The Lamborghini Islero was an impressive grand tourer, worthy of its status as a challenger to the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2. Unfortunately, it was stuck between the Miura and Espada in Lamborghini’s lineup; as a result, the comparatively conservative-looking 2+2 didn’t get the attention it deserved. A lingering reputation for poor quality didn’t help. The car was thus redesigned and re-thought. The new vehicle was christened the Jarama and debuted in 1971. Officially, the Jarama is named for a Madrid district known for breeding bulls, in keeping with Lamborghini’s convention. It’s also the name of a race track in Spain, but this appears to be coincidental.

The updated design of the Jarama was still something of a wallflower compared to Lamborghini’s mid-engine supercars, and it was to be the last front-engine V12 2+2 in the Lamborghini lineup.

As it became clear that what Lamborghini’s customers really wanted was extravagant, jaw-dropping road presence, the Jarama faded into the background.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lamborghini Jarama.

  • 1970 - 1976 Lamborghini Jarama
  • Year:
    1970- 1976
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Transmission:
    five-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    350
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • Top Speed:
    160 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1970 - 1976 Lamborghini Jarama High Resolution Exterior
- image 318156
The Jarama was shorter and wider than the Islero it replaced, and borrowed styling elements such as the massive glass and low body from the larger Espada.

The Jarama’s body was styled by Marcello Gandini and Bertone, who was also responsible for the similar Iso Lele. The Jarama was shorter and wider than the Islero it replaced, and borrowed styling elements such as the massive glass and low body from the larger Espada. The half-hidden headlights created a smooth, sleepy-looking rounded front end, while NACA ducts in the hood and front fender vents helped to keep the V12 at a reasonable operating temperature. A long and generous greenhouse stretched out to a dramatic fastback tail and ensured that rear-seat passengers had headroom, while the body was pulled so far down over the 15-inch Campagnolo wheels that the front tires were practically level with the fender tops. The rear was more conventional, with square two-tone taillights and a chrome bumper.

The knockoff wheels gave way to bolt-on hubs in 1972, and a slight design change added new bumpers and a wide, narrow air scoop on the hood. A two-panel sunroof was also added to the options list.

Interior

1970 - 1976 Lamborghini Jarama High Resolution Interior
- image 318160

The Jarama’s interior was typical for an Italian 2+2 of the time period, with leather seating, a wood steering wheel and a large console. Full instrumentation was included, though the switchgear was scattered somewhat haphazardly. Rear-seat passengers rode in deep, contoured buckets and the console carried through to the back of the car.

The Jarama’s interior received an upgrade in 1972, improving leg room and featuring a more ergonomic dash design. Sound insulation was also updated.

Drivetrain

1970 - 1976 Lamborghini Jarama High Resolution Exterior
- image 318153
Thanks to a steel body, the Jarama was too heavy to be a sports car, coming in at over 3,500 pounds.

Lamborghini’s 3.9 liter 60-degree V12 powered the Jarama. It was largely carried over from the Islero S, with a few tweaks to improve reliability and performance, and it was rated at 350 horsepower for its first year. This figure was increased to 365 in later models, and top speed was 160 mph. The five-speed manual transmission lacked a limited-slip rear end. An optional three-speed automatic was offered later.

Thanks to a steel body, the Jarama was too heavy to be a sports car, coming in at over 3,500 pounds. As a grand touring car, however, it delivered nicely. It was based on the Espada’s chassis, with a shortened wheelbase. The fully independent suspension used double wishbones and coil springs. Girling calipers squeezed the disc brakes. The Jarama’s handling was praised by contemporary auto critics, other than its numb optional power steering.

Prices

Jarama production was just 328 cars after six years of production, making it an uncommon car but by no means the rarest Lamborghini. At the very least, it outsold the Islero. For that, it still hasn’t achieved the value of its more extravagant contemporaries. Prices for the Jarama are just edging into the six-figure range, with a nice example going for $187,000 at auction in 2015.

Competition

Ferrari 365 GTC/4

1971 - 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC4 Exterior
- image 321482

Ferrari turned to Pininfarina for its answer to the Jarama, and its V12-powered four-seater split the difference between the curvy Daytona and the crisp lines that would come to characterize Ferraris throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The 4.4 liter Colombo V12 provided sonorous power, while softened suspension settings and power steering made it more tractable for long drives.

Read our full review here.

Jaguar E-Type 2+2

1961 - 1968 Jaguar E-Type High Resolution Exterior
- image 655688

Jaguar’s svelte E-Type received a nine-inch body stretch and a reshaped roofline to accommodate a pair of rear seats, but the British cat’s curb appeal remained about the same. With inline six-cylinder power and Jaguar’s renowned sublime handling, the E-Type was a contender when it came to memorable, ground-breaking design.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

1970 - 1976 Lamborghini Jarama High Resolution Exterior
- image 318154

The Jarama was a competent and elegant grand touring car. Unfortunately, it arrived just as it became clear that “elegant” wasn’t really a value that Lamborghini customers were interested in. In spite of impressive performance, Jarama paled in comparison to the wilder Espada and Countach. For that, it was a favorite of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who reportedly drove one as his personal car.

  • Leave it
    • * Not quite the showstopper that Miura and Countach were
    • * Last front-engined Lamborghini
    • * Too heavy to be a true sports car
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: