Ferruccio Lamborghini was one of the wealthiest industrialists in Italy and a Ferrari owner, but he considered Ferraris unrefined as grand touring cars – suited only for racing. Enzo Ferrari responded angrily, insulting Lamborghini who immediately set out to create a better grand touring car than Ferrari with the world’s richest and most powerful as the desired audience.
The first Lamborghini was introduced just four months later at the 1963 Turin Auto Show. Lamborghini constructed a modern production facility near Bologna and completed 273 two-seat front-engine 3.5-liter V-12 350 GT coupes in 1964, the first year of production. That car quickly became the 400 GT with a larger 3.9-liter V-12 and 2+2 seating. The spectacular mid-engine V-12 Miura unveiled in chassis-only form at the Turin Auto Show in 1965 was intended as a display car, but went into production as the worlds first Supercar in 1966. The Miura was followed two years later by the revolutionary Espada, fulfilling Lamborghini’s vision of a true grand touring car seating four adults in luxury with performance and styling as dramatic as anything Lamborghini had previously produced.
Lamborghini later described the Espada as “my Rolls-Royce; still quite fast but also large and comfortable”. The Espada was styled by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, who also styled the Miura, derived from the earlier Lamborghini Marzal concept car. The Espada was powered by the same Giotto Bizzarrini-designed 3.9-liter 60-degree dohc V-12 engine as the Miura, mounted in the front of the car driving the rear wheels through a 5-speed Lamborghini gearbox. Like all Lamborghinis of the period, chassis development was undertaken under joint heads of the technical department: Giampaolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani. In production trim, the Espada was capable of a top speed of 155 mph, making it then the fastest four-passenger automobile in the world. The Espada was offered in three series [S1, S2, S3] between 1968 and 1978 with running changes and slight differences between series. A total of only 1,217 Espadas were produced, still making it the most successful of all Lamborghini models up to that time.
The Espada Series III offered here is finished in classic Rosso red with a light tan leather interior. The car has been repainted to a very high standard, with straight panels and very good panel fit throughout. The car is equipped with signature knock-off Campagnolo magnesium alloy wheels. The interior has never been restored and is in good original condition. Beautiful supple leather covers the seats, door panels, center console and trim. The stylish suede-covered Series III dashboard is in very good condition and is one of the most distinguishing interior features, placing most of the gauges and controls directly in front of the driver and re-positioning the Philips am/fm cassette player to the driver’s left. Aluminum trim on the dashboard and console and a leather wrapped steering wheel both replaced wood used in earlier series, updating and brightening the control area considerably. The floor area, doorsills and the large, flat cargo area are all covered with a darker plush carpet, and it is hard to say enough good things about the superlative rear seats. The underhood area is nicely detailed to a standard complimenting the rest of the car. Mechanically, the car runs and drives wonderfully. Included with the sale are tools, a jack, spare belts, owner’s and radio manuals.
This is a very pretty car; an important part of early Lamborghini history, cars that are increasingly being appreciated by collectors and investors alike. The Espada cost more than a Miura when new. Added to the visual and investment appeal is the fact that this car can also be enjoyed regularly in any number of ways. Drives or dinners with children or another couple, regional and marque events, and – as it was originally intended – fast, long distance touring in comfort and luxury are all engaging possibilities.
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