After first the Miura, then the Marzal, Lamborghini once again stole the Geneva show in 1968 with the Espada, styled by Marcello Gandini, the genius who heads Bertone's design studio.
Despite its incredible styling the car was comparatively conventional, incorporating a pressed steel semi-monocoque built by Marchesi in Modena, into the front of which was placed the 4-liter quad-camshaft V12 engine from the 400GT, mated to a 5-speed gearbox. 320 horsepower was sufficient to propel the car's four occupants to over 150 mph, while they lounged in sumptuous leather upholstery, cooled by the standard air conditioning. The Espada was the fastest full four-seater in the world, and even thirty years later few cars come close to matching its towering abilities. Weight distribution was 52/48 front to rear, allowing neutral and safe handling.
The fully independent suspension incorporated unequal length wishbones front and rear and coil over dampers. Steering was by worm and peg, manufactured by ZF, while brakes were dual circuit servo-assisted discs.
Clearly the Espada was far more advanced than its opposition and the final production figure ran to over 1,200 units, proving it to be as popular as it was capable.
At the 1970 Brussels show an improved version of the Espada was shown, known as the SII. Power steering became an optional extra, uprated, ventilated brakes from the new Miura S were adopted and the half shafts now contained CV joints. Power was raised to 350 horsepower via a higher compression ratio and the instrument layout was improved, being of more straightforward and less stylised design than the original version. Generally build quality was improved, the ventilation system was more effective and overall level of finish was much better.
The Series II car pictured here has had just two owners from new, who between them have covered a mere 61,000 kilometers. It is finished in silver with burgundy hide and described as being in good original condition.
|Vehicle:||1970 Lamborghini Espada SII|
|Tune Up Cost:||$500-$1,000|
|Club Info:||Lamborghini Owners Club, PO Box 7214, St. Petersburg, FL, 33734|
The car shown here was sold at Coys’ auction at Silverstone, England during the Coys International Historic Festival on July 25, 1998 for $13,235, including buyers’ commission and converted at the rate of U.S. $1.64 per pound sterling. The car was sent from Europe to England in hopes of finding enthusiastic bidders. However, even with its low mileage, this Espada II failed to reach its low estimate of $16,400. A good Espada will usually fetch from $13,000 to $22,000. Prices remain low because the cost of repairs to the 12-cylinder engine can be high.
The car shown here has magnesium wheels instead of the 5-bolt aluminum wheels normally found on a Series II Espada.
2+2 automobiles such as this one are not greatly valued today by a market that prefers two-seaters and convertibles. The styling of this particular car has not worn well over the years. However, the Espada is roomy and one of the most inexpensive way to acquire the performance of an Italian V12.