In 2018, many classic cars will be celebrating their anniversaries, including the beautiful Lamborghini Espada. Designed by Marcello Gandini, the Espada’s wedge-shaped body made it very distinctive. The Espada name is Spanish for ‘sword’ and it refers to the blade that a bullfighter uses to kill a bull in the arena. In honour of the Espada’s 50th anniversary, we’re looking into the history of the model.
A wedge-shaped wonder
The concept for the Espada came during a time of success for Lamborghini. Previous models like the Miura were popular with the public, so the company developed a full four-seat GT. The Espada’s design was inspired by the Lamborghini Marzal and Jaguar Pirana. Certain elements were incorporated into the car, though the Espada came with a monocoque steel body. It also featured independent suspension and a 3929 cc V12 engine. The interior came with four bucket seats and a wide dashboard.
The Espada debuted at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show, but only 37 were built during this period. The volume steadily increased and the Series II was introduced in 1970 at the Brussels Motor Show. There were only a few minor changes, such as the grille being removed from the vertical glass panel on the back of the Espada. The interior also received an upgraded dashboard. 575 Series II models were produced, making it the most popular version of the Espada.
In 1972, Lamborghini released the Series III model, which came with a 3.9-litre V12 engine. The exterior had a hexagon-shaped mesh grille and the tail lights were sourced from the Alfa Romeo 2000. The interior featured an aluminium-trimmed cockpit that made all the instruments easily accessible to the driver. New wheels were installed and that made the Series III more recognisable.
The Espada stayed in production until 1978, when the Lamborghini Faena was introduced at the Turin Motor Show. The car was developed as a one-off 4-door sedan based on the Espada.
There’s been talk of reviving the Espada a few times. In 1999, there were rumours of a new one in the works, but this was at a time when Lamborghini wanted to focus on a successor to the Diablo. Nothing came of the talk beyond a few drawings. Rumours started up again when it was reported that Lamborghini wanted to bring back the Espada in 2009, though no such car manifested.
Today, the Espada can be considered a collector’s item and is certainly one of Lamborghini’s most impressive offerings.