top of page

1987 Chrysler Lamborghini Portofino

In 1986, Kevin Verduyn designed a concept car model for Chrysler called the Navajo. The concept never went beyond the clay model stage. Still, when Chrysler acquired Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. in 1987, the design was resurrected and, with some fairly minor tweaks, turned into the Portofino.

The Portofino was built by Coggiola of Turin, Italy, on a lengthened Jalpa chassis, giving the car a mid-engine rear-wheel-drive layout. It also used the Jalpa's 3.5 L V8 water-cooled engine and 5-speed manual transmission. The engine could rev to 7,000 rpm, with 64.6 bhp/liter. The most interesting feature of the Portofino was the dual scissor doors enclosing a pillarless passenger compartment. The front doors pivoted forward, as in Lamborghini's Countach. The rears were also scissor-style but pivoted upward to the rear. The logo on the hood featured the Lamborghini bull inside the Chrysler Pentastar.

While the Portofino was a one-of-a-kind concept and Chrysler ownership of Lamborghini would not survive, the concept's design would inform and influence Chrysler cars for the next two decades. The wide low stance and open plan interior would become the hallmark of the Chrysler LH body vehicles and their "cab-forward" design standard. The triangular headlights and dual notched rear indicators would find their way directly to the first-generation Dodge Intrepid and serve as key design points throughout that vehicle's existence.

Sources:; @motor1com; Wikipedia

Images: Chrysler Corporation; Concept Car Central;