Name: Chrysler Lamborghini Portofino
Debuted: 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show
Specs: Based on Jalpa chassis, 3.5-liter V8 engine with 255 hp and 229 lb-ft, five-speed manual gearbox
Why We Remember It Now:
The “ultimate mid-engined touring sedan” as it was described by Chrysler is basically a four-door, stretched version of the Lamborghini Jalpa, so we think it’s worthy of your attention. It was originally introduced at the 1987 Frankfurt Motor Show to symbolize Chrysler’s takeover of Lamborghini which happened earlier that year on April 23rd. That’s why the fully-functional concept was displayed with Lamborghini’s raging bull housed within Chrysler’s Pentastar logo.
In terms of design, the Portofino was actually an evolution of the Chrysler Navajo that was only built as a clay model. The styling was tweaked to better show the connection between the two brands but suffice it to say the Portofino is not one of those Lamborghini concepts you remember. The car was built by Coggiola in Turin, Italy and had to be elongated by 66 cm (26 inches) to create a cabin spacious enough to carry rear passengers.
The Portofino was engineered without B-pillars while all four doors opened upwards to grant access to a comfy interior. Leather in three different shades of blue was used to dress up the cabin which allowed the driver to adjust the steering wheel, switchgear, and the instrument pod to find the ideal position.
Power came from a 3.5-liter V8 engine pushing out 255 horsepower (187 kilowatts) and 229 pound-feet (310 newton meters) of torque delivered to the road through a five-speed manual gearbox. The rear-wheel-drive sedan had enough punch to reach a very respectable top speed of 149 mph (240 kph).
Only one was ever made and it was actually heavily crashed in 1991 during an accident. Chrysler apparently paid $300,000 for the restoration job which was handled by Metalcrafters in Costa Mesa, California. The Portofino is now on display at Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
As a final note, legend has it folks from Lamborghini did not like the concept’s design at all, describing the Portofino as a “big potato.”