It’s 1996. Jurassic Park has made dinosaurs cool again. The Lamborghini Diablo has been very effective at terrifying everyone and hiding the fact hat it has Nissan headlights. Zagato has taken the Diablo, removed the safety systems, and supplied the power of a 5.7-liter V12 into the hand of one lucky customer through the knob of a six-speed manual.
Things are good.
Fast forward to today, and that special one-off Zagato Diablo VT is for sale via RM Sotheby’s. Called the Zagato Raptor, it debuted at the 1996 Geneva Motor Show with eyes on a limited production run that Lamborghini would soon back away from, leaving only one double-bubble-roofed car.
Zagato threw away the Diablo body (and likely burned the Nissan headlights) and replaced it all with a tube-frame smothered in a custom carbon fiber body, hinged at the rear to reveal the 5.7-liter Lamborghini V12. The body was also cut and hinged at the front, with the entire forward section pivoting out to open the cabin for entry, removing any conventional doors. It’s a canopy. That’s what you want.
On top of that, literally, was a removable roof featuring the signature Zagato double-bubble design.
The all-wheel drive Diablo VT the Raptor is based on was known for its improved handling over previous rear-wheel drive Diablos, and the Raptor was rounded out with a six-speed manual carried over from the donor car, magnesium wheels, Alcon brakes, and no ABS or traction control systems, unlike the Diablo. In total, weight savings amounted to around 300 kilograms, or roughly 660 pounds. (Lamborghini claimed the Diablo VT weighed in at around 3,580 pounds if you’re curious.)
The car was apparently sold for a song at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show, with old-school Lamborghini fanpage LamboCars claiming it went for a bit over $200 grand. It was last displayed at Pebble Beach in 2008, 11 years ago, and the Sotheby’s listing comically suggests “full mechanical servicing” after purchasing for a car listed at between $1 million and $1.4 million. Can’t imagine the price if the seller bothered to condition it beforehand.
There was only one Raptor produced due to worries from Lamborghini that the upcoming (but ultimately never produced) 1999 Lamborghini Canto’s design was too similar.
(I see their point).
If you want this special alcantara bathtub moonlighting as a one-off supercar from one of the best and most consistent design firms in the industry, it hits the block on Nov. 30 in Abu Dhabi. I’m sure you could call in if you’d rather avoid the extended travel to get there.
Or if you’d rather wait until someone vacuums the car out for you after you buy it before you check it out for yourself.