Lot 249: Lamborghini Espada Series II Coupé
Carrozzeria Bertone unveiled one of its motor show sensations at the 1967 Geneva event, the Marzal. This dramatic concept car was seen as an approach to a four-seat Lamborghini... and it turned out to be a forerunner of the Espada, a genuine four-seater and a distinctive 1960s supercar.' David Hodges, 'Lamborghini The Legend'. Ferruccio Lamborghini's first production car, the Touring-styled 350GT, had debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. The work of two of Italy's most illustrious automobile designers, the 350GT featured a glorious 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, housed in a chassis penned by Gianpaolo Dallara. The 350GT's four camshafts and all-independent suspension meant that it upstaged the best that Ferrari offered at the time; but to compete with his Maranello rival's larger models, Lamborghini needed a nominal four-seater and the 4.0-litre 400GT 2+2 duly appeared in 1966. Despite its novice status as an automobile manufacturer, Lamborghini had quickly dispelled any lingering doubts about its ability to compete with the world's best Gran Turismos. Named after a matador's sword, the Espada was styled along lines similar to those of the stillborn, rear-engined, six-cylinder Marzal but carried its 4.0-litre, four-cam V12 up front. The latter - first seen in the 400GT and used also by the contemporary Islero - produced 325bhp, an output sufficient to propel the distinctive, Bertone-styled coupé to 240km/h. Islero running gear was employed but wedded to a platform-type, semi-monocoque chassis rather than the former's tubular frame. Introduced in January 1970, the Series II cars came with an extra 25bhp, 250km/h top speed, an improved dashboard layout and the option of power assisted steering. The dashboard was revised yet again in late 1972 for the Series III, which also incorporated power steering as standard, up-rated brakes, minor suspension improvements and a restyled front grille. Espada production ceased in 1978 after 1,217 of these imposing cars had been built. The car offered here is a Series II model that has been fitted with the power steering from a Series III. Chassis number '7990' has been treated to a comprehensive 'rotisserie' restoration by local craftsmen in Italy, and since completion in 2011 has covered only 500 kilometres. Works carried out include rebuilding the engine, gearbox, suspension and body, plus an interior re-trim. Finished in the beautiful colour combination of Blue Notte (Night Blue) with Grigio Ghiacco (Ice Grey) leather interior, this stunning car is described as in generally excellent condition and comes with Italian libretto and a complete photographic record of the restoration.
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