A Day in a Lamborghini Diablo

The last weekend of August saw the first annual meet of Lamborghini Club Norway, a thoroughly enjoyable and valuable experience. For the Saturday drive, four Diablos, three Gallardos, two Murciélago and one Countach, accompanied by a Ferrari 308 Gr. 4 Koenig and a Porsche Boxster, set off from Gol, a popular tourist destination in the heart of Norway. I got a seat in a black-on-black 1991 Diablo with Koenig bumpers and wing — a rare bull. Three hundred kilometres lay ahead of us.

Immediately after starting our drive, I noticed that the Diablo would not give its driver an easy time. Every turn and gear change had to be taken seriously. Fully disengaging the clutch between each gear change is a necessity in cars of this caliber and age, and with the clutch operation being in the heavier end of the spectrum, it can take its toll on any set of leg muscles. The young owner had his hands (and legs) full as we turned onto the road that would take us to Aurland and Laerdal, both picturesque mountain-and-fjord tourist destinations.

At this point, I would like to take some time to describe how it is for a man of 192 cm (6′ 3″) to enter and sit in a Lamborghini Diablo. One foot in, then slide into the seat with the head held forward. Omitting the latter could result in a hostile encounter with the roof line. The last foot follows naturally, and you’re ready to pull down the door. If you have never been in a car like this before, you might be intimidated by being surrounded in all directions, apart from by the dashboard, which appears to be metres ahead of you. However, it is possible to find what could pass for a comfortable position by sliding forward in the seat and move about every now and then.

The roads varied in quality and width, causing some challenges to the lowest of the cars. We saw a few light rain showers, but the weather was mainly quite agreeable. The few tunnels along the first leg of the drive were of the narrow, unlit type, which didn’t encourage any vivid driving. However, the last tunnel before reaching Laerdal, the aptly named Laerdal Tunnel, offered plenty of opportunities to get a listening sample one would late forget. 24.5-kilometers in length, it is the longest road tunnel in the world, and at every 6 kilometers, there is an oasis of sorts, a large and beautifully lit dome, created to break the monotony. The black Diablo looked like it had just risen from the realms of doom as it soaked up the enchanting light.

In Laerdal, we received a warm welcome from kids and adults alike. Seeing the joy and thrill these cars evoke is part of what makes it all so great! We parked up in the town centre and had a delicious lunch, as one should do. Even the local newspaper got their story and photos before the rumble of Lamborghini engines once again filled the town centre. On our way back to Gol, we had a short stop at the 12th century Borgund stave church. As we once again set off, I found myself in the driver’s seat of the Diablo. The lack of head room and leg room was soon forgotten — my focus was now on maneuvering this 492 horsepower wedge along roads of varying surfaces and directions towards our goal.

“Driving a Diablo is nothing but hard work. Turning the wheel and changing gears require the strength of a heavyweight champion. You won’t be able to see where you’re going, let alone where you’ve been.” These were some of the conceptions I had in the back of my mind as I began putting kilometres behind me. One by one, they evaporated, clearing the ground for driving pleasure, rewarding feedback and heavy smiling. There are no filters in an early Diablo – you feel everything that is happening. On uneven surfaces, the wheels tried to drag me into the wilderness, but a firm grip on the steering wheel kept me in charge. I was the master of this creature from the dark side, and I was having a blast! The V12 was only happy to oblige when my right foot sent the invite, and the rev counter could might as well have been a decibel indicator.

The road back to Gol, this time via Hemsedal, one of Norway’s most popular ski resorts, took us over high mountain landscapes, reaching 1137 metres above sea level at the highest. The Diablo performed flawlessly, leaving me with a sense of mastery. I had by no means tested its limits, partially because the owner was sitting next to me, but mainly because it would have been plain idiocy on these roads in a car I wasn’t familiar with. However, given the right amount of experience and the right roads, I have no doubt that the Diablo would reward in buckets.

After some 70 kilometres and an hour behind the wheel, I reluctantly gave up my seat and slid into the passenger seat again. However, I guess one could compare it with having to quit eating strawberries and start chewing chocolate (or the other way around) – it was all good. I was grateful for the day in the Diablo, both as a passenger, but mainly for the valuable time and distance I saw as its commander. The Diablo will always remain a beast, but what a delightful beast it is!

This article was first published on lovecars.com.

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