04th Jul2018

A Totally American Car: 1991 GT bodied Lamborghini Diablo

by Michael Chandler

Sometimes good things just fall into your lap.  Chad’s ’91 Diablo is one of those things.


In the year of our lord, 1990, some crazy Italians using Chrysler’s money made the most glorious door stop shaped supercar to ever grace the earth: the Diablo.  Powered by a 5.7L, quad cam, fuel injected V12, the Diablo was absolutely mental.  It made 485 horsepower, and 428 lb/ft of torque.  All of that meant the glorious wedge hit 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, and topped out at 202 mph.

It was also utterly insane.  For reasons beyond comprehension, the Diablo came with a dog leg five speed manual gearbox.  What does dog leg mean?  It means that first gear is left and down instead of up.  You see this on things like the Mercedes 190E Cosworth, and other homoligation specials, not this high dollar beast.  Also, some of the cars had a SUPER tall cowl over the gauge cluster, making it a bit of a challenge for people not sitting on a stack of pillows.

Oh, Anti-lock Brakes, traction control, power steering, and airbags were non-existent on the early cars.

Mercifully, Chad Balloon white car has had a host of stuff from a later Diablo.  Specifically the 99-01 six liter cars.  It has the updated gauges, and seats.  Oh, and one other minor thing.

That sweet ass Diablo GT body!  Available only for 1999, the Diablo GT was there for 80 lucky people who wanted to die like heroes try their hand at racing.  The body is wider than the standard Diablo, has lots of carbon fiber, and had lights in different places.  And being from later car, it also had one key difference from the 1991 car it has been grafted on to.

NISSAN HEADLIGHTS!  Yes, the face lift cars ditched the pop-ups of the early cars and went with fixed headights.  Those headlights happened to be the same ones you’d find on the ’89-96 Nissan 300ZX.  It’s not a knock on Lamborghini, just a fun little tidbit that YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNSEE!

It stops as well as it goes, what with the massive Pirelli rubber on all four corners and the giant Brembos.

Chad has been going in depth with this car on his Instagram, and has some cool videos on his YouTube channel.  Check them out, and you can hear this thing in all of its V12 glory.

Here’s a gallery

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06th Feb2015

Meet Your Heroes

by Michael Chandler


Someone, somewhere once said to never meet your heroes.  They said never meet your heroes because they can never live up to the ideal you’ve built for them in your mind.  I take issue with this.  I had two posters on my wall as a kid: a Lamborghini Countach and Michael Jordan.  From everything I’ve seen and heard, MJ is a hyper-competitive guy who has taken to posterizing old guys at his basketball fantasy camps.  The Countach is impossible to drive, you can’t see out of it, reversing it requires a spotter and someone to stop traffic, and the “creature comforts” leave something to be desired.


One year when I was a kid two things happened: I saw Michael Jordan play and I saw a Countach in person.  The events weren’t related; however, if I saw MJ driving a Countach down my street my little head would’ve exploded.  Why am I telling this rambling story?  Because I met one of my heroes, the Lambo, and it didn’t change how I thought or think about it.  It’s still one of my favorite cars, flaws be damned.  My feelings would probably change if I drove it, but that would be getting to know it and not just meeting it.


The other morning I went to Cars & Coffee because I wanted to shoot photos and clear my head.  At the far end of the parking lot there was this pair of Diablos: a 1997.5 Roadster and a 2000 VT.  These were the stars of the meet, people were coming up and taking photos of and with them, Chad (owner of the green machine) was revving the motor for the children and was answering pretty much every question about the big Italians.  For some of these people, these were/are their hero cars.  And they were loving them.


Did the dog leg gear box let them down?  No.  Did the tall instrument cluster and low seating position kill the image of their hero?  Not a chance.  These people got to walk up to their hero, say hi, take some pictures and gawk at them.  None of their flaws shown through.  Were the fans aware of these “issues”? Yeah, anyone who has read ANYTHING about them knows the problems, but that doesn’t matter.  Seeing the car you had all over your wall as a kid in the flesh makes you completely ignore all of those issues.  You go back to being an excitable little kid.  It’s great.



When I was in high school I wanted two cars: an Evo (to spite Trent who had just picked up a brand new STi.  I was and am a very petty person) and a Mopar of any sort.  Challenger, Charger, Dart, didn’t matter.  I just wanted one.


When I was pulling in to park, I spotted this Challenger T/A.  I parked as close to it as I could (without parking among the cars who were there to be seen) and instantly noticed a Ford F-350 that had all of its utility modified out of it parked next to the Challenger.  The hulking mass of the diesel cast a massive shadow over the car, making a proper photos showcasing the color and graphics on the T/A almost impossible.


Then, suddenly, the Ford grumbled to life and slowly rolled out of the parking lot.  The driver’s side of the Challenger was awash in sunlight, and was being approached by the owner and a giddy passenger.  I snapped off a few frames, and then…


The owner fired it up, and let the 340 roar.  His passenger was grinning ear to ear as the mechanical noise of the trio of carburetors fed fuel and air into the motor.  I was giddy too.  This wasn’t the first time I had seen a nice Challenger, but it was nice running into one that was fanning the flames of enthusiasm in a young fan.


The posters may have come down long ago, but the kid who put them up is still alive in all of us. Weekly meets like Cars & Coffee give us opportunities to be wide eyed, excitable kids.  Wake up early on Saturday, go meet your heroes.

Bonus gallery!:

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.