For 16 years, Lamborghini produced the car that defined the term “poster car”- the Countach. But as the 1980s came to a close, it was time to update the model and create a poster car for the 1990s. The Diablo was their answer- unveiled to the public in January 1990, the design was clearly an evolution of the wedgy Countach but was refined to usher Lamborghini’s supercar into the 90s and beyond. Powered by a more advanced version of Lamborghini’s famous V12, the engine now displaced 5.7 liters and thanks to a modern computer-controlled fuel injection system, was good for 485 horsepower while also complying with ever-tightening emissions regulations around the world. This engine paired with superior aerodynamics made the Diablo the first production Lamborghini to have a top speed in excess of 200 mph and could run from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds.
This 1991 Diablo is a particularly special example, first ordered by Formula One World Champion, Indianapolis 500, and Daytona 500 winner Mario Andretti. Finished in beautiful Rosso paint, this Diablo was treated to a recent repaint that shows very nicely all the way around the car. As an homage to one of the Countach’s signature design elements, an optional rear wing could be fitted to the Diablo and is on this example. The 17” OZ Racing multi-piece wheels with their 5-hole “phone dial” styling is another nod to the Countach and look stunning with a polished lip, and painted wheel center.
Tan leather upholstery covers the interior with contrasting black leather on the steering wheel rim, dash and pillars. The earlier Diablos like this one, feature a large gauge cluster in front of the driver with 7 gauges to keep tabs on all of the car’s various systems- the gauge pod looks intimidating in photos but becomes easy to use once you get behind the wheel. A spartan center stack features electronic climate controls and a modern JVC stereo with Bluetooth capabilities but the original Alpine 7930 cassette player is included with the sale. The early style fixed back bucket seats look spectacular and, although they do not feature the massive side bolsters you see in more modern cars, are supportive and keep you in place during performance driving.
Behind the front seats sits the 5.7 liter V12 which is in fine form thanks to a full engine out service by marque experts High Mountain Classics of Fort Collins, CO in 2020. During this procedure, a full head rebuild with new valves, new fuel hoses, and a full cooling system service were carried out with a binder full of receipts to give the full scope of the work done. Power is sent from this engine to a 5-speed manual transmission which received replacement clutch cylinders in 2021. The underside of this Diablo is nearly spotless as well with a full dry ice cleaning carried out prior to its last sale- the process is documented on the I Am Detailing YouTube channel and is exceptionally thorough. These early Diablos are notorious for being some of the most visceral, exciting examples from behind the wheel thanks to a lack of power steering, traction control, and rear-wheel drive layout. There is no doubt that this Diablo will be a thrilling drive and you can be sure that after the recent servicing, you will be able to enjoy all of the 485 horsepower the engine has to offer.
The Lamborghini Diablo will go down in history as one of the most legendary supercars of the 1990s and these early examples are the car in its purest form and free from the Volkswagen influence seen in later examples. Additionally, that this car was originally owned by one of America’s most beloved and successful race car drivers gives it the kind of celebrity provenance any car enthusiast can get behind.