For over five decades, Lamborghini has produced some of the world’s wildest and most iconic cars. The Italian company is known for its angular bodies, outrageous V12 engines, and high price tags. No one would ever call a Lamborghini a “forgettable” car. But there was one model that is often forgotten about – the Jarama.
Here was the problem: in the late 1960s, Lamborghini has these two cars, the Islero (introduced in 1968) and the Espada (also introduced in 1968). The company wanted to sell the Islero in the United States, but it did not meet US DOT safety standards.
Lamborghini engineers decided to redesign the Islero for the US market. So what do they do? Rather than modify the Islero body and chassis, they took the Espada and chopped 10.6 inches out of it. This was sold in the US as the second-generation Islero, despite the fact that it shares essentially nothing with the first generation Islero. To make things even more confusing, somewhere along the way the name was changed from Islero to Jarama. Are you confused yet?
Although the Jarama was shorter and narrower than the Espada, it had the same 350HP V12 engine and top speed. Interestingly, the Jarama ended up being 250 pounds heavier than the Espada and 580 pounds heavier than the Islero it replaced! How you can chop almost a foot of length off a car and have its curb weight go UP is beyond my understanding!
While the car’s engine, suspension, and overall body shape are very similar to the Espada, the Jarama lacks the curved side window and the extra piece of glass in the rear deck that make the Espada so interesting. I think that this one looks a bit dull compared to the Espada, particularly with its normal looking trunk and taillights. I do however adore the beautiful blue color of this car.
The early 1970s were a bad time to bring a sports car to America due to the OPEC Oil Embargo, and the sales reflected that. Between 1970 and 1976, Lamborghini built just 327 Jaramas. This one is a base model, the 400GT. There was also a 400GTS model that had slightly more horsepower. Production was split pretty evenly at 177 GTs and 150 GTS models.
It’s interesting to get a look back at this era in Lamborghini’s history. While not as memorable as their other cars, the Jarama played an important role in Lamborghini’s history. This rare car helps us see how they got where they are today.