2nd May 2003, 17:14

Update 16 Dec 2002:


It's been a year since my last review, and my respect for this car has only grown. Unquestionably, it does everything it says on the box. Dramatic looks, simply devastating performance.

What things have gone wrong?

Did the major service at the beginning of the year, and replaced the clutch, which was about 75% worn. Other than that, a bolt securing the gearbox to the chassis came loose and had to be replaced, and the Lambda sensors had to be changed at the end of the year.

For the potential owner, it's worth thinking about the running costs. Make sure you're comfortable with an outlay of around £10,000 per annum, plus fuel, plus insurance, plus depreciation. Don't make the mistake that these cars can be run on a budget, they can't. Well, not if you use them. :-) Tyres, brake discs and other consumables are expensive as they are high performance, 200mph rated components. I recommend joining your local Lamborghini owners' club as a great source of advice. In Britain, the Lamborghini Club UK (LCUK) is also a singular source of entertainment.

The Lamborghini factory service team are wonderful. I dropped the car in after Le Mans for a couple of mods and it came back feeling like new. They had picked up all the small items missed in the UK; adjusted the front suspension, replaced the water pump, and something in the engine I can't read in Italian. Valentino Balboni and Claudio Tommassini are immensely helpful and capable. If you are seriously running one of these cars, an annual trip to the factory is well worth the effort. And it's fun.

General Comments:

Once again, across Europe this car is in it's element. And a visit to Le Mans to see the 24 hour race in early summer provided a wonderful demonstration of it's potential. A quiet moment on Friday evening before the race found us out on the circuit with a friend in his Caterham R500. From a rolling 20mph start we floored it through the first four gears. On such a wide, high speed track the Caterham disappeared in the rear view mirror; at 140mph the the Diablo allows you to savour such a smooth, broad circuit.

It should be noted that a couple of changes to the regular spec. really helped get the most out of the SV. Carbon/Kevlar Momo race seats with six point harnesses save a bit of weight, but more importantly, enable the driver to have far greater control without (and when!) sliding around. More obvious is removing the heavy (45kg?) standard exhaust system, and the catalysts, to be replaced with a custom made sports exhaust. The flame alone out of all four rear pipes could only have added to the frenzied reception we got from the spectators trackside. That, and the glorious, thunderous noise.

Back on normal roads and a radar detector is essential, albeit illegal in France. Using a Bel 550 throughout Europe saved a small fortune. On the one occasion it wasn't on, the choice provided by the local gendarmarie for 152kph in a 90kph was a 750 Euro cash, on-the-spot fine (£515) or confiscation of the car. However, with radar detector in place, one run from Chamonix, France to North London, England, started at 6am and ended as I parked at home at precisely 3pm. According to members of the Williams F1 Team passed as they were on their way back from the German Grand Prix, the noise of the Diablo at full bore was awesome.

As for the comments by the previous poster; the whole point of the SV is that, as a pure driver's car, it doesn't have the extra weight and complexity of four wheel drive found in the VT. While all of the Diablo's are extraordinary driving experiences, it's versions like the SV, SE30, and GT that are most rewarding for the keen driver.

Lamborghini Diablo SV? It's the real thing.

Date of Entry 14 December 2002.

20th Jan 2005, 10:43

I own a 98 SV myself and agree with your comments. The "ugly" roof scoops look bad ass to me also add mucho power at 150MPH+ and the SV doesn't have 1100 lbs of useless clutch destroying boat anchor 4WD crap. I've blown away equal VTs with my SV. By the time I hit 200mph the VT was half a dozen car lengths to the rear...3 races... same results (and I have a stock exhaust compared to his aftermarket).

24th Jan 2005, 06:31

In relation to the comments above- I'm also an owner, in the uk, and you should be aware that each car performs differently- as with all 'supercars'. It simply a case of a lucky or not so lucky purchase. Also, you may have been faster on the straight roads- did you try around corners... i think you would have been some way behind..