The Paris Motor Show, 6,520km from new

1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30

The SE30 hasn’t merely written a fresh page in the record books… it has also obliterated the Bugatti EB110GT, Ferrari TR and Aston Martin Vantage, and proved that Lamborghini is back in the big time…” – Steve Cropley writing in Autocar, May 1995

Thirty years after Ferruccio Lamborghini began to produce some of the world’s most exotic sports cars in his state-of-the-art factory at Sant’Agata Bolognese, how best could the company engineers celebrate that anniversary?

Quite simply, they took the already impossibly potent Diablo VT – 0-60mph 5.1sec, 202mph maximum – and made it even faster by removing every particle of excess weight, some 330lb, and tuning the engine from 492bhp to 525bhp. Even the VT’s four-wheel-drive was scrapped, as was most of the interior soundproofing, leather seats and other luxury items. Even the electric windows were replaced by fixed Plexiglas. The interior was swathed with Alcantara and carbonfibre, while many owners chose to have 4-point race harness.
 
It was the most visceral Lamborghini yet, a car that carried no Diablo badge, just a charging bull and ‘Special Edition 30’.

It was a model its fans reverentially refer to as simply ‘SE30’ and only 150 were built.

This Motor Car

Built in 1994 and displayed on Lamborghini’s Paris Motor Show stand, ‘055’ was delivered to German agent Bob Forstner in Stuttgart on 10 February 1995. Previously, it had featured in a press release from the company dated 4 October 1994, proudly announcing an increase in sales.

Its exterior shade of Verde Medio (mid-green metallic) was paired with an unusual colour designed to showcase Lamborghini’s new ‘Carte Blanche’ programme, Sabbia, a light sand. As a SE30, the interior was in Alcantara, with swathes of black on the dash contrasting perfectly with the SE30-spec white dials.

Forstner sold the SE30 to arch-collector Peter Kaus, owner of the Rosso Bianco museum at Aschaffenburg, some 50km east of Frankfurt. Kaus’s interest was sports and sports-racing cars, and he had amassed a collection of some 300, many unique models. The SE30 would be in fine company alongside Can-Am machinery and a stellar selection of predominantly Italian sports-racing prototypes.

A man of fine taste, Kaus’s Lamborghinis included the ‘Walter Wolf Countach’ and a Miura SV. Kaus closed the museum in 2006, admitting defeat in his battles with the local authorities and disposing of most of the cars soon after. A few favourites, however, were kept.

In 2014 Kidston SA brokered the sale of this SE30 to a world class Lamborghini collection. On purchase, the car was entrusted to award-winning paint and bodywork specialist Carrozzeria Cremonini (€6,161) for paint detailing, small repairs and a professional clean of the Alcantara interior. At the same time Top Motors, run by ex-factory foreman Orazio Salvioli and his son Luca, carried out a thorough mechanical inspection (€4,864) that also included new rear tyres at a cost of €1,500.

Legendary factory test driver Valentino Balboni, the man who developed the model in its day, has enjoyed an occasional run in one of his ‘own’, very special cars.

A spiritual ‘heir to the Miura SVJ’, this one-of-150 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 is an opportunity for the truly knowledgeable marque enthusiast to own one of the most exciting cars ever to bear the badge of the charging bull.