Italian Flag Lamborghini Silhouette P300 ~ 1976-79

Only after three years of production, the Urraco already had put Lamborghini into a financial fiasco, and the new Swiss owners, Rossetti and Leimer wanted to capitalize on what should have start to be a profitable sports car by asking Bertone, who penned the Urraco (Marcello Gandini), to repackage the Sant’ Agata entry level mid-rear engine 2+2 Supercar as a 2 seater with a "Targa" roof, the 1976 Lamborghini Silhouette (P118). The underpinnings were the same, aside from an updated MacPherson all around independent suspension. And while the new robe was still based on the Urraco, it was so intelligently reworked that the rejuvenated car appeared to be all new when it was presented in Geneva in 1976.

The Silhouette's front-end was the same as the Urraco, with its hood line and pop-up headlights, but unlike the previous model the slatted air vents on the front lid were gone. The thin chrome bumper gave way to a thicker black rubber unit, but at least this last one wasn’t oversized and was relevant to the era. A low front spoiler was fitted with additional driving lamps and cooling funnels for the ventilated disc brakes and oil radiator. The spoiler wrapped slightly around the fenders and continued to merge into the widely flared wheel arches. Lamborghini was used to squaring-off its rear fenders, but on the Silhouette all four corners were treated as such with good results. With those extensions, the new 15”, five-hole “Bravo” Campagnolo wheel set looked as aggressive as the arches themselves, giving the Silhouette a more menacing look than the Urraco. An all new roof configuration appeared with the introduction of a removable black “Targa” roof section as standard. The roof panel could be stored behind the seats, making this the first open top production Lamborghini ever after a few one-offs had been done previously on the 350 GT and Miura. Unlike the Urraco, the Lamborghini Silhouette was a strict two-seater and with the deletion of the tiny rear seats, the rear quarter windows were also gone. The three rear diagonal slats were replaced by a trapezoidal air intake, and the fastback rear treatment was changed to a black two-tone buttresses layout with a rear vertical window encased at the center of the buttresses, like in a 308 Ferrari GTS. The truncated Kamm-tail adorned the same tail lights as the Urraco and Jarama, with just below a split black rubber bumper.

The good news for this strict 2 seater was that the old impractical Urraco’s dashboard with its rev-counter and speedometer at each end of its long binnacle was scrapped and replaced by a deep unit where the two main dials were now in front of the driver… just in case he needed to check on one of them. The Silhouette's radio was placed just above the thin center console, which still housed two large round interior air vents, and the gear lever now had an exposed metal gate.

The Silhouette's dual-cam per bank V8 engine placed on a rear subframe was the same as the Urraco P300. As the Urraco it was placed in front of the rear axle in a transversal position to maximize space, and with a 3 liter (183 cu in) capacity, the power output was 260 hp at 7500 rpm, which was 5 more horses than the Ferrari 308s. With a top speed of 162 mph (260 km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of 6.4 seconds, the Silhouette behaved as a proper exotic sports car, but with 201 lb-ft of torque at a high 5750 rpm, you had to spank it to get the best of it.

Sadly Lamborghini encountered problems while trying to “Federalize” the V8 for the US market, and was all together forced to withdraw his brand from US soil, from 1977 to 1982. This of course affected sales dramatically as the United States was the biggest consumer of Bulls, putting a serious damper to Lamborghini’s financial recovery. Only 54 Lamborghini Silhouettes were ever produced from 1976 until late 1978, giving no other choice for the new Swiss owners, Rossetti and Leimer but to go Bankrupt.

JJP.

Lamborghini Silhouette Specifications
Model/Year Lamborghini Silhouette P300
1976-Oct.78
Designer Bertone
Marcello Gandini
Engine Type Mid-rear Transversal
All alloy V8 @ 90˚, DOHC. 2V/16V
Capacity 2997 cc / 183 cu in
Fuel Feed 4 Weber 40 DCNF carb.
Power 250 hp @ 7500 rpm
Torque 201 lb-ft @ 5750 rpm
Transmission 5 speed - RWD
Top Speed 162 mph - 260 km/h
"0-60" mph - 0-100 km/h 6.5 sec
Chassis Steel Unitary
Weelbase 2450 mm / 96.5 in
Front Suspension MacPherson, Coil Springs
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
Rear Suspension MacPherson, Coil Springs
Tube Shocks, Anti-roll Bar
Brakes Ventilated Disc all around
Front Tires 195/50 VR15
Rear Tires 285/40 VR15
Steering Rack & Pinion
Weight 2734 lb / 1240 kg
Country of Origin Italy
Production Num. 54
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