Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						Lambo Limbo A2
Lambo Limbo

Lamborghini Diablo Replica

Story by Steve Temple

Photos by Steve Temple and Mike Soule

Persistence pays off. We’ve heard all sorts of stories about various replica projects, but one thing’s for sure, the old marketing ploy that you can build your own exotic in a couple weekends with a few simple hand tools is a complete fallacy.

Mike Soule speaks from experience. He spent nine — count ‘em nine — years on his Lambo replica. The story goes deeper than the actual buildup, though, as he bought and sold different bodies and a stretched Fiero frame before settling on a custom-built frame from American Supercars and a body from IFG. Unfortunately, neither of those companies are still producing these items, so this feature is more of a reality check — an object lesson about overcoming various hurdles. You see, Mike built this car in his home garage and had to come up with all sorts of clever solutions to the problems he faced.

“The whole thing was a challenge,” he admits. “It was a massive scavenger hunt. I must have spent 1,000 hours on the internet to find all the parts I needed.”

Fortunately, the chassis came with custom control arms, so all he had to add were QA1 adjustable coil-over shocks with single-dial adjustment. But power steering wasn’t included, so he figured out that a rack from a 1997 Firebird Trans Am would work.

“There isn’t any instruction manual, so I had to fabricate everything.” More about that shortly, but first a bit more on the hard parts.

The engine is a 1994 Corvette LT1, rebuilt by El Monte Speed shop, and stroked to 383 cubes. It’s mated to an 1985 Audi 016 5000S five-speed transaxle, using an adaptor plate from Kennedy Engineered Products. The shorty headers from Pacesetter Performance Products are covered with Cosmo Plate heat shielding. A pair of radiator fans are mounted just aft of the engine. He made sure that all the intakes are functional for cooling the Corvette C4 brakes, just as on the original Diablo. The wheels are replica Lamborghini Diablo 6.0 rims painted pearl black with center-rim emblems.

Since Mike works as a physical therapist, and admits to not having much automotive background, he had to teach himself welding and bought a band saw for fabricating tubular subframes. Fortunately, he came across a seasoned street rod builder who was willing to share his expertise on the buildup.

In terms of time and effort, the mechanicals were actually the easy part. Mike slaved over the body prep for three months, blocking, sanding and repeating several times. He found Evercoat’s Rage Gold and Short Strand Filler to be really effective for filling in low spots and stress cracks. Once he was happy with the smoothness of the body, his painter, Studio 712, applied gelcoat to seal it, and then sprayed on Lamborghini pearl orange paint. The flat and pearl black custom graphics were handled by Dino Genito.

As for the interior, the car has replica Lamborghini Diablo backlit gauges and a real 220 mph speedometer. Mike built custom six-way power seats, since the model year of the original only had manual slider seats. Adding to the cockpit’s comfort factor is Connolly leather upholstery fitted on the seats and door panels, plus a carbon fiber overlay on the center console. The center console’s buttons and climate control unit are all original Lamborghini parts, but reworked to control a Vintage Air system. Interior door handles and exterior door locks are original Lamborghini.

Realizing how low-slung Lambos are, Mike wisely added a lane-change warning device and four cameras (front, back and sides) to see around the car with the click of a button, displayed on a pop-out monitor screen of the car stereo. The car also has original K40 front and rear radar detection.

Looking back on the project overall, he realizes how much he had to learn along the way. “When you build a car in your own house, you have to get primitive,” he says, referring to how he started with basically nothing in his garage. “You need to be really determined, as there were times when I was banging my head against the wall.” So we give him a lot of props for getting down with this Lambo limbo.

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Lamborghini