In the realm of automobiles, rivalry acts as a relentless driving force for progress, an undeniable truth especially prevalent in the automotive industry. Lamborghini, driven by an unyielding desire to leave Ferrari in the dust, has come up with a plethora of awe-inspiring creations.

However, a pivotal juncture arises where manufacturers take a leap of faith and embark on audacious experiments, occasionally birthing controversial offspring. A case in point is the 1970 Lamborghini Jarama, the fifth gem to emerge from the prestigious Sant’Agata Bolognese-based company. It stands as a stark reminder that delving into uncharted territory does not always bear the fruits of success. While every Lamborghini model is etched into our collective memory, the Jarama’s indelible mark is left for all the wrong reasons. Its aesthetic appeal falls short, begging the question: What underlying philosophy shaped its unconventional form?

Contrary to Ferrari’s pursuit of crafting road-legal race cars, Lamborghini chose a distinct path. Ferruccio, the visionary behind the brand, sought to showcase that Italian sports cars need not subject their occupants to a harsh ride or the feeling of being trapped in a race car. Instead, he aspired to create a fast grand tourer, laying the foundation with the groundbreaking 1964 Lamborghini 350 GT. Merely two years later, in 1966, it metamorphosed into the more potent 400 GT, coinciding with the introduction of the iconic Lamborghini Miura, a supercar that would forever occupy the hallowed halls of automotive history.

Following the introduction of the 1968 Lamborghini Islero and the striking 1968 Lamborghini Espada, boasting a distinctive coupe body style akin to a shooting brake, the renowned automaker sought to create a slightly more conventional 2+2 grand tourer. Thus, in 1970, the Lamborghini Jarama emerged onto the scene. With its angular design masterminded by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, who also lent his creative genius to the Espada, the Jarama presented a 2+2 layout. The rear of the Jarama sloped, evoking a hatchback-like appearance, despite concealing a conventional trunk within.

Straying from the typical proportions seen in sports cars, the Jarama sported an unusually generous amount of front and rear overhang, amplifying its overall idiosyncratic aesthetic. A distinctive hallmark of the Jarama was its pop-up headlights, peeking from beneath their recessed position, a design reminiscent of the Alfa Romeo Montreal, also birthed in the same year and envisioned by Marcello Gandini at the Bertone design studio.

Unveiling the Lamborghini Jarama's Bold Pursuit of Grand Touring Supremacy

Photo: Supercar Nostalgia

Lamborghini, known for bestowing its cars with names inspired by formidable bulls, adhered to this tradition with the Jarama, albeit not entirely. While a racing circuit named Jarama in Madrid, Spain, exists, Ferruccio chose to name the 2+2 grand tourer after the Jarama river region in Spain, renowned for breeding fierce fighting bulls. Nevertheless, the connection to the spirit of bulls, an enduring Lamborghini motif, remains faithfully intact.

Lamborghini’s initial lineup featured a shared V12 engine meticulously crafted by the talented engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, renowned for his work at Ferrari and Iso. This mighty power plant, albeit with varying degrees of tuning, propelled the first Lamborghini model, the 350 GT, with a displacement of 3.5 liters and outputting 280 hp/284 ps (209 kilowatts) and 240 pound-feet (325 Nm) of torque. Subsequent versions, including the Jarama, embraced a larger 3.9-liter displacement.

The Jarama’s heart, the Italian V12, roared to life, delivering a spirited performance ranging from 350 to 365 hp (261 to 272 kilowatts/355 ps to 370 ps) and 289 to 302 pound-feet (392 to 410 Nm) of torque. The power was gracefully transmitted to the rear wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed TorqueFlite 727 automatic transmission, the latter available as an option with the Jarama S. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) varied between approximately 6.4 to 6.8 seconds, ultimately surging towards an impressive top speed of 162 mph (260 kph) to 165 mph (266 kph).

Presently, Lamborghini boasts the ability to produce thousands of cars, particularly with models like the Huracan and Urus. However, the 1970s painted a different picture, and the Lamborghini Jarama stood as one of the more widely produced V12-powered models of its era, with a total of 328 units crafted between 1970 and 1976. Amongst these, 176 exemplified the standard Jarama model, while the remaining 152 took the form of the Jarama S/GTS variant.

Unveiling the Lamborghini Jarama's Bold Pursuit of Grand Touring Supremacy

Photo: Bring a Trailer

For context, the combined production figures of the Lamborghini 350 GT and 400 GT amounted to 367 units, including 120 of the earlier 350 GT iterations. Another grand tourer, the Islero, witnessed a limited production run of 225 units, spanning just two model years (1968 and 1969). Outshining the Jarama in terms of volume, the Miura and Espada emerged as the more prevalent V12-powered models of that era, with 764 and 1,217 units, respectively.

During the development of the Lamborghini Miura, the skilled test driver Bob Wallace, who had a hand in its creation, undertook an intriguing project involving the Lamborghini Jarama S. With meticulous modifications, he achieved a remarkable 53/47 weight distribution by shifting the 3.9-liter V12 engine further rearward.

The revised power plant now unleashed 375 hp/381 ps (280 kilowatts) at 8,000 rpm and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) of torque at 5,750 rpm, matching the esteemed Lamborghini Miura 400SV output. As a result, the Jarama exhibited breathtaking performance, sprinting from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in under 5.0 seconds and effortlessly cruising at speeds reaching 168 mph (270 kph).

Dubbed the Lamborghini “Bob” in honor of the passionate test driver, this extraordinary Jarama Rally version sported a heavily-modified aluminum body, eliminating its distinctive “eyelids.” This transformation drastically reduced the car’s weight to a mere 2,580 pounds (1,170 kg), a staggering 660 pounds (300 kg) lighter than the stock variant’s 3,197 pounds (1,450 kg). Notable enhancements included center-lock wheels and Koni shocks.

Unveiling the Lamborghini Jarama's Bold Pursuit of Grand Touring Supremacy

Photo: Bring a Trailer

Originally conceived for racing purposes, the car never realized its competitive ambitions. In 1990, reports surfaced of a restoration taking place in the United Kingdom, preserving the unique one-off specimen.

While classic Lamborghini models possess an undeniable allure, the vintage V12-powered vehicles command the strongest desire and collectability. Suddenly, the eccentric-looking Jarama emerges as a tantalizing bargain, representing the allure of classic Italian sports cars.


By admin