SCOOP: When you think of Lamborghini, which models do you imagine? The classic Miura? The modern Aventador? Perhaps the Countach or Diablo from your childhood?
Well, the Raging Bull marque is celebrating the anniversary of two of its classic models, but they’re none of those. This year marks 50 since Lamborghini launched two of its more obscure models: the Espada and the Islero. Both entered production half a century ago in 1968.
One of the few proper four-seat models Lamborghini has made, the Espada packed a 3.9-liter V12 in its nose that, in its final iteration, produced all of 321 horsepower. That’s barely more than half of what the Huracan offers today. It had a rather unusual shape as well, with a huge rump that helped it accommodate the second row of seating. Despite its somewhat ungainly proportions, though, the Espada was one of Lamborghini’s best-selling models. Over the course of its ten years of production, the factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese made over 1,200 of them, split between three iterations (labeled S1, S2, and S3). Far more obscure was the Islero, a 2+2 that replaced the 400GT (and the 350GT that preceded it as the brand’s first model). It packed the same engine, but instead of the squared-off design penned by Marcello Gandini for Bertone, the Islero was cloaked in (arguably and relatively) more elegant bodywork by Carrozzeria Marazzi. The Islero only lasted for two years before it was replaced by the more angular Jarama (designed, like the Espada, by Gandini). In that time, Lamborghini only made 225 examples.
The automaker’s Polo Storico division is now preparing to celebrate the milestone anniversaries of both by bringing a restored example of each to the Techno Classica show. The historic car expo opens this week in Essen, Germany. The blue 1973 Espada S3 will be joined by a rare green Islero S, showcasing the restoration and certification services the factory offers – and the depth of supercar models it has produced over its 55 years of history.
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