Could It Be Real? 1994 Lamborghini SE30 Yard Find

Reader John C recently spotted a bright yellow sports car parked in someone’s yard, so he decided to have a closer look. That’s when he realized it was a Lamborghini, or at least it looks like one. To be more specific, it appears to be a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30. They only built 150 of these 30th anniversary specials, so it seems unlikely that it is the real deal, but you never know. He sadly was unable to snap any photos of the interior or engine, but he said he could see a big engine through the slot in the back. More photos of his roadside sighting below!

I’ve seen some very convincing Lamborghini style kit cars over the years, but they always have a flaw or two that gives them away as a fake. At first glance, this one looks correct, the door gaps look nice and the body panels aren’t wavy. However, I think I found a few issues that prove that it’s a fake. For one, the rear brake vents should have slates and the engine cover is that of the Jota edition SE30 (an even faster version of the Diablo). It seems even more unlikely that someone would have parked one of the 15 Jotas built in their yard, then again between having 595 horsepower and not being street legal, their usefulness is somewhat limited. Also, take a look at the fuel filler door, it’s in the wrong spot.

To be honest, I’m actually really impressed with this field find. If it is a kit, it’s one of the better ones I’ve ever seen. Of course, I’m no Lamborghini Diablo expert, so I will let those of you with more knowledge weight in on what exactly it is. I want to thank John for sharing his sighting with us!

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  1. Milt

    Who lets this sit in their yard like this? This isn’t some worthless econo sh!tbox. Stolen? Some kind of weird grey market car with paperwork problems? This thing should have been sold long ago.

  2. Carnutdallas

    Well Done Replica.

  3. Robert

    Those head lights sure look like Nissan 300ZX lights.

    • clex2

      They are 300ZX headlights………..which are also on the real Lamborghini.

  4. Paul

    Front slats in the bumper air intake and visible screws on bumper indicator not right?
    It is a good one though!

  5. Paul

    Visible headlights too ..

  6. Fred W.

    Couple of years ago, I spotted a Gullwing Mercedes sitting next to a body shop in my small town. Called that big dealer by the same name, the one with the “spotless reputation” that offers a finders fee. Never heard back and the car disappeared. Later I found they had made replicas, so I assume that’s what it was. But who knows?

  7. Rock On Member

    This is probably a kit car made from a Pontiac Fiero. Dime a dozen.

    • JamestownMike

      Does that look like a Pontiac Fiero windshield to you? Looks like a really nice kit car to me.

  8. JamestownMike

    Are those Nissan 300Z headlights??

    • Enzo

      For the last version of Diablo they did use 300zx lights for the front fascia.

      This is not period correct for 1994

      • J. J. Hubbard

        And to add to the fact that they are 300ZX lights, the giveaway is the fact that it does not have the vinyl cover on the top part of the headlight to cover that it is a Nissan product. This is what Lamborghini did to pass the headlights off as Lamborghini headlights even though they were borrowed from the 300ZX

  9. Marc D

    Interesting find, I looked over all the photo’s of the Diablo and it looks like the fuel cap was moved up from the quarter panel to the panel behind the rear side window, and the headlights look like the factory ones, and might just weight less then the hidden ones, besides, the EU banned retractable headlights (one of the reasons the Corvette went to fixed headlights). This could be the real deal, shame it sits outside……

  10. DRV

    Somebody spent a boatload of money if this is a kit. One look inside or the engine bay would tell the truth. Imagine the cost of building it so the windows would fit etc.

  11. DRV
    Looks right excepting the gas cover…

  12. redwagon

    if anyone could search the massachusetts license database for the last time “82V P” was registered we may be able to find out what it is.

    just sayin.

    • Michael

      What about the 2 characters after the P that have been crudely Microsoft Painted over?

    • Clinton

      I was thinking the same thing. There is a website for auto parts that will allow you to search year make and model by license plate number. Handy you know for fleet managers with about 2 dozen white trucks.

    • SamM

      82vp doesn’t come up in a search,,

  13. joeinthousandoaks

    I believe that Lambo actually used 300ZX headlights in the Diablo. This is a well executed copy. Look at the rear lamps and the emblems in the back. The 30th emblem is where the Bull should be and there is no bull. The rear wheels appear to have a deeper dish than the factory car, probably to compensate for the narrower drive train in the donor car.

  14. Bobsmyuncle

    Side markers, front grills, brake stakes, fuel filler…

  15. Dave Wright

    To me, the problem with owning a great classic is there are so many frauds on the road, nobody knows a real one when they see it. I sold my 55 Speedster just as they started to make phonies…….now, you just assume when you see one that it is a phonie.

    • Rob S.

      Same thing with those Eleanor gt500s’. I have a real 67 GT500 and whenever I take it out MOST people come up and say nice “Eleanor”. When I tell them is the real thing they look at me like I’m from mars. Drives me nuts!

      • PAR

        Man there are some knobs around. Who the hell cant tell the difference between an ‘Eleanor’ and a GT500 (you lucky bugger)! But we must concede that 70% of people would have no clue, put gas in one end and turn the key, ohhh thats a pretty colour…..doh…….

        Drives me nuts too, but hey, they are the ones missing out.

      • San Jose Scott

        Have been in a few “Eleanors” and one GT500. None of the created cars were able to capture the animal nature of the GT500. Since better is subjective a better GT 500 can be built. An original cannot.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      One should ask themselves why they care if a car is real or not.




      This car’s performance would be lack luster these days. So that would be a weak argument. Additionally the performance of a ‘fake’ often exceeds the original.

      Investment value is a good reason but now you don’t own a driver, which makes a ‘fake’ a better choice for enjoyments sake.

      If it’s design is beautiful and one can’t be deciphered from the real thing than who cares, beauty is beauty, badge be damned.

      Now if it’s status one seeks, I can see how one’s pride might be shattered admitting over and again that the car isn’t real.

    • Tony, Australia.

      In Australia in 1971 Ford produced the XY GTHO phase 111, (supposedly the fastest production car in the world), so all of the wannabes went out and tricked out their 71 Falcons to make them look like the GTHO. The saying goes that Ford built 400 GTHO’s and there’s still 600 of them on the roads today !! A genuine one just got passed in at auction at $500,000, we don’t even give them a second look because you don’t know if it’s original which spoils it for the genuine ones.

    • tugdoc

      I have a friend that has a Morgan, his vanity plate reads “NOTANMG”!

  16. Joeinthousandoaks

    True. I know a guy who won’t take his speedster out because everyone assumes it’s a replica.

    • PAR

      Shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks. We are car guys & gals, its all about what we get out of the experience whether it’s the drive, the handling, the tingle you get through your left buttock cheek when you pull .95g in a fast corner. For me it’s all of the above plus the asthetics and the beauty thats been created for me to enjoy and care for. It’s a real shame your buddy leaves his car parked because of what other people think, who gives a shit, it should be all about the experience for him, and how it makes him feel. I really hope he gets back into driving his beautiful machine and forgets the haters! Cars Forever!!

  17. E55

    Badge should be on hood, not bumper.

    • DRV

      Badge should be in the bumper like all of the originals show.

  18. MIkeG

    JETHRO! I told you to stay away from them fancy ITALian sports jobbies!

  19. L

    Fake or real, still looks good and I would still drive.

    • Tony, Australia.

      L, you’re right take it out and drive it and let the so called experts try to work out if it’s original, to the rest it’s just a really cool looking car and deserves attention everywhere it goes. I’d buy it in a heartbeat if it was for sale, perhaps John C could find out for us, if it is let me know, I’m serious.

      Like 1
  20. Paul

    The more you look the more you spot … shut lines on the front bonnet (hood)

  21. glen

    I searched Diablo images, there are several differences between the different models. Some pictures show hideaway headlights, others are like the ones on this car, both are supposedly Jotas. I noticed different styles of rear brake air intakes, also, so I’m confused!

  22. John

    No idea if its real or fake, but the windshield wiper is a work of art — sure looks Italian to me, expensive and fragile. Some of the early Lambos often looked like kit cars to me. After the Miura, Lamborghini seemed like it had lost its way. I’d not be at all surprised if this was the real deal.

  23. Brysn

    Who takes pics well up into someone’s yard and doesn’t knock on the door or go back to try again!

  24. TechnoHippie

    Most of the better kits actually use a few real Lambo parts. Odds are of course that this is a kit – there are a lot more kits than real ones. A lot of these kits do use the Fiero tub – but there are some that use a custom tube-frame chassis. Get one of those with a LS7 V8 in it backed up by a ZF or Porsche transmission and you end up with a car that is arguably better than the real deal. Probably just as fast as a real one but doesn’t cost you a small fortune to keep it running.

  25. Red'sResto

    As long as 95% of the people you meet on the street think it’s real….

  26. Michael thomas

    I usually can spot a kmart kit car a mile away. Even some of the best have little areas that just do not look correct. If this is a kit, it has got to be one of the best I have ever seen. There are little things different ,but the real cars are all hand made and are all not the same. I would love to have this one to make streetable even if it is a kit. I love the color.

  27. John

    Those side windows would be very hard to do on a kit car, as would the mirrors and windscreen. I suspect this is a real thing. It is easy to imagine a person stretching to buying one of these and then being unable to afford the $15K annual maintenance expense. It’s easy to see how a broken transmission or a seized motor could result in a very stylish and very obsolete lawn ornament. And if the car had been used for collateral (bail money?) it’s also easy to see why it couldn’t be sold. We had a neighbor who had an Indy Car (offenhauser type) in his garage. It was beautiful, expensive, and completely and totally useless. It was also unsaleable.

  28. JimmyJ

    Looks real to me granted 30 yr badge on wrong side and no Lamborghini badge
    Maybe the guy that took the pics can sneak back in for an interior shot? U can always see the fiero from the inside shots.

  29. DG

    Usually what gives away a fake is the body porportions mimic the donor chassis and not the real car. This looks like a real Diablo. Its bizarre that’s where its kept. I wonder if the engine/tranny is blown.

  30. cidevco

    Well kids… John C needs to go back and talk to the owner. It looks correct to me and I cannot believe that this car looks like it does. If it is original be prepared to spend a little, but if you could get this restored you will have something to enjoy and resell when you get tire of climbing over the interior roll cage. John we need you…. Please follow up!!!!

  31. SamM

    I have to say, I’m sceptical. That said, I can’t really see anything that screams kit. At first I thought the tail lights were wrong,, but some had them like these. Then I thought the cowl looked too thick to be right, and so on. Then I looked closer at the right rear corner,, looks like little dents in the body and the bumper,, fiberglass doesn’t dent. Conclusive proof,, no way, but food for thought. The only thing I have concluded from the research is period lambos sure LOOKED like kit cars

  32. Graham

    Perhaps its just the quality of the photos…..but is the mini opening window on the drivers door missing? Would that be a clue towards it being a kit?

  33. Paul

    There have been a long list of things spotted indicating it’s a kit car?

  34. comatoes

    Unhappy divorce settlement . Real or kit …….

    Like 1
  35. comatoes

    If they leave that outside imagine what’s in the garage !!

  36. Brakeservo

    Speaking of real exotics, for years there was a 1956 Ferrari 500 Testa Rosa wrapped up in a blue tarp and parked in a backyard on Olive Avenue in Burbank, California. It was chassis 650TR or was it TR650 ?? It was eventually sold at a Rick Cole auction in Monterey and has been fully restored and is the former John von Neuman/Pete Lovely car featured on the official poster for this year’s Laguna Seca historic races.

  37. Rick

    Here is a video of this exact car, it’s a Fiero kit car.

    • Mike H. Mike H

      Rick, that’s an awesome find! Plate matches up with the featured car.

      In the video, besides the raspy exhaust note, does anyone detect what sounds like a really rough metallic hammering noise? Bad wrist pin(s), perhaps? Would explain why it sits, looking like it does.

  38. dirk sichveland

    This article and comments are fascinating to me. I hope to hear the real truth about this car someday!

  39. Dt 1

    I think someone’s try to pull a fast one

    • Tony, Australia.

      I don’t care if someone is trying to pull a past one, dammit I want me one of them things and I don’t care if it’s a kit or not, it’s just plain outright cooooool !

  40. joeinthousandoaks

    Well Rick, that ends that. I think for the time and money put into a Fiero I could easily buy a real one.

  41. Mark J

    94 had flip up headlights

  42. Josh

    That’s a kit car on a Fiero, SE30 did not have open front head lights only the 1999 -2001 had the Nissan lights with a Carbon cover.The rear brake and turn signal lights are wrong (They could have used the correct lights for under $300) looks like they are from a truck. The engine cover is to square in shape and its wrong. The front bumper is off. Over all its OK there are better replica out there. What will really distinguish it from other crapilla is the interior and suspension and brakes. Engine more then likely could be anything from a fiero 4 banger to a LSx v8 and very few even have a BMW v12. Unfortunately even for a crapilla it should be better taken cair off. SAD!!!!!

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