablo Roadster VT remains capable of achieving 200.3 mph (323 km/h). In track testing, the Diablo Roadster VT accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. The sound of the 12-cylinder engine, together with the howl of the wind, will provide new emotions that only those who are able to experience it will be able to fully appreciate.

Viscous Traction, which was first introduced on 1994 model-year Diablos, is utilized in the Diablo Roadster to increase safety and performance in conditions of low ground adherence which would normally render the vehicle less efficient with only rear wheel capabilities.

When the rear wheels begin to lose grip, the viscous coupling incrementally transfers up to a maximum of 40 percent of the torque automatically to the front axle. This allows the Diablo Roadster VT to maintain its traditional rear powertrain performance under normal conditions, yet adds the ability to instantly transform itself into variable all-wheel drive when the rear wheels alone reach their natural limits of adherence.

The Diablo Roadster VT's semi-active suspension is standard and provides for manual or automatic settings for driver preference. Power-assisted, speed-sensitive steering as well as active and passive restraint systems are also standard. In particular for the Diablo Roadster VT, an extremely strong roll-over bar is integral with the frame, and together with the exceedingly strong windshield pillar and header rail, occupant protection is maximized.

To control speeds and provide remarkable braking, Brembo high performance racing brakes, similar to those used in Formula One racing cars, are standard. Mounted on new 17-inch split-rim aluminum alloy OZ wheels are 200+ mph-rated Pirelli P-Zero tires for optimum road handling.

The Frame and Body

Extensive research was conducted to obtain and ensure a solid structure when the roof is removed, one that parallels the classic Diablo coupe. After structural optimizations were obtained by applying modern systems of finite elements calculations, computer simulations and tests on specific rigs and test benches, Lamborghini reached and exceeded the flexional and torsional stiffness levels of the integral frame of the coupe. Furthermore, this was accomplished without affecting the total weight of the car.

As in the Diablo coupe, the Diablo Roadster VT's body is comprised of a combination of strong aluminum alloys and liberal use of lightweight carbon fiber composites. These strong composites are used for the engine cover, transmission tunnel, front decklid, rocker panel, bumpers and front and rear spoilers. The Diablo Roadster VT exceeds all crash tests, bumper and door intrusion requirements. Additionally, it already complies with the forthcoming 1997 MY regulations concerning dynamic side impact.

The Diablo Roadster VT skillfully blended the advantages of a coupe with the wind-in-your-hair excitement of an open air automobile. Unfortunately, the Roadster version of the Diablo came to an end with the final 30 Millenium Edition Roadsters being made for the year 2000.

Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster

TypeV12, Mid-longitudinal, Aluminum block, DOHC per bank
Valves4 per cylinder
Bore/Stroke87mm x 80mm
Max power492bhp @ 7,000rpm
Max torque428 lbs/ft @ 5,200rpm

TransmissionFour wheel drive
Gearbox5-speed + reverse
ClutchDry single plate 10"
Gear Ratios
1:2.31 - 60.3 mph
1:1.52 - 91.6 mph
1:1.12 - 124.1 mph
1:0.88 - 158.0 mph
1:0.68 - 200.3 mph
1:2.12 - 65.5 mph
DifferentialCentral - Viscous Coupling
FrontBevel Gear Type - Limited Slip 25% - Ratio 1:2.81
RearBevel Gear Type - Limited Slip 45% - Ratio 1:2.41

BodyAluminum alloy and hand lay-up composite materials
WheelsAluminum alloy
- front8.5 x 17 inches
- rear13 x 17 inches
Front Tires235/40 ZR 17
Rear Tires334/35 ZR 17

Front/RearIndependent front and rear double wishbones, coil springs, anti-roll bar/antidive, antisquat.
ShocksElectronic shock absorber system with manual and automatic control.

Front/rearVentilated discs, 320 x 32mm/310 x 28mm

Wheelbase2650 mm
Overall Length4470 mm
Overall Width2040 mm
Overall Height1115 mm
Front Track1540 mm
Rear Track1640 mm
Ground Clearance140 mm
Front Overhang930 mm
Rear Ovehang890 mm
Weight1625 kg

Fuel Tank26 U.S. Gallons

Top speed201.9mph
0-60mph4.0 sec
0-100mph14.6 sec
Fuel Consumption
- Highway
- City

14 mpg
9 mpg

Diablo VT Roadster Registry

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