With the Targa roof, the Silhouette - which is the evolution of the Úrraco – proposed an alternative open version with the intention of winning over the difficult Únited States market. The engine, now perfected, which had four overhead camshafts in the 3-litre version, allowed a maximum speed of 260 km/h. And despite this, after two prototypes, only 53 Silhouettes were produced, the last one being used and tested as the Jalpa prototype.Source - Lamborghini
Sold for $130,000 at 2016 Mecum : Monterey.
De Tomaso's Luigi Capellini was appointed to the Lamborghini board in 1974. He had introduced the Pantera to the United States and knew the importance of the American market. He immediately launched the development of an Urraco-derived mid-engine design named Silhouette. It wore a design courtesy of Carrozzeria Bertone, and this particular example, chassis number 40002 and body number 01, is one of two examples built to demonstrate and productionize the Silhouette, the first Lamborghini with a Targa roof.
The Silhouette was a very important vehicle for Lamborghini, as it was one of the models that helped the Sant'Agata manufacturer remain in business. It made its debut in 1976 at the Turin Motor Show, wearing Bertone coachwork, and powered by a mid-mounted transverse 3-liter dual overhead cam V8 engine that used 4 twin-throat Weber 40 DCNF carburetors for a factory-rating of 250 horsepower. The design featured a unique rear window treatment to hide an integrated roll bar, flared wheel arches, a deep front spoiler with ducting for an oil cooler, and ventilated Girling disc brakes.
The two prototypes built, including this example, has several unique features which distinguish them from production cars. They have unique body numbers along with the original Urraco body numbers and use the P300 electrical system. In addition to the P300's console-mounted window switches, prototype number 40002 has the clock in front of the driver, the heater controls in the radio panel, Alfa-style chrome-bezeled warning lights and red switch labels.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
In total, just 54 Silhouetts were built, including two prototypes. Producing lasted from 1976 through 1979.
The Silhouette was introduced to the public at the 1976 Geneva Auto Show. The Silhouette was chosen in honor of the FIA Group 5 regulations. Internally, the Silhouette was codenamed the P118. The vehicle was a replacement for the disappointing Urraco super-car. The Urraco had been intended to be a high volume, mass produced, and economically prosperous vehicle. Unfortunately, due to development and reputation problems, among other problems, the vehicle had actually move the Lamborghini marque to the brink of financial disaster.
The Silhouette used many of the Urraco components, a move that was intended to minimize development costs and production problems. Sitting atop of the identical chassis used in the P300 Urraco, the P118 was given modified MacPherson struts and Pirelli P7 tires. The same Paolo Stanzani's eight-cylinder engine could be found mounted mid-ship, however displacement was increased to 2995 cc and compression set at 10:1.1. The result was a 250 horsepower that could propel the vehicle from zero-to-sixty in just 5.9 seconds and top out at 154 mph.
The bodywork was handled by the famous coach-building company, Bertone. The result was a targa body with a room being able to remove and placed being the seats. The design was both elegant and mechanically perfect, with a balanced 50/50 weight distribution.
The interior was redesigned slightly from its predecessor. Gone were the rear seats in favor of extra storage room for the removable room. The vehicle could be ordered in either leather or cloth upholstery.
When debuted to the public at the Geneva Auto Show, it was an instant success. Problems began to arrise due to homologation issues. Lamborghini was unable to take advantage of the US market. Troubles continued to compound for the company and it slowly slipped into financial unrest and a few years later were liquidating its assets. This meant that only 52 examples were ever produced with the final example ending in February of 1979.
It is unfortunate that the Silhouette was introduced at a time of uncertainty for the company. It was positioned to be prosperous, but unfortunately its demise was due to finances. The company had learned much about production through the earlier Urraco model; it had worked out the kinks and the bugs. The Silhouette was to be the result of lessons-learned. The junior supercar had a potent engine, low weight, excellent weight distribution, stylish design, and performance mechanics. Its low production figures guarantees the vehicles exclusivity in modern times.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2007