The Espada Series of cars were Lamborghini’s most successful model at the time. 3 different models of the car were produced though distinguishing some cars is difficult. The rule of thumb seems to be that S1 cars had chassis numbers beginning with 7, S2 beginning with 8 and S3 beginning with 9. Since Lamborghini always made running changes in mid-production many models had features of previous or next series cars.
The first of these changes was moving the engine to the front which enabled the use of Lamborghini’s V12 and transmission from previous front engined cars. The first attempt at redesign by Gandini is in my opinion one of the ugliest of his career mostly due to the side window treatment. The basic shape of the Lamborghini Espada was visible and eventually gave way to its present and proper form.
The final design was a full four seater, though it had only 2 doors. The Espada can even carry up to 10 cubic feet of luggage in the rear without blocking vision. The Espada looks quite large at 186.5 inches in overall length, 73.3 inches wide and only 46.7 inches tall but actually has a small car feel once under way. While not everyone will appreciate its appearance, it does grow on you after a while.
The Series II Espada was actually known as the 400GTE. It made its first appearance at the 1970 Brussels show. The most noticable difference on this car was the new dashboard layout. Rear seat passengers benefitted from additional ventilation and the addition of lighting mounted in the centre arm rest. Chassis numbers for Series II cars began with the number 8.
Ventilated brakes were added all around and a later running change brought new five-bolt wheels to replace the centre locking Miura rims. Lobro CV joints were added to the rear halfshafts and power steering became optional. The big change came with the compression boost to 10.7:1 as on the Miura S. Power increased to 325bhp at 7500rpm.
The Series III Espada was introduced at the 1973 Turin show. It can be recognised by a mildly restyled nose and taillights, and a chassis number beginning with the number 9. The ZF power steering system was improved and air conditioning became standard equipment. Spring and shock rates were altered and brake power was increased.
The most obvious visual difference was once again found in the dash area. This now wraped around the driver and the centre console became more upright at the front. A sunroof became optional as did a Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic tranmission. 55 Espadas were built with this automatic, 5 of which were RHDs.