In the late 1960s, Lamborghini’s young and gifted chief engineer Gian Paolo Dallara had departed for Williams Grand Prix, leaving his protégé Paolo Stanzani in charge. Stanzani had worked closely with Dallara on the revolutionary Miura as well as the Espada. One of Stanzani’s first tasks was to design the replacement for the Islero, a car which traced its roots to the first 400GT 2+2, and which was being killed off by American safety and emissions standards.
Utilizing the existing Espada sheet-steel platform, Stanzani lopped a full 10 inches out of the length and sharpened it up for a more sporting edge. The Espada’s 4-liter V12 remained essentially unchanged, producing 350 horsepower, which was enough to push the new Jarama to 162 mph. Lamborghini’s favored Carrozzeria Bertone penned the new car’s body, which bore a strong family resemblance to the Espada but was unique from front to rear. The Jarama design is a magnificent expression of late-60s Italian flair. The fastback profile is low and squat, with dramatically flared fenders, sharp lines, and a subtly upswept roof. NACA ducts, side air exits, and the knock-off Miura-style wheels give the car a real sense of purpose and theater. A fabulous high-speed GT car, the Jarama was reported to be Ferruccio Lamborghini’s favorite model next to the Islero; high praise indeed from the man whose name was emblazoned on the boot lid.
One of the rarest of all regular production Lamborghinis, this 1972 Jarama 400 GT is one of just 177 400 GTs built (an additional 150 GTS models followed) and without a doubt, one of the most distinct. This particular car carries chassis number 10228, the 115th Jarama produced and delivered new to Modena Sports Cars of New York on the 23rd of March 1972. Having covered just 45,000 miles, it presents today in wonderful condition, appearing largely unrestored save for a high-quality respray in a very handsome metallic green along with a freshened interior. The paintwork is excellent, the dark metallic green suiting the Bertone style quite well. Body panels are straight and crisp with consistent gaps and good fit. Exterior trim and moldings appear very original; the razor’s edge chrome bumpers and glass trims all very straight and attractive. If there were a prize for “coolest wheels ever”, this car’s fabulous Miura-style Campagnolos with their distinct three-eared knock-offs would most certainly be in the running.
The Jarama’s interior styling is also inspired by the bigger Espada, but in 2+2 configuration and with a more sporting attitude. This car’s natural tan leather is beautifully presented, with excellent oatmeal square-weave carpeting lining the floors. Being the proper GT car, it was equipped from new with air conditioning and electric windows. A row of switches line the dash ahead of the driver, which are all in good working order, and the original instruments are mounted in a factory correct wood surround, complementing the steering wheel and shift knob. As with the seats, the upholstery on the center console and door panels is in very good condition. The headliner is an excellent original, showing no sagging, damage or stains. The pair of vestigial rear seats can be folded flat for additional cargo space and the AM/FM radio is mounted in the most Italian of places… at the driver’s elbow in the center console, facing forward. Despite the unconventional layout, the controls fall naturally to the hand in a way that only an Italian designer could figure out. These quirks seem to add to the appeal of the Jarama; it is a wholly unconventional performance car and yet completely unmistakable as a Lamborghini.
At the heart of the beast lays Lamborghini’s masterpiece: The four-liter quad-cam V12 breathing through a sextet of side draught Weber carburetors. This engine served as the basis for all V12 Lamborghinis through the Murcielago, so it is well proven to be strong and reliable when properly looked after. In Jarama GT spec, it produces 350 horsepower over a broad and flexible band, perfectly suited for the grand touring nature of the Jarama. It also sits well back in the chassis, giving exceptional handling balance. This example runs strong, nicely presented in very clean and tidy condition. That radio isn’t really necessary given the way the V12 bellows its soundtrack through the dual ANSA exhausts. Power is sent rearward through a 5-speed manual gearbox with stiff but positive action, and the 4-wheel disc brakes are strong, returning a fabulous driving experience.
One of the rarest and most fascinating production Lamborghinis of all time, the Jarama 400 GT is an oft overlooked and underrated twelve-cylinder performance car, though collectors are finally taking notice of its unique qualities. This is a beautiful, low mileage and fine driving example that is ready for long drives or carving your favorite back roads.