1978 Lamborghini Silhouette (1 of only 10 RHD cars)
The Lamborghini story is fascinating in itself but for the company to have survived all these years and indeed celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2013 is quite amazing. Ferruccio Lamborghini was an entrepreneur, a very successful businessman and a lover of the finer things in life, including sports cars. He was fortunate enough to own some wonderful cars including Ferraris however, he found fault with them all. According to the legend following a meeting with Enzo Ferrari to discuss some of the shortcomings of his cars Enzo dismissed Ferruccio and he subsequently decided that he could build a better car.
Not long after, in May 1963, Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini SPA was established and the small town of Sant’Agata Bolognese, located between Modena and Bologna, was chosen as the location to build the factory. Born under the Zodiac sign Taurus Lamborghini chose the raging bull as the emblem for his sports cars.
Lamborghini knew what he wanted and he put together a highly skilled team. His first car the 350 GTV was shown at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963. This car received mixed reviews; however, Lamborghini was not deterred and made a number of improvements and design changes to the original concept. The first Lamborghini production car the 350 GT left the factory in mid-1964.
The 350 GT evolved into the 400 GT 2+2 and later the Islero. In parallel to building these classic front engine V12 GT cars Lamborghini wanted to build a supercar, enter the Miura first shown as a rolling chassis in 1965, and also a GT car that could comfortably seat four people, enter the Espada in 1968. The mid to late sixties were good times for Lamborghini and his cars were revered the world over.
In 1970 the Islero was replaced by the Jarama. Lamborghini also wanted to enter the junior supercar market and introduced the Urraco or ‘little bull’, named for the fighting bull which killed the toreador Manoleten, at the 1970 Turin Motor Show. The Urraco attracted huge interest from the motoring world and Bertone’s classic wedge shape received critical acclaim at the time.
It wasn’t until some two years later, in 1972, that the first production cars rolled off the Sant ‘Agata production line. Lamborghini hoped to build the Urraco in big numbers, however, this never eventuated and only 520 of the P250’s were built up until 1975 when the P300 was released. The world economy changed quickly and the early 1970’s were a tough time for Lamborghini. Additionally, the Urraco had some teething problems early on and the car unfortunately developed a reputation as unreliable. This was perhaps unfair as once Lamborghini ironed out the bugs the car was in fact a little gem and properly sorted was a genuine threat to Ferrari’s 308, Maserati’s Merak and the Porsche 911 of the day. The Urraco P300 was indeed a fabulous little car and in Sports Car World magazine July – September 1976 Mel Nichols wrote: ” . . . I was not hard pressed to conclude that the Urraco 3-litre is the most enjoyable car I have ever driven.” In the October 1978 issue of Car Magazine Nichols pits the Lamborghini Urraco against a Ferrari 308 GTB and a Maserati Merak SS. The article is compelling reading and Nichols picks the Urraco as his favourite. Only 205 Urraco P300’s were built. Lamborghini also built 66 Urraco P200’s (with a 2 litre V8 engine) specifically for the Italian market.
The Lamborghini Silhouette was a further development of the Urraco and it was first shown at the 1976 Geneva Motor Show. The Silhouette was a genuine 2 seater and the 2+2 seating of the Urraco was removed to allow space behind the seats to store the targa top. The Silhouette is one of the rarest Lamborghinis with only 54 cars built, of which only 10 were factory right hand drive.
Lamborghini’s last iteration of their V8 engined junior supercar was the Jalpa (pronounced “YAWL-pa”), named after another breed of fighting bull. The Jalpa was introduced at the 1981 Geneva show and 410 examples were built from 1982 through until 1988.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale 1 of the 10 factory right hand drive Lamborghini Silhouettes. Of these 10 cars, 6 were delivered to Australia, 3 were delivered to the UK and 1 to Cyprus.
According to the factory records this car was completed on the 19th January 1978. It is an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example that was delivered through Tony De Fina, the importer at the time. The car was delivered new in ‘rosso’ (red) with a ‘nero’ (black) interior.
The early history of this car is not definitively known, however, its first or second owner was then Sydney based medical entrepreneur and socialite Dr Geoffrey Edelsten. In the late 1970’s and 1980’s Edelsten owned a fleet of exotic cars including Porsches, Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, De Tomasos (who can forget his ‘hot pink’ De Tomaso Pantera GT5 with a mink interior!) and a number of Lamborghinis. The Lamborghinis included a gold (later red) Countach LP400 ‘periscopio’, a green later black Countach LP400S and this Silhouette.
Edelsten owned this Silhouette for a few years. When the car had an engine failure he decided to sell it. Its next owner rebuilt the engine and repainted the car ‘wine red metallic’. Unfortunately, the car was damaged shortly thereafter and subsequently sold to the current owner circa 35 years ago. He intended to return it to its original colour and gave it to Henry Nehyrebcki who at the time was the Lamborghini service agent in Sydney, NSW. Unfortunately, life got in the way and progress was extremely slow. The car sat around for many years. Nehrybecki later closed his business and the car was moved to another restoration shop who did very little with the car. In 2015 the car was sent to All Classic Car Restorations in Brookvale (Sydney) and the restoration was finally underway. The car was painted by McCreath Prestige Panel & Paint in Brookvale.
This car has been ‘missing’ for many years and in Lamborghini circles it was thought it had either been written off, gone overseas or was squirrelled away in someone’s garage. Thankfully it was the latter!
Today this car presents exceptionally well. Although it was repainted some years ago the car has travelled very few miles since then. The body and paint was obviously done to a high standard and a credit to the team at McCreath Prestige Panel & Paint. The overall paint finish on the car is excellent. It has a strong depth of colour and high gloss. The panel gaps are also very good. There are some minor imperfections in the satin black paintwork on the engine cover. The targa top and all of the external trim, including the bumpers are in good condition.
A feature on a Lamborghini Silhouette is the Bravo style Campagnello wheels which were also used on the first 50 Lamborghini Countach LP400S’ built. The magnesium wheels are extremely porous and as a result they are prone to blistering. Unfortunately, the wheels on this car are blistering in places and they should really be repainted to do justice to the overall presentation of the car. The car is currently running oversize Michelin tyres. At the time when tyres were required for the car the original Pirelli P7 tyres were unavailable, so the owner had little choice!
Inside the cabin everything has been refurbished and presents really well. Purists will note the steering wheel and pedals are not original. Also, the dash and centre console have been refurbished in leather rather than alcantara.
Lamborghini’s 3.0 litre V8 engine makes one of the best noises you will ever hear. This Silhouette is no exception. Like all Lamborghinis the Webber carburettors require plenty of fuel. One tends to get a little impatient waiting for the fuel pumps to do their thing . . . then ‘bang’ the engine bursts into life with a growl! It’s best to allow a little time for the engine to warm up and then you’re away. Similarly, the gearbox gets better mile after mile as everything warms up. The engine has loads of power on tap and it pulls like a train. The gearbox is also good and it changes up and down smoothly.
This Lamborghini Silhouette has been a long journey for its patient owner, however, it is now time for him to move on. Whilst the car presents beautifully it does need a final fettling and finishing to bring it up to the level one would expect of this rare and highly desirable ‘baby bull’. These items are relatively minor and can be discussed with any prospective purchaser.
There is an original owner’s manual, parts manual (copy), engine workshop manual (copy) and a thick file of receipts dating back to 2004 that will accompany the car.
The Lamborghini Urraco/Silhouette is one of Bertone’s finest designs and we think one of the best looking cars ever built. And oh did we mention ‘the noise’ . . . the little V8 is in our opinion one of the best sounding engines ever . . . what a great combination!
These cars are extremely rare and have been a well kept secret for many years, but no more, and today they are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
A unique opportunity.
Today the odometer reads 18,938 km which is sure to be genuine.
- One of the rarest Lamborghinis, being 1 of 54 cars built and 1 of only 10 factory right hand drive examples.
- Australian delivered.
- Finished in its stunning and original colour combination of ‘rosso’ (red) with a ‘nero’ (black) interior.
- Beautifully presented and with some final fettling and finishing the car is ready to be used and enjoyed.
- Lamborghini Silhouette
- 18,938 km