The first completely new Lamborghini would be the Lamborghini Stella, a direct competitor to the replacement for the Ferrari F360 Modena, which will be ready by springtime 2000.
The Lamborghini Stella should be presented at the October 2000 Paris Auto Show, if the press release is correct of course, most likely the production and presentation will be delayed as usual.
Mr. Ferdinand Piëch completely dropped the Cala prototype when Audi took over, the Cala was almost ready for production when he stepped into the picture, Mr. Piëch and his team of engineers decided to completely redesign this 'small' Lamborghini, to be able to use as many parts as possible from the future Audi S8, including the four-wheel drive 'Quattro' system and the V-8 engine.
A few months earlier, at the end of 1998, Mr. Piëch stated Audi wouldn't interfere with the Lamborghini designs, and surely no parts would be used by the new 'baby'-lambo, but early in 1999, a new press release stated differently, as we can all read above, Lamborghini was free to use any technology from Audi.
Apparently the V-10 engine was gone, and the 4.2 Liter Audi V-8 would be used to power the Jalpa successor, naturally, this way Lamborghini didn't have to design a V-10 engine of their own, but I could imagine a slightly modified Viper V-10 being used in the Stella, Lamborghini did help design it after all.
During an interview with Mr. Piëch in February 1999, he did however change his statement, and Lamborghini would design a new V-8 engine, based loosely on the original Jalpa engine, to power the new Stella, the V10 engine was at that time being tested in the Canto prototype, a design destined to replace the Diablo during 2000.
As we can see on the first drawings of the Stella, the overall look was a little less rounded than the Cala, with big side intakes starting at the doors and fixed headlights, looking very similar to those used on the Cala in fact. This new design incorporated a small rear spoiler, which would move up or down as speeds increase or decrease, a feature, which was often seen those days and all started with the Ferrari Mythos prototype and was widely, used by Porsche during that period.
The wheels would use a completely new design too if we can take the drawing as an example of things to come. Nevertheless, this brown metallic drawing was only the first attempt back in 1998, later the drawing at the top of this page was made, and the angular lines were a little less apparent, everything received a more rounded look, which suits the car better I personally think.
When we compare the Stella with the Cala, the Stella looks less a dream car but looks more like a production car, the overall impression is less fragile and more practical. Don't get me wrong, the Cala looked awesome, but getting it on the road would need some changing, the glass part of the roof isn't street legal all over the world, so this would be replaced by a Carbon Fiber or other lightweight piece.
These first impressions didn’t show a targa-style roof section, but I personally think it would be a big mistake not to build an open Stella, after all Ferrari will propose a closed coupé, a GTS type and most likely even a complete Spyder model like the Ferrari 360 Modena Spyder shown at Geneva in March 2000, so Automobili Lamborghini SpA will have to do the same for the Stella.
It would be a very good idea for Lamborghini to build a second car next to the Diablo or the Canto, this way more people can enjoy the feeling of owning and driving a real Lamborghini, and don't have to be seduced by building an underpowered replica.
Below you can find an edited image of the Stella, representing the Roadster version, it is not an official rendering however, just my personal editing of the original. It shows you how the open top might look.
Lamborghini opens new building designed for the development of prototypes and pre-series
(added on July 6. 2012)
The Diablo successor had a very impressive evolution
(added on February 27. 2005)
Some of the most important Lamborghini prototypes by Bertone were recently sold at auction.
(added on May 29. 2011)
It has taken Lamborghini some years to get the successor to the Gallardo ready, and over that period of time a lot of prototypes have been photographed
(added on September 1. 2014)
Check out these very early Huracan design sketches, some date back to 2009 in fact, several scale prototypes were built too.
(added on September 4. 2014)