Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures
2021 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpaby Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 04:10
We love celebrating car birthdays and this year is the Lamborghini Jalpa’s 40th anniversary. The car that was once considered the entry-level Lamborghini has now become 40 years old, having been produced between 1981 and 1988. With only 410 units produced, it certainly is rare and prices have started to reflect that. Here’s a brief overview of the 1980s “Baby Lambo”.
The car made its debut at the 1981 Geneva Auto Show, alongside the LM001 prototype, which would later take the form of the production Lamborghini LM002, also known as the “Rambo Lambo”. The Jalpa’s wedge-shaped design, courtesy of Giulio Alfieri, who at the time worked for Bertone, is typical for the 1980s and often compared to cars like the DeTomaso Pantera.
In true Lamborghini tradition, the Jalpa was named after a breed of fighting bulls - Jalpa Kandachia. A tradition later continued by the 2003 Lamborghini Gallardo - the brand’s most successful model to that point and the Jalpa’s direct successor as the "baby Lambo".
The Last V-8 Lamborghini
Of course, nowadays, we have the Lamborghini Urus, which has a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8, but between 1988 and 2018, the Italian brand focused mostly on its V-12-powered flagships. Unlike other Lamborghini models, the Jalpa only came in one flavor – P350. This meant a 3.5-liter, 90-degree, all-aluminum V-8 with four Weber 42 DCNF twin-carburetors. The engine had a 9.2:1 compression ratio and was good for 255 horsepower at 7,000 RPM and 225 pound-feet (305 Nm) at 3,500 RPM.
Moreover, like in the Lamborghini Miura, the Jalpa’s V-8 was transversely-mounted, as opposed to the more conventional, longitudinal mid-engine layout. The Jalpa was the final evolution of the Urraco and Silhouette, with which it shared the same basic architecture. Urraco was the first V-8-powered Lamborghini and the Jalpa’s predecessor, while the Silhouette was essentially an early-stage Jalpa with an Urraco 3.0-liter V-8 engine, produced in 54 copies, between 1976 and 1979.
The Jalpa sent power to the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox with a gated shifter. With a weight of 3,329 pounds (1,510 kg), the 1980s “Baby Lambo” was said to be capable of 6.0 seconds to 60 mph (97 km/h), on its way to 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed. Car and Driver actually managed a 5.8-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph. While not able to match the V-12 power of the Lamborghini Countach, performance was still impressive for the time.
The Lamborghini Jalpa had only one body style. It was offered as a Targa, with a removable top, designed by Frenchman Franc Deschamps, of Carrozzeria Bertone. The only notable revision to the Jalpa design came in 1984 when the “second series” Jalpa was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show. The main changes were the body-colored bumpers (as opposed to being black on earlier cars), rounded headlights, and a revised interior.
Lamborghini Jalpa was the “affordable” Lambo, back in the day, but even then, the show was stolen by the V-12-powered Countach. Because of this, you could have a Jalpa for under $30,000. Nowadays, things have changed and you need to pay around $100,000 for a clean example. That said, under Audi ownership, Lamborghini has become a tad more sensible than it used to be, so who’s to say the Jalpa name won’t return at some point, as the brand’s next “affordable” model?