Lamborghini Athon, an Amazing But Forgotten Concept Car From 1980

At the 58th Turin Motor Demonstrate, held in April 1980, Bertone released a new idea motor vehicle dependent on a Lamborghini chassis – a a little bit strange alternative, provided that Lamborghini was in dire economical straits at the time. The push launch from the Turin coachbuilder made it distinct that Bertone wanted to help the company. The identify Athon, referring to the Egyptian cult of the sun, was correct as the automobile was a spider, fully devoid of a top rated and meant as a honest-weather conditions automobile.


The Athon was the initial Bertone principle vehicle established below the course of Frenchman Marc Deschamps, subsequent the departure of Marcello Gandini at the end of 1979. Some observers experienced envisioned Bertone to embrace a diverse faculty of structure, but beneath the guidance of Nuccio Bertone, Deschamps appeared to follow carefully in the footsteps of his predecessor. The Athon was so based mostly on equivalent aesthetic codes to the Bertone concept cars and trucks revealed considering that the 1970s, with tense surfaces and extremely sculpted geometric volumes delineated by clear edges and minimize-traces. Likewise, the Athon explored themes close to Bertone’s heart in the therapy of glass surfaces as built-in components of the bodywork or as openings.

Mechanically, the car or truck was primarily based on the Silhouette, by itself closely derived from the Urraco. The three-litre V-8 gave 260 bhp at 7,500 rpm fed by four Weber carburettors and was mated to a 5-speed guide gearbox. The wheelbase was unchanged, but the all round duration was below 4 metres because of mostly to the limited rear overhang. With no soundproofing, driving the Athon at any speed was a wonderful aural practical experience, as observed by Italian magazine Quattroruote in its July 1980 check review. With out any critical modification to the mechanicals, the auto was claimed to keep all the optimistic characteristics of the Silhouette in phrases of street-holding and handling.

The Athon’s proportions ended up strange for a spider, with a ahead-established cabin and a extended and fairly tall rear deck underlining the mid-engine configuration. The motor address was treated as a individual product, painted semi-matte to subtly offset it from the relaxation of the bodywork. Intended in these a way as to intentionally blur the boundary in between the human body and the mechanicals it contained, it even included “dummy” air-filter packing containers on its top area. In distinction, the sleek wraparound windscreen produced use of state-of-the-artwork glass technological innovation and was smoked to combine even a lot more with the warm gunmetal grey body color.

It was a remarkably graphic but also a hugely sculpted car: although the overall shape could appear fairly monolithic – a confident indicator of Deschamps’s intention – surfaces ended up deeply recessed on the flanks. The conversation of volumes among doorways and facet sills is in particular spectacular. Taillights were being but thin grooves recessed in the rear corners, so as to interfere as small as possible with the strong overall look of the rear stop. The two-piece alloy wheels ended up produced by Campagnolo and were close adequate to creation kind that they would be adopted on the new Jalpa a year afterwards.

Though created in a shorter time span, the Athon reveals the exact same quality of design inherent in all Bertone prototypes, with a shocking amount of consideration paid out to the inside detailing, both equally ergonomically and aesthetically. The innovative digital instrument display was formulated with the Italian provider Veglia, when secondary controls normally identified on stalks – this kind of as the windscreen wipers and indicators – were being as an alternative grouped in a pod a hand-width from the still left of the steering wheel. These particulars, as well as the single-spoke steering wheel itself, were very good examples of Bertone searching for to drive the envelope with regard to interior ergonomics.

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