9 Lamborghinis That Time Forgot

Car Culture / Comments

They can't all be winners.

Lamborghini has one hell of a heritage. The company forged out of frustration with Ferrari went on to produce the Miura, the first road-going mid-engined supercar. From there is a list of teenage bedroom wall poster cars like the Countach, Diablo, Murcielago, and Aventador. However, between these automotive celebrities, there are some gaps where the lesser-known Lamborghini models live. They include, among others, a four-seater, a car that looks suspiciously like a Ferrari, a truck, a motorcycle, and what looks like an inspiration for the Tesla Cybertruck.

Artcurial

Lamborghini Espada

Following the success of the Miura in the early 1960s, Lamborghini followed up with a four-seat grand tourer. The Espada's design is very much of its time, but nobody could argue with the 3.9-liter V12 under the hood, making 345 hp in the car's most powerful iteration. For a car that's mostly forgotten, it was incredibly successful for Lamborghini. Between 1968 to 1978 a total of 1,217 models were built, making it Lamborghini's best selling vehicle until the Countach took the world by storm.

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Artcurial
Artcurial
Artcurial

Lamborghini Design 90

Before Lamborghini bought Italian motorcycle company Ducati, the supercar manufacturer took a crack at building its own superbike. Most of the Design 90 was outsourced, but it was meant to be Lamborghini dipping a toe in the motorbike world's water. It was built by a company called Boxer Bikes, and the engine was a 130-horsepower unit supplied by Kawasaki. It was constructed using an aluminum frame and a fiberglass body to get the weight down to 400 lbs. The project was shelved just a year in when Chrysler bought Lamborghini with just six of the fifty ordered built.

Lamborghini
Lamborghini

Lamborghini Islero

Also following the Miura and at the same time as the Espada, Lamborghini built a replacement for the update of its first sports car, the 350GT. The 400GT was replaced by the 4.0-liter V12 powered four-seater Islero. It was fast for its day, with its 325 hp propelling it 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and giving it a top speed of 154 mph. Unfortunately, its styling was instantly forgettable, and the Islero was consigned to the production bin after just one year. Only 250 models were built before 1969 ended.

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Lamborghini Jarama

Almost as unforgettable was the Jarama. Rather than adapting the Islero to work with new US safety standards, Lamborghini built a new car on a shortened version of the Espada's platform. It was heavier than the outgoing car, but the V12 was upgraded to 365 hp to offset the extra weight. It's definitely an interesting looking car as a more modern take on the Espada, and we love the covered headlights that are all kinds of 1970s cool. The Jarama was moderately successful and ran from 1970 to 1976 with 328 units built.

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Lamborghini Urraco

Continuing the theme of four-seater Lamborghini models, the Urraco is one of Lamborghini's oddest looking models. From 1973 to 1979, the Urraco had three options for the engine. Available was a 2.0-, 2.5- or 3.0-liter V8, and the most powerful P300 model laid down 247 hp and could hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Only 776 were built, but its low numbers don't make it a particularly desirable model amongst collectors. Its bland styling is uncontroversial by normal standards, let alone Lamborghini's. We think it holds up a lot better than the outright ugly Espada, though.

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Lamborghini Silhouette

The front looks like a precursor to the Ferarri 308, while the back has a hint of the Countach's design language applied. It started out as a styling exercise for Bertone, and the relationship to the Countach isn't by accident. The idea was to build a Ferrari Dino competitor, serving the lower end of the supercar market and delivering something exciting for those that couldn't afford the Countach. Only 54 were made, and only 31 are known to exist, all powered by the 3.0-liter V8 from the Urraco, making around 260 hp. It's also the first Targa-top Lamborghini model.

Albert Manduca
Albert Manduca
Albert Manduca
Albert Manduca

Lamborghini Jalpa

The Silhouette didn't hit the spot, but it evolved into the reasonably successful Jalpa. It arrived in 1981 and sold until 1989 when Chrysler bought Lamborghini and the development of the Diablo started. The Jalpa was the last V8-powered Lamborghini until the Urus showed up, and used a 3.5-liter version of the Silhouette's lump, making 255 hp. It took its place in the lineup as the (relatively) inexpensive alternative to the Countach, and was a lot easier to drive. Only 410 units were sold, and some came with the optional big rear wing similar to the one on the Countach.

Mecum
Mecum
Mecum
Mecum

Lamborghini LM002

The LM002 is probably the most well known of the more obscure Lamborghini models. It was the result of two prototypes intended for military use but weren't good enough for service. Five versions of Lamborghini Militaria series models were built, but only the LM002 made it to production. Just 300 units were sold, and "Rambo Lambo" owners included Colonel Gadaffi, Pablo Escobar, and Saddam Hussein's son Uday. The final LM002 version came with the V12 from the Lamborghini Countach at the front, but Lamborghini tried different engines and configurations. For those wanting crazy power, the class 1 offshore powerboat spec Lamborghini L804 type 7.2 liter marine V12 was an option.

RM Auctions
RM Auctions
RM Auctions
RM Auctions

Lamborghini Countach Evoluzione

There are some insane Lamborghini concepts out there, but the Countach Evoluzione is often forgotten. It was a rolling testbed for new ideas and developed by Horatio Pagani when he was head of Lamborghini's development department. Pagani believed carbon-fiber was the future and practically begged Lamborghini to let him start experimenting with it. However, the brass told him that if Ferrari wasn't using the expensive composite, Lamborghini didn't need to.

Pagani was having none of it, though, and got a bank loan to purchase an autoclave to create carbon fiber with. Using that, he started a composites department. Using the then-new material, Pagani shaved a whopping 1,100 pounds off the weight of a standard Countach. Lamborghini pointed out the Evoluzione was too expensive to build and would cost a fortune to repair when it crashed. The brass nixed the idea, but Ferrari then released the composite based F40. Pagani left a few years later, taking his autoclave with him and used it to build the Zonda.

Lamborghini
Lamborghini
Lamborghini
Lamborghini

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