Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures

2021 celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa

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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”.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures
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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

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures
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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.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures
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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.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Lamborghini Jalpa With These Awesome Pictures
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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?

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
About the author

This year, Lamborghini celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Jalpa, presented for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1981.

In keeping with Lamborghini tradition, the Jalpa takes its name from a breed of fighting bulls, the Jalpa Kandachia, and is the Sant’Agata Bolognese carmaker’s last evolution of the grand touring sedan concept with 8-cylinder engine mounted in a rear-mid position. The Jalpa is the final development of the Urraco and Silhouette project, retaining the general architecture, but equipped with a larger engine, increased to 3.5 liters. The line, with the Targa opening roof, was designed by Frenchman Marc Deschamps of Carrozzeria Bertone, where he was style director from 1980, and directly influenced and partially designed by Giulio Alfieri, who was General Manager and Technical Director of Lamborghini at the time.

The most significant technical innovation on the Jalpa is the final evolution of the 90° V8 engine, made completely of aluminum, with four chain-controlled overhead camshafts, originally installed on the Urraco and Silhouette. Thanks to the increased bore, the 3.5-liter displacement (3485 cc), powered by 4 Weber 42 DCNF twin carburetors, and a compression ratio of 9.2:1, this engine delivers a maximum power of 255 HP at 7000 rpm and a maximum torque of 32 kgm at 3500 rpm, enabling the Jalpa to reach a maximum speed of 248 km/h (155 mph).

The Jalpa prototype, the car presented in Geneva, has a special story. It is based on a Silhouette which, once produced, was never sold. It went back to the factory and was used as the basis for the new model. The Jalpa presented in Geneva in 1981 is easily recognizable by its special metallic bronze color and has some unique aesthetic features that were not used on the production car. The Jalpa, which entered into production in 1982, has a semi-supporting steel body, and black bumpers and engine air intakes, as well as horizontal rear lamps and 16” alloy wheels, taken directly from the Athon prototype, with Pirelli P7 low-profile tires. The interior of the Jalpa is luxuriously finished, with the extensive use of leather and carpeting. The opening roof, designed to facilitate removal and reassembly, can be stored in a special space behind the rear seats.In the numerous road tests that appeared in specialist magazines at the time, experts enthusiastically described its straightforward, engaging, and uncompromising road handling.

At the 1984 Geneva Motor Show, the “second series” Jalpa was presented, featuring some aesthetic modifications, such as the bumpers and air intakes in the same color as the bodywork, rounded rear lamps, and revamped interior. The commercial life of the Jalpa ended in 1988 after the production of 420 cars. It was the last Lamborghini sedan produced with a V8 engine and historically it is the last sports car of this class to feature this particular engine displacement and positioning. Conceptually, the Jalpa is the direct predecessor of the 2003 Gallardo, which was to become one of the most sold Lamborghini cars in history.

Units produced

Lamborghini Jalpa: 1981-1987, 420

Lamborghini , inaugurated in 2015, is the division of Automobili Lamborghini responsible for preserving the historic identity of the company from Sant’Agata Bolognese. The main services provided by Polo Storico include the certification and restoration of all Lamborghini cars produced up to 2001. In addition, it is responsible for the preservation and acquisition of new sources for the company archives, which makes it possible to establish and preserve the value of all classic Lamborghinis. Finally, because of the requests made by classic Lamborghini enthusiasts, particular attention is given to reconstructing spare parts that are no longer available on the market.

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