by Mike –
We acquired this beautiful 1971 Lamborghini Espada 400GT in May 2016 from Stacey Charlton, the daughter of the second owner who took great care of it for 43 years. E. P. (Chuck) Charlton II** passed away in early 2015.
Chuck Charlton was a long time member of the Lamborghini Club (and I am told he helped organize the Northern California club) and lived in Hillsborough, California where this Espada spent most of its life. He acquired it in 1973 from a friend in Boulder Creek, California (in the Santa Cruz Mountains above the Bay Area) who needed to sell it.
As far as I know this is the only classic car owned by Chuck Charlton and when he bought it it was a new exotic not a classic. I asked his daughter and his mechanic if he ever owned another classic and they both said he did not and he never found another that he liked as much as the Espada.
This Lamborghini has spent its entire life in the San Francisco Bay Area and is now not far away in Monterey County. It has won many awards at several concours in the Bay Area as well as Concorso Italiano in Carmel/Monterey.
Chuck and his wife Fran drove their Lamborghini all over Northern California attending car events. It was not trailered but driven. I am happy about this today because with about 49,000 miles when we acquired it it has been well exercised over its 46 year life but not worn out.
There was a strong bond between Chuck and Fran and this Lamborghini that lasted until they both died. Stacey Charlton, their daughter, also feels this bond and she wanted to be sure it would be well cared for and loved by a new caretaker.
One of the awards earned by this Espada is the People’s Choice Award at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 1981. My former Bizzarrini GT 5300 was awarded the Owner’s Choice Award at Hillsborough in 2011. And both cars are silver with black leather interior – maybe a coincidence?
Below are photos given to me by Stacey Charlton of her father and his Lamborghini Espada from various events.
Notice the Lamborghini has not changed much from the current photos above but the fashion and hair styles of the people have changed quite a bit.
1975 – Unknown events (probably Palo Alto and/or Hillsborough)
1978 – Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance
**Earle Perry Charlton II (Chuck)
Chuck Charlton was the grandson of Earle Perry Charlton who was a co-founder of the F. W. Woolworth Company in the early 20th century. Chuck joined F.W. Woolworth Company in 1950 right after college, starting his career in Schenectady, New York. He left Woolworth in 1979 and then was a founder of an Off Price bookstore chain, Bookmania, in 1980 and opened seven stores in Northern California.
In 1982 he had the opportunity to join the founders of Ross Stores, a new startup company which opened their first seven stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he retired, seven years later, in 1989, Ross Stores had grown to 156 stores in 17 states. Today, Ross Stores has over 1000 stores in 33 states throughout the United States.
Chuck met his wife, Frances, in San Mateo, California and they settled down in Hillsborough in 1978. They were married for 38 years until she died in 2008. Their daughter Stacey survives them.
Chuck’s hobby interests included showing and judging at auto shows and concours and his 1971 Lamborghini Espada 400GT was a consistent first place winner in Northern California Auto Shows. One of the car’s highlights occurred when it received an invitation to be displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Let us know what you think in the Comments.
So far I have made only one driving video, there will be more once the rain stops – yes rain in California!