Sometimes your fame ends up becoming a curse. Lamborghini understood this during the late 1960s. The Lamborghini Miura was wreaking havoc for being an exotic machine. It had already put Lamborghini against the prestigious likes of Ferrari. In short, this was the start of relating Lamborghini to being outlandish and expensive.
Mr. Lamborghini wasn't particularly happy with the Miura but gave it the green light seeing the overwhelming response from the onlookers. He always wanted to make fast touring machines that were practical and of the highest order. By now we are pretty sure that it didn't work out (the Lamborghini Urus being an exceptional evolution).
Lamborghini is synonymous with recklessness, impracticality, and futuristic designs. Everything from the Gallardo, Reventon, and Aventador give out the same message. But during the early days, Mr. Ferruccio Lamborghini wanted to achieve the touring dream more profoundly. And that's how the Lamborghini Islero and Espada came forth.
The Espada was a four-door Lambo, whereas the Islero was the successor of the beautiful 400GT. The Islero was an impressive car with a meaty V12 underneath a simple yet sculpted body. And therein lies the problem. Being "simple" was never Lamborghini's cup of tea!
The Lamborghini Islero came in as the replacement for the iconic 400 GT. But this grand-tourer never got the fame it deserved. We tell you why.
Lamborghini Espada And Miura Took Away All The Attention
The Lamborghini Miura is known for being the poster boy of the 60s and the Espada was unique for having four doors. While the Espada didn't garner as much fame as the Miura, both these machines were still above and beyond what the Islero attracted. Lambo's cozy 2+2 sports tourer feel for its trap, the trap of being reckless.
It sure had the fame of being the iconic front-engined 400 GT's successor, but the Miura was a whole new world that people related more with. But that doesn't cloud the fact that the Lamborghini Islero was and still is one of the few tamer Lambos in the Italian automaker's history.
Packed The Same 3.9L V12 From The Lamborghini Miura
There was one thing that was common between the Miura, Espada, and Islero. It was the iconic V12 motor. Lamborghini packed its humble-looking GT car with smashing performance figures for the time. The 3.9-Liter naturally aspirated V12 was jammed at the front and churned out 325 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 276 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm.
Power was sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed synchromesh transmission. This feisty GT car could go 0-60 mph in about 7 seconds and had a top speed of around 150 mph. Things got even spicier with the Islero GTS which bumped the power to 340 horses and could do top speeds of 160 mph. The mainframe and rear suspension were shared with the 400 GT, in the standard Islero.
The GTS model got a modified rear suspension for added stability and even came with the same camshafts as the Miura S. The suspension setup was modern for its time with all-independent double wishbones at all ends and anti-roll bars to help keep a confidence for high-speed cornering.
Islero Looked Sober For A Lamborghini
And it wouldn't have if not for the Miura and the Espada. The Islero looked tame even when compared to its rivals like the Ferrari 365 GT and the Maserati Ghibli. But the final nail in its soberness was when people started appreciating the wild Miura more. Well, how could you not?! The Miura was a low-slung mid-engined coupe that was unlike anything that Lamborghini had ever done till that time.
The Islero was designed by Mario Marazzi and built by Carrozzeria Marazzi in Milan. The all-steel body was sleek and came with pop-up headlamps. The simple design was marvelous in its sense, but people wanted drama and that was delivered by its stablemates that took the thunder away from this smooth-looking 2+2 tourer.
The taillights were positioned below the single-piece bumper which was one of its distinguishing features. The GTS model had a bit more sportiness to it (not that it helped in any way!), with flared wheel arches to pack wider tires. The GTS also had a hood scoop. All Islero models came with the same magnesium Campagnolo-built rims as seen on the Miura and first-gen Espada.
Lamborghini Islero Interior Was A Fusion Of Both Worlds
The Islero's interior was a fusion of the Miura's sportiness and the Espada's practicality. It carried forward the same formula used in the 400 GT but was revamped for a more modern outlook at the time. But the Islero's interior failed in quality as there were a lot of sub-par components. This was a bummer because its predecessors like the 350 GT and 400 GT were known for their Carrozzeria touring craftsmanship.
But there was no death of comfort features as the Islero and the GTS models come with air-conditioning as standard. The cabin was lavishly wrapped in leather, including the buckets seats and second-row bench seats. The steering and windows were power-assisted, and the GTS also came with heated windows. But the Islero was in a bit of a pickle as it couldn't be as sporty as the Miura nor as spacious as the Espada.
The Islero Is Finally Getting Its Due Credit
People are finally appreciating this long-forgotten icon. The Lamborghini Islero was a capable grand tourer but came out during the wrong time with the wrong company. The price of a used Islero averages at around the $250,000 mark and certain specimens have also gone past the $500,000 mark which is very impressive for a car that was once sidelined. Only 225 units of the Islero (125 Islero, and 100 Islero S models) were ever made, and we are pretty sure its value will shoot up in value over time. So, now is the perfect time to own a very underrated Lamborghini.
Sources: Media.lamborghini.com, Hagerty.com, Topspeed.com, Lambocars.com