My Car Quest

August 11, 2020

The Lamborghini Espada And Islero At The Quail

by Mike –

Eleven Espadas and ten Isleros were at The Quail, A Motor Sport Gathering on Friday August 24, 2018 in Carmel, California celebrating the 50th anniversary of each model.

Lamborghini Espada

Lamborghini Espada

This must be the largest gathering of Espadas and Isleros since the factory stopped making them.

One of the Espadas was mine and I had a visit from two well known TV personalities, plus Valentino Balboni (the famed Lamborghini test driver) and other interesting car lovers during the day.

Lamborghini Islero

Lamborghini Islero


The Espada seems like a big car from the outside but is very low to the ground. From the inside you see there is enough room for four normal sized adults to ride in comfort. It is a real GT (grand touring) car with room on the inside and the looks of a sports car.

Lamborghini Espada

Lamborghini intended this to be the family GT car for long road trips. It was in production from 1968 to 1978 and is less than 47 inches from the ground to the top of the roof. Compare that to the Bizzarrini GT 5300 which is 43 inches high! The Bizzarrini was designed to be an all out race car and the Lamborghini was designed to be a family car.

Lamborghini Espada

Lamborghini Espada

If you see an Espada with other cars around it will likely be the most startling looking car. This is not a car for shy people, it will attract attention, like it or not. The styling is by Marcello Gandini at Bertone and a little more than 1200 were made from 1968 to 1978.

Valentino Balboni and Mike Gulett

Valentino Balboni Autographed Mike Gulett’s Espada


The Lamborghini Islero was the replacement for the 400GT and was manufactured between 1968 and 1969 with a total of 225 examples being made (100 of those were the ‘S’ version with 350 hp compared to the base model with 325 hp). It is essentially a rebody of the 400GT and is closely related to the Espada. The styling is by Mario Marazzi at Carrozzeria Marazzi.

Lamborghini Islero

Lamborghini Islero


Under the hood of both the Espada and Islero is the Giotto Bizzarrini/Giampaolo Dallara designed V12 aluminum alloy masterpiece of an engine with its 4-camshafts and six Weber carburetors feeding fuel to the nearly four liter displacement.

Lamborghini Espada engine

Some say that the Islero was Ferruccio Lamborghini’s favorite although the Espada sold many more. Which one do you like best?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.



More photos are in the slide shows below.

Lamborghini at The Quail

The Lamborghini Espada And Islero At The Quail
Article Name
The Lamborghini Espada And Islero At The Quail
This must be the largest gathering of Lamborghini Espadas and Isleros since the factory stopped making them.


  1. Sad to see NO Iso pics from Monterey this year!

  2. I’m watching a friend restore a Espada and it is a painstaking task, so many little hand made parts and devices in that engine compartment, no easy task. Lamborghini packed a lot of gear into that car.

    • Bernard Tilanus says

      Yes I am also restoring a Espada 9238 1973.
      Lots and lots of cleaning and revamping old parts.
      Engine was stripped 30 years ago, and I did not strip, it was stripped by someone else.
      Hopefully will have it running by End December 2018
      I comes from South Africa, Johannesburg, where I used to live, now live in Charlotte NC.

  3. Thanks for photos of my black Espada. I enjoyed being there, great cars and fine friends.

  4. Islero is a favorite, so under stated while sleek / Italian & attention drawing…
    Styling apparently is polarizing to many, Islero & Espada from era when Lambo & others eg.: Ferrari, did
    GTs that were the definitive gentleman’s express… Amazing as on subject, that design of Ferrari’s 400 coupes, as angular & IMHO; attractive as Islero , are small % of a Islero $ ??? Same era & both were too of line flagships for manufacturers, w/ loads of speed via 12 cylinder power & luxurious GT trappings. Islero might be slightly
    rather than 400/400i /412 i although, not more than 1200 or so of the Ferrari in all those variations over 20 years or about of production, not much rarer.. Believe the downfall or differential issue is majority … perhaps 70%!of the Ferrari 400i production was automatic transmission equipped , which made it a big sales success but killed fun factor for driving & collectibility… recall the Lambo was once within reach financially, sadly no more as on short list…

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