My Car Quest

April 23, 2024

The Nature of Beauty and Style

by Mike Gulett –

There are some classic cars that have universal, or near universal, appeal. Almost all of us love the Lamborghini Miura, the Mercedes 300SL, the Ferrari 275 GTB, the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and the Iso Grifo.

But what about models that have something “special” even though they may not be universally loved? I am thinking about the Lamborghini Espada, which is special to me, and to many others, but maybe not to all.

Lamborghini Espada

You have to admit that Marcello Gandini of Bertone really expanded the boundaries of what can be thought of as beautiful car design with the Espada (as he did with a few other designs).

The Espada is a functional grand touring car in that it carries four adult size people in style and comfort quickly. In order to accommodate two people in the backseat (and provide storage space) the roof line continues at a mild slope all the way to the back where it abruptly ends in a Kamm tail.

Lamborghini Espada

The Espada profile reminds me of the Ferrari 250 Breadvan a little or a shooting brake (station wagon). A Kamm tail design improves the aerodynamics and has been used by many designers of race cars like the Shelby Cobra Daytona, Ford GT40, Iso A3/C (Bizzarrini GT 5300) and many others.

Under that rear glass hatch is quite a large luggage space that sits over a full size spare tire. There is enough luggage space for four occupants to be comfortable on a multi-day road trip.

Lamborghini Espada

Espada luggage space

The V12 engine sits in front and is placed a little more forward than some other cars, which helps provide more interior space and improved comfort. The Espada is not a high performance sports/race car but instead is a real GT car meant for long drives at highway speeds.

Lamborghini Espada Engine

Lamborghini Espada

Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Breadvan, Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada and Lamborghini Espada

In the photos below you can compare the side view of the Espada on the bottom to the Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Breadvan and Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada.

Note the Espada has a roof shape similar to the Breadvan. The Espada wheelbase is a few inches longer than the other three.

From Top to Bottom: Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Breadvan, Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada & Lamborghini Espada

From Top to Bottom: Ferrari 250 GTO, Ferrari 250 Breadvan, Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada & Lamborghini Espada

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 intended this to be the family GT car for long road trips. It 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.

If you see an Espada with other cars around it will likely be the most startling looking car and have the lowest roof. This is not a car for shy people, it will attract attention, like it or not. All of the parameters, which allow for four people to ride in style and comfort impact the exterior styling and eye appeal.

My tastes evolve as I mature. What once was unusual or even odd may now be elegant and sophisticated. That is the Lamborghini Espada for me today.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Lamborghini Espada No. 8155



There is an interesting Espada for auction on Bring a Trailer.

Lamborghini Espada Cutaway

Lamborghini Logo

A version of this article was originally posted in April 2016.
The Nature of Beauty and Style
Article Name
The Nature of Beauty and Style
Classic car beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the owner especially when considering the Lamborghini Espada.


  1. Art Harvey says

    The Espada is an excellent choice to illustrate that intangible, personal perception of style.

    Look at that black/white profile photo – how could anyone not LOVE that shape? And the details; concealing the gas filler behind an air-extraction louver, the glass at the kamm tail, not to speak of the full glass hatch, and the sheer audacity of the four full bucket seat layout (also offered by Dodge in their equally love-it-or-hate-it first generation Charger). The wide, flat and low hood with NACA intakes.. the center mount aerial on the roof, details not found anymore.. what a tremendous design. Easy for me to love. I can understand if the same elements are hard for others.

    As you note, your tastes evolve over time.. thank goodness for that. How boring life would be without personal change. The Maserati Bora and Khamsin represent the designs that have grown on me. The more I look, the more I see, the more I like them, love them. One design that’s waiting for my taste to catch up to it is the Bizzarrini. I’m not quite there yet.

    Thank you,
    – Art Harvey

    • Thanks for the comments Art. I also like the Bora and Khamsin and with time I suspect you will learn to appreciate the Bizzarrini GT 5300 – especially when you see one in person.

  2. Mark D. Carbone says

    I have a Gold 1/18 AutoArt Espada coming in the mail.

    Already have a 1/18 B.o.S. Iso Grifo IR8 Metallic Gold / Green, and a 1/18 Maserati Ghibli in Blue.
    Trying to decide which Bizzarrini GT 5300 to buy.

    Your sight is great ! Thanks for putting it out !

  3. Jack Nelson says

    Many many cars come to be “loved” over time by others who in the past may have not appreciated their bold break from “traditional design”……the Espada is a prime example. I find it is a sign of thoughtfulness (maturity?) as one’s tastes & opinions evolve (change) over time; too bad the same does not apply to politics…..a candidate is a “flip flopper” or worse…. god-forbid that their positions on issues “evolve”, what a pity.

    Looking forward to pics of your latest,
    Jack Nelson

  4. Sorry, Mike, but the breadvan looks as if it was designed by Divco and you know I have similar thoughts about the Espada from previous comments. Never liked the “squashed down, spread-out” school of car design but, as you say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    I suggest, for real beauty, you consider the small block AC Cobra and/or the 1965 GT-350. Classic, beautiful, timeless and appreciated by all but a few. Try one, you’ll like it.

  5. Glenn Scott Krasner says

    Comparing apples and oranges here, but when I was growing up in the 1970’s, I despised every car put out by AMC (remember them?), but now when I see an old Gremlin (another Kammback), Javelin, Concord,
    or even a Pacer, I realize I was an idiot, and they were actually ahead of the curve. The AMC Eagle was the first 4-wheel drive “crossover”, 35 years before such cars became commonplace today. Glenn in Brooklyn, NY.

    • Glenn,

      AMC was a trend setter, too bad they are not still around. I considered buying an AMC Eagle in the 1980s. I thought they were cool and since I lived in Colorado at the time a 4-wheel drive was practical.

  6. David Beale says
    Beautiful! Best balanced damn thing ever translated into metal.
    Makes Mustang fastbacks look like baby carriages…..
    And I LIKE Mustang fastbacks
    1969 Espada Serie 1.5-2 7969 in deep anthracite. [Build Serie2, registration Serie 1, engine 400GTE]
    Originally silver and pale blue metallic…………

  7. David Beale says

    They should have stuck with the BC Fiat 124 Sport tail lights. Far more classy than those blobby CC things.

  8. Bruce Caron says

    Mike -did they all come with a free blond bombshell in the luggage compartment? I don’t remember seeing the one that came with your Espada.

  9. …all of these comments! You’ve to go see the latest James Bond movie while you can. Talk about an infusion for beautiful car enthusiasts like us.

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