1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
Lot 25 | Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $375,000 - $450,000
Chassis No. ZA9RU37P2VLA12622
Ever since the launch of their independently-suspended, quad-cam 350GT in 1964, Lamborghini had identified themselves as a company disinclined to follow engineering or stylistic convention. Their transverse-engined Miura and ultra-angular Countach designs of 1966 and 1974 respectively had been of critical importance to the emerging supercar movement; whilst their groundbreaking Diablo VT of 1993 was one of only a handful of supercars at the time to employ a Viscous Center Differential and associated four-wheel drive system.
However, the launch of their Diablo VT Roadster at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show proved to be arguably Lamborghini's boldest design statement yet. Based on the Roadster concept car of three years earlier, and powered by the same Countach-derived 5.7 liter V12 Quattrovalvole engine used in the standard Diablo, it aligned open-top motoring and four-wheel drive for the first time in the company's history. Furthermore, it featured a removable carbon fiber hardtop which, once detached, could ingeniously be stored on top of the car's existing engine cover via four lockable engagement points. Performance of the new car was predictably spectacular, with a 0-60 mph time of barely four seconds and a top speed of 204 mph, whilst electronically-adjustable Koni shock absorbers and sizeable Brembo four-pot brake calipers ensured that both handling and braking were of commensurate capability.
This sublime VT Roadster, one of around 200 constructed and one of only 132 believed to have been exported to the US, was completed at the fabled Sant'Agata Bolognese factory in July 1996 and finished in the eye-catching color combination of Superfly Yellow with black leather upholstery and contrasting yellow piping. Equipped with factory options including the Diablo's innovative front-end lifting system, chrome-finish OZ Racing split-rim wheels and a rear wing, the car was first sold by Lamborghini of Beverly Hills to its first owner, renowned actor Nicolas Cage on 9 January 1997.
A committed car collector and enthusiast, his collection at one time included a Jaguar D-type, a Bugatti Type 57C Atalante, and a Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder, among many other cars. Mr. Cage appears to have used “622” only occasionally; accompanying documentation confirming that he sold the car on 11 August 1999, at which point the odometer displayed just 3,302 miles. The car remained in California for a further 2½ years, covering less than 2,000 miles in the process, before being sold to an Arizona-based collector in March 2003. Remarkably, it would remain in his care for the next 19 years, until its acquisition by the consignor - its odometer still reading just over 19,300 miles - at the time of cataloging.
In 2019, this Diablo visited FMS Service of Fountain Hills, Arizona for a thorough inspection of its major components including its coolant system, fluids, belts, brakes, steering, suspension, fuel, ignition, electrical, exhaust, heating, and A/C. Following this inspection an oil change, coolant flush, brake bleed were conducted. The starter motor and A/C compressor were rebuilt at this time. The transmission was removed and this Diablo received a new pressure plate, clutch disc, throw out bearing, and new gear oil. Benefitting from a newly-fitted set of Pirelli Cinturato tires, “622” is sure to delight with spirited driving on the open road.
Further endowed with the key automotive attributes of prior - and discerning - celebrity ownership, low mileage, and enviable originality, the car is accompanied by a clean Carfax report, its original factory manuals, tool roll and emergency equipment, and as such remains a truly magnificent example of this landmark design, from arguably the most audacious supercar manufacturer of all.