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Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Silhouette, the first Lambo featuring a removable roof

Development of V8 engined cars carried out by Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini S.p.A. does not stop with the Urraco model. It has not been able to produce the best model yet, although the development process has cost a lot of money including funds from Ferruccio himself and the company.

It was more crucial and critical that the company's finances at that time were not in good condition where the sales figures could not compensate for its large investments, even after the Urraco P300 model was introduced. Even worse, the factory was not in a position to consider replacing Urraco at that time.
1976 Lamborghini Silhouette designed by Marcello Gandini of Carrozzeria Bertone. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/33w9nxC)
Ferruccio still believes that the more mainstream models could succeed and make more money than the exotic V12 supercars, so he asked Bertone to redesign the Urraco P300 into a different looking car, so as to be able to drive sales to a level that would boost sales to a level that would finally create some decent return on the massive investment in the development of the V8 engined cars.

Then Bertone prepared the first prototype which was projected as the Urraco's successor. The prototype was displaying the extension of the round wheel arches and modified rear window, further development of this initial concept leads to the figure that came to be known as the very special Lamborghini Silhouette which was first shown to the public at the 1976 Geneva Auto Show.
1976 Lamborghini Silhouette was a targa-style version of the Urraco P300. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/33w9nxC)
The refurbished model still clearly showed its Urraco origins but took the original design several years into the future. The Silhouette would become the first production Lamborghini featuring a removable roof section creating a convertible model.

Only one downturn on this configuration is the removal of the rear seats and for the Lamborghini Silhouette, the configuration changes into two seats by making enough space to store its removable roof section in the rear, where those two removed seats located before.

Then in the interior of the Silhouette, there was a significant improvement over the previous Urraco model, such as the use of a magnificent new bucket seat, far more stylish with an aggressive exterior. But the use of standard fabrics is still used with a beautiful vertical line in the middle of the chair and backrest.
The steering wheel and dashboard view of 1976 Lamborghini Silhouette. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2vwtvTS)
Although the interior was changed to a more ergonomic style with a new dashboard that tilted slightly towards the driver, the use of genuine leather for the interior is still optional for the Silhouette. Imagine being caught in some heavy rain with a cloth interior. It could be a problem if you didn’t bring those beach towels with you.

Shifting on the exterior, the impressive deep front spoiler with similar styled, squared-off wheel arch extensions as needed to cover the innovative telephone dial wheels shod with state of the art Pirelli P7 tires, 285 mm wide at the rear. Then the wheel size increased from the original 14 inches to a larger 15 inches, while the overall width of the rim rose to 11 inches at the rear.

1976 Lamborghini Silhouette used a V8 engine derived from the Urraco P300 is driven up to 265 hp. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/33w9nxC)
Then the entire suspension geometry was modified to keep those 285 mm of Italian rubber as flat as possible on the road and maintain full traction on the wide rear wheel at all times. The Miura inspired engine cover design from the Urraco was lost during the redesign, and a new tunnel back was introduced incorporating a rollover cage to comply with safety regulations for open-top cars.

While the engine is derived from the Urraco P300 but is driven up to 265 hp which means adding weight from the substantial modifications needed to the chassis to go roof-less, it does not mean that the Silhouette would stay behind the Urraco P300 when driving on the open road.
1976 Lamborghini Silhouette was kept in production for only two years, with a total at no more than 52 units from which only 27 to 31 are believed to have survived today. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/33w9nxC)
Overall, this should be a good idea of ​​open-top driving a true Lamborghini very appealing to potential buyers, but the Silhouette couldn’t fulfill its high hopes. So it does not make the company's financial condition better, due to Lamborghini couldn’t convince customers to buy the Silhouette. And even worse is the fact that the company was unable to certify the Silhouette for sale in the United States, possibly the biggest market for this kind of Lamborghini.

The Lamborghini Silhouette was kept in production for only two years, with a total at no more than 52 units from which only 27 to 31 are believed to have survived today. And it is not surprising that this model is now included in one of the rare Lamborghini models so to get it requires more effort at a high cost too, just like the whole experience of the V8 engined car development that was carried out by the late Ferruccio back in the Seventies.
However, the development efforts of the V8 engined car by the Italian premium car manufacturer have not stopped at the Lamborghini Urraco and Silhouette even though production stopped in 1979. Then the last reincarnation of the V8 engined model was continued on the Lamborghini Jalpa which was first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show 1981. And the final model of V8-engined car would show some decent production numbers outselling all its predecessors several times over. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | LAMBO CARS | SUPERCARS.NET]
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