In the early 1970s, Bertone’s brilliant chief designer Marcello Gandini was developing a new show car for one of Italy’s wealthiest men-and its newest automaker-Ferrucio Lamborghini. Lamborghini’s intent was to create superlative grand touring cars for the world’s richest and most powerful men. Having started with the graceful 350 GT and 400 GT 2+2, he then began to focus on a successor-still powerful and agile, but more comfortable for long-distance travel.
The result was the Marzal, which debuted to critical acclaim at the Geneva auto show in March 1967. Low and sleek, and powered by a rear-mounted six, it was as revolutionary at the time as the Countach would be later. The production version-the Espada-was introduced the next year, powered by Lamborghini’s front-mounted 350-bhp dual overhead camshaft V12.
With true four-place seating in a 46.5-inch tall form, the Espada was unlike any previous GT. As Road & Track said in its July 1969 road test, “. the most satisfactory combination of four-passenger seating and practicality with thoroughbred GT performance and appearance we’ve yet encountered.”
The first Espadas had heavy steering, but power steering became optional in the Series II cars and standard with the third version. To get more room inside, the chassis was longer and widened. The second series Espada was given a more powerful engine, as well as bigger bumpers on American versions to meet US safety regulations.
Finished in a hunter green with factory-original light and dark brown leather interior, this Espada is complete with a host of options and amenities, including the Blaupunkt push-button AM/FM radio, factory air conditioning, fog lights and correct Michelin tires. It is understood to have been garage-kept for its existence and is in very tidy overall condition. The Lamborghini Espada is a highly civilized and practical sports car, whether on the congested streets of Los Angeles, New York City or on the open road. With air conditioning, power steering and power brakes, its drivability is superb, while the Espada’s small vertical window behind the luggage shelf provides excellent visibility in parking and traffic-a benefit no doubt anticipated by Bertone.