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History of Lamborghini: 1994-1998


Chrysler's subsequent sudden decision to sell the Bologna company to a group of unknown Indonesian investors seems far more difficult to explain. This change of hands became official on 21 January 1994, destabilising the company management.

Despite these problems, the Diablo was developed and many collateral models were derived from it, some of which would prove to be very popular with certain consumer ranges. Some of the most interesting were the 1995 SV, a lighter and more powerful model that placed a premium on driving pleasure over comfort, and the VT Roadster with a Targa-style removable roof, which was instantly a hit, particularly in the United States. Other special editions, such as the SE, Jota, Monterey, Alpine and many others, were derived from these models. Also in 1995, Giorgetto Giugiaro demonstrated the Calà to the trade press, and this was another car with a V10 engine designed to replace the Jalpa. Interesting as it may have been, however, it never left the prototype stage. In 1996, a single-make championship was also inaugurated thanks to the organisation of a series of races to be held in Europe, with regulations similar to the ones followed by established international championships. A circuit version of the Diablo - the SVR - was made for this championship. In 1999, its on-road evolution was announced (the GT an ultra-sporty road version produced in a limited series of 83 units) as well as the circuit model for the new cycle of races for this trophy GTR, with a 6-litre 590-hp engine, produced in a limited series of 32 units).

In the meantime, Luigi Marmiroli left Lamborghini for personal reasons and Massimo Ceccarani took his place. The need to develop new models and thus to make major investments along these lines was evident. By this time, the Diablo was more than seven years old, a very long time in this difficult market.

Lamborghini turned to several top-level carmakers, including Audi, to request their technical collaboration. The initial idea was to ask for the 8-cylinder engine of the 'A8' flagship to power the future 'baby Lamborghini', but Audi's technical staff went back to company headquarters in Germany with very positive reports on the status of the company, its newfound good management and the professional level of the development work being done on its cars.

The first letter of intents between Audi and Lamborghini was signed on 12 June 1998, and the contract for the complete and definitive transfer of all the shares from the last Indonesian shareholder to the German company was completed on 27 July of the same year, just 50 days later.