Model Rewind: The Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota

In automotive terms, the word ‘rare’ has many different meanings. A one-year-only paint color can be rare. A body style with a certain transmission can be rare. Entire model lines can be rare, as can entire automotive manufacturing companies. Lamborghini is one such company. If you live on a coast or large city, you may see these Italian wedges from time to time. For some people in more remote areas, they may only see a Lambo once every few years. Some may never see one in-person in their lifetime. That’s pretty darn rare. The 1993 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota takes an already uncommon car to an even rarer level.

For its 30th anniversary, the company premiered a limited-edition Diablo in 1993, the SE30. The unique cars have revised V-12 engines with magnesium intake runners, upgraded camshafts, a lighter crankshaft, and a revised exhaust. The upgraded engine is taller than the standard V-12. A new decklid with rooftop air scoops covers the back of the car. Since the engine is so tall, engineers eliminated the rear window and rear-view mirror. They even nixed the air conditioning and power windows. Other enhancements include model-specific wheels, a huge rear wing, plexiglass door windows, and much more. Only 150 SE30s came out of the Sant’Agata factory. But the limited nature of the model doesn’t stop there.

To honor the one-off Lamborghini Miura P400 Jota race car of 1970, engineers built an even more extreme version of the 30th edition car, the Diablo SE30 Jota. The Jota turns the road-going car into an all-out race car. Additional engine enhancements to the fuel management system and ECU tuning adds 100 horsepower over the standard Diablo and 60 more horsepower over the standard SE30. The Jota is a true race car.

Of the 150 SE30s made, only 15 were Jota models, though some resources say there was actually a 16th factory Jota. Either way, that’s rare. Lamborghini also sold Jota “kits” to dealerships that allowed them to upgrade an SE30 to Jota specs. Sant’Agata built around 28 of these kits. It’s not known how many of the kits were installed.

In spite of all the work put into these cars, by all known accounts, very few, if any were ever raced. Perhaps the buyers didn’t want to risk damaging the cars. Maybe they wanted to hold onto them as collector’s models. Or maybe they just wanted to drive them on the weekends to fancy golf events, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Lamborghini’s efforts to create a race car for their buyers kind of fell flat, so they never pursued additional Jota models. Until now. Spy photographers have caught an upgraded Aventador covered in camouflage that could be an all-new Jota. Earlier this year some images of a new Aventador logo with the appendix SVJ surfaced. Could the J signify the return of Jota? Time will tell.