Lamborghini Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Espada and Islero

Remember when Lamborghini made grand touring cars? That’s how the Raging Bull got in the business of making fast, luxurious passenger cars, under the supervision of Ferruccio and with the help of Giotto Bizzarrini’s technical genius.
Lamborghini Espada 8 photos
Photo: Lamborghini
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Following the 350 GT and 400 GT of the mid-1960s, the end of the decade saw the Sant’Agata Bolognese-based automaker roll out the Espada and Islero. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of their launch, and Lamborghini took to the Techno Classica 2018 in Essen to celebrate the golden jubilee. What sort of celebration, you ask?

As it’s often the case with classic car get-togethers, Lamborghini brought an example of the Series III Espada (1976) and rarest of Islero models, as in the one with the S suffix. The Espada in question is undergoing a complete restoration by the Polo Storico division, with the grand finale anticipated for May 2018. Once restored to original specification, the automaker plans to preserve the car on display at the Lamborghini Museum.

Manufactured from 1968 to 1978, production of the Espada totals under 1,300 examples. In addition to the Italian flair and supercar-like performance coming courtesy of a 3.9-liter V12 shared with the Miura, the bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful grand tourer also happens to be on the affordable side of classic cars.

The Islero, which uses the same engine and can also seat four, is a much rarer breed. From 1968 to 1969, Lamborghini manufactured in the ballpark of 225 examples. The Islero S is the most precious of them all, with 70 units produced, all packing 350 rampaging ponies. In addition to the performance, the S features a more luxurious interior, befitting of a GT designed to be driven hastily on the long haul.

In case anyone who owns a classic Lamborghini is reading this, the Polo Storico department is much obliged to help bring your baby back in shape with original parts and the utmost attention to detail. There’s only one condition that needs mentioning. And that is, the car has to be out of production for at least ten years (350 GT to Diablo) for the Italian automaker to accept the restoration project.

Instead of an ending note, don’t you find it curious that Lamborghini stopped offering GT cars after the Jarama went out of production in 1976? There’s a lot of hearsay on forums and in the media about the Estoque Concept going in production in 2021 or something, which would be magnificent if it would happen. When you think about it, a super-sedan bridges the gap nicely between the Huracan and Urus, with the Aventador keeping its status as the range-topping Lamborghini.

With the Volkswagen Group’s help, the improbable could happen at some point in the future. The Porsche Panamera’s MSB platform, the Mission E’s J1, the PPE co-developed with Audi, whichever way you look at it, the building block is right under Lamborghini’s nose.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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