Current progress so far
Links to parts and information websites
Where I will be building my diablo
Where most of the important bits come from
The stuff it all bolts to
What makes it go
What makes it pretty
The cars nervous system
Where you sit
The gubberment bit
Who really cares?
Stuff that will not fit anywhere else
Other diablo replica websites


The Donor Vehicle

The engine I have chosen to use in my replica is the BMW V12 M70, circa 1990. This engine can be found in the BMW 750. The only difference between the 750i and 750iL is an extra 4 inches of leg room in the back.

You can pick these cars up very cheaply, Especially for a car that cost at least £50,000 new. I got mine from ebay, at a lower price than either of the UK Diablo kit manufacturers could provide just the engine alone. It was also MOT'd until september and had a couple of months road tax left!

My car was manufactured in 1990, this means it has the 'drive by wire' throttle control. In this system the throttle is controlled by two motorised butterfly valves, one per bank of six cylinders. The accelerator pedal is read via a potentiometer weighted to feel like a regular pedal. This means that there is no throttle cables to run.

The BMW engine system is much more complicated than other cars of its year. Its 'drive by wire' system necessitates the use of a complex engine management system. Many kit-builders have gone down the route of dispensing with it in its entirety, and using one of the many third party engine management systems, However these can be very expensive!. I intend to use the original BMW engine management system, More on this can be found in the Electrical section.

The car also provides lots of other useful parts for the build. If you are fitting air conditioning, as I am, you will require the compressor and condensor radiator. The radiator can be purchased new for less than a hundred pounds, but the compressor is very expensive, so its worth holding on to. The rest of the car can be broken and the parts sold, who knows, you could even make a profit on it...

Other engine options you might consider include the venerable Rover V8, Renault V6 (Including turbo), Renault 21 Turbo and the Chevy/Ford small or large block engine.

Here is the rear view of the car. I have hidden the registration as I will be recording the car as scrap. You often see cars taken to and from scrap auctions with the registration covered over to prevent unscrupulous people from using the registration on a stolen car.

Front view of the car shows its generally good condition. The only external damage I could find is on the roof above the rear window, and a small crack in the front bumber. The badges enamel is starting to peel, and the windscreen is starting to show 'fogging' inbetween the laminate layers. Pictures of the engine as its removed from the car will be available in the 'engine' section shortly.
Things you need from your Donor  

Apart from the engine, you are going to need some other bits and pieces from the car.

  • Throttle potentiometer assembly, You need to cut its wiring out, make sure you cut it beyond its connector to make future replacement easier.
  • ECU's. You need the three silver boxes closest the bulkhead. I also removed the housing box to make mounting easier.
    At the rear of the engine compartment at the passenger side is the heater coolant pump. This provides hot air to the passenger compartment before the engines main thermostat opens. You may need this to provide effective heater control.
  • The entire engine loom and fuse boxes. You do not need all of this, some of it goes to the ABS pump etc... But its better to have more than you need then find out you are missing something later on.
  • Catalytic converters, oxygen sensors and relays. Depending on year, you might not have these parts at all. All the BMW documentation indicates that these parts should be present on all models. This was not the case with my model.