The first ‘new’ model to emerge from Sant’Agata since the Audi take-over was an SV version of the Diablo Roadster, it would have been commercialized to make open-top driving a Lamborghini a little more available to the public.
The SV Roadster was set to be sold at a lower price than the Diablo VT Roadster, just like the Diablo SV was the ‘less expensive’ Diablo in the range.
Probably the SV Roadster would be positioned between the SV Coupé and the Diablo VT type, since for some strange reason the rear-wheel drive Diablo had been canceled for the 1999 production year.
The SV Roadster was just like the SV Coupe, a stripped down version of the normal VT Roadster, the suspension geometry was simplified, but the full system would still be available as an option. Also the rear wing wasn’t standard, but remained a rather expensive option, available either color coded to the car or in a clear Carbon Fiber finish.
Another option was the custom made Lamborghini suitcase-set, finished in the finest leather available, matched to the color of the interior of the car the set was ordered with.
Naturally the Diablo SV Roadster prototype seen here used alcantara for the seats, but on special order you could have leather upholstered seats or even specify race type bucket seats with four-point seat belts.
As usual for Automobili Lamborghini SpA, any color you like could be used on the bodywork, but the factory still tried to keep everything rather normal by suggesting an already very vast palette of colors available, like the flashy orange bodywork of the prototype on the picture.
Shortly after this car was presented on the Geneva Auto Show, the Audi management of Automobili Lamborghini SpA decided not to actively commercialize the Diablo SV Roadster, although several demands were already made by the US importer. The SV Roadster was never put into real production but strangely enough some do exist, the factory actually built a couple of prototypes, some even with the 1999 redesigned headlights, but they never actually put it into production. The US-distributor at that time requested a Diablo SV Roadster for their market but after Audi took over, all the rear wheel drive only projects (SV) were canceled.
However, the US-distributor did custom built some SV Roadsters themselves in the United States by doing exactly what the factory would do; remove the front drive shaft, front differential and the front half shafts, this would lighten a Diablo VT Roadster by 250 pounds and according to people who actually drove these modified VT Roadster, they were real fun to drive.
A Lamborghini Diablo SV Roadster still remains a very rare car, only a handful were ever built, some sources state only 6 SV Roadster were made by the factory, with only two RHD models, one of which was severely damaged during a crash.
Note that most of these SV Roadsters were 1999 models, only the orange metallic prototype and a yellow car were 1998 models, the other cars were all based on 1999 specification models.