The late ‘70s proved challenging for Lamborghini, even as the audacious Countach burnished their image. While that V12 supercar is what most people picture as the brand's icon, for today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe we're drawing a different silhouette.
With a six grand asking price and a gear lever that only moved in two directions, it seemed unlikely yesterday's tidy little Rampage would dodge (see what I did there?) the cold-hearted swing of the Crack Pipe, and sure enough it racked up a 63% loss. Too bad, so sad.
Did you ever have one of those souvenir pennies with JFK's head stamped on it and all the spooky similarities between his life and that of Lincoln noted on the card to which it was glued? Well, in another random collection of things that are similar while being totally different, we can compare yesterday's Dodge Rampage and today's contender. Ready? Let's go. Both are two-seaters that are derivatives of cars with more chairs; both are the result of major re-stylings of existing cars; both suffered from questionable build quality when new; and lastly, both of them had exceptionally short production runs.
But that's where the similarities end, and in all other aspects, from engine output to alfresco driving, there's no comparison. In fact, if you were to park that Rampage and today's candidate side by side – much like seating Monica Bellucci next to one of those People of WalMart folks – you'd probably become singularly focused on only one, and I guarantee it wouldn't be the Dodges of WalMart.
This 1978 Lamborghini Silhouette represents from one of the darkest periods of Lamborghini's tortured history. So dark, in fact, that, from 1977 until 1982, no Lambo officially set tire to tarmac in the U.S. of A-wudjablowme. That makes this '78 a grey-market car, but the side marker lights and Montana plates indicate that it has nothing to fear from the new Arizona immigration law these days.
That vanity plate is interesting – NUMBR 35 – which one would be led to believe was the production number out of the total two-year run of 52. That's right, Lambo only built 52 Silhouettes before calling it a day and replacing the car with the Jalpa. Not only that, but today there are only a confirmed 31 remaining- a pretty crazy attrition rate if you ask me, and making the ‘35' plate a little complicated to explain.
Out of those 31, this white over brown edition is said by its seller to be the best in the States, and maybe even the world. If the Concourso I'taliano and Lambo factory awards are to be believed, then there maybe some veracity to that claim. Carrying such a venerated badge on its nose and ass, as well as having so small a number of siblings, means that its next owner should continue in keeping it that way. That may be hard as the 265-bhp (factory, but maybe lower if it has been smog-strangled as part of its naturalization process) that is coaxed from the 3-litre, four-cam all-alloy V8 would make for an intoxicating aural drug. Not only that, but the Silhouette's tight suspension and quick steering is shared with the precedent Urraco, as is its capable handling. Not shared with the older Urraco is that car's wonky-eye'd gauge cluster, louvered backlight or non-removable roof. The Silhouette, instead, has a targa panel spanning a strengthened tubular chassis, and storing where the Urraco carried a pair of useless +2 seats.
The interior of this particular Silhouette is a kind of yellowy- brown, a shade that may be familiar if you're a heavy drinker. Aside from that, it has A/C and a gated 5-speed sprouting a priapistic shift lever from a narrow and low tunnel. Also shifted in this car will be your feet because the front wheel wells encroach on the footwells like it's the Gaza Strip, making having knees that bend in two planes advantageous. That's a function both of it being mid-engine and formerly a 2+2, and is common among most cars of this ilk. That being said, both inside and out, this thing is dead sexy, and if you take your date to the prom in it, you are definitely getting laid, I don't care how many years ago you graduated.
On that outside, the Gandini-penned Urraco gets the full ‘70s Bertone treatment in the restyle, with heavy, angular wheel arches and black-painted triangular scoops atop massive sail panels. Typically on the Silhouette, the targa was painted black, calling out the feature, but here it shares the refrigerator white paint of the body, keeping it on the down-low.
Low down would be the Jalop who doesn't at least appreciate the Silhouette for its history and rarity. That's not to say that you have to appreciate its price, which happens to come in at an eye-popping $160,000 on this edition. With a zero to sixty time of around six-five, and a top end a little north of 140, there's a butt-load of Italian (and other) metal that'll leave this Silhouette hangin'. But its price isn't based on performance, nor on the insanely low 15,568 miles under its wheels. Instead, the price is based on the shield affixed to the nose and featuring a horny Bull that's kicking all pretenders to the curb. It's also based on the fact that there are only 31 of these left. . . (cue Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world. Those factors - desirability and exclusivity - combine to let this little Lambo command a premium in the way that dwarf prostitutes do.
Or does it?
Sure it's a Lambo, and damn-straight you're not going to run into another one in the Waffle House parking lot, but geez that's a lot of dough-ray-me. What do you think, would you drop one hundred and sixty thousand dollars on a car that you'd likely have to explain the value of to plebian passersby? Or, like buying a Picasso, is that simply the cost of entry into an exclusive club?