Lamborghini Espada : space at a high speed

Published on Thursday, February 21, 2019.
Updated on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

When Lamborghini presented its brand-new Espada production, at the Geneva fair in 1968, the public in general and mostly the competition were speechless: the little Italian brand, created by a tractor manufacturer, Ferrucio Lamborghini, proved to the entire world that it is possible to offer a superb GT with revolutionary curves (worthy of the Vaillante brand), genuinely offering 4 real seats, accessible for adults. Lamborghini Espada, such is the latter’s name, remained ten years in production, becoming the best seller, of the Italian brand.

The Marzal, designed by Gandini, stylistically inspired the Espada

1967 onward, Lamborghini struck hard with the fantastic launching of Miura and the presentation of an usual concept called Marzal, signed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone. This large coupé has solutions to offer 4 real seats, without losing its sporty look. The choice remains with the mid-engine (as the Mondial tried during the 80’s), but due to place issues, the latter was forced to make do with 6 cylinders, instead of 12. The style is futuristic and much squarer than Miura’s curves. Unquestionably, she managed to cast a shadow on the Islero, which was much more conventional.

The first prototype tried to preserve the large glazed surfaces

Inspired by the Marzal

Ferrucio wanted his four-seater coupé and insisted that the engineers continue on this path, even if it meant finding a new solution. Marzal’s design inspired the latter and seemed to be the guiding line of the future grand coupé. To preserve space, while achieving power, the Sant’Agata technicians turned towards mechanics,  placed under the front hood, recovering the fabulous V12, which helped offer great performance.

The first prototype of 1967 (and presented in Geneva) tried to preserve an extensively glazed surface of the Marzal but in the end, Gandini and Lamborghini came back to more classic panes. The one on the front was also redesigned for more industrial facility but remained very expressive. Long, spacious but finally not really high, the Espada was impressive, disturbing but eventually appealing. Gandini’s iconoclast design reaped rewards and the charm made its effect. The Espada was able to assert itself, as one of the most beautiful cars of its time.

4-seater and a V12

The framework was worked upon (and extended) by Dallara on the basis of a 400 GT, V12 engine 3.9 liters, signed Bizzarrini, 325 horsepower under the hood. The Espada turned into one of the most rapid 4-seaters of the world, with a speed of 250 km/h. The car was launched in 1968 (the one known as Series 1) and was produced until November 1969 (176 models) before a new evolution, where the Series 2 replaced the latter.

The latter (also known as Espada 400 GTE) evolved peacefully, recovering a new dashboard, but also ventilated discs and some other minor elements. Under the hood, the V12 was much more solid, earning 25 horsepower (to achieve 350). Its production began in December 1969 and she was presented at the Brussels fair. She was produced until November 1972 along with 578 models (turning into the most produced in terms of Espada).

10 years of production

End 1972, Lamborghini presented its series 3. She slightly evolved, mainly by being in keeping with new American norms. She recovered the series air conditioning, not to mention new bumpers. But she mostly received new carburetors which allowed her to achieve 350 horsepower, compared to her predecessor, despite the modifications, to respect the US emission standards. She was produced until 1978 and the last models were sold during 1979. Overall, 472 items of series 3 came out of the Sant’Agata workshops.

According to LVA (2018), the Espada is sold between 110 000 (for an S3) and 180 000 euros for an S1 (purer and rarer, but mostly of less powerful). In reality, some models can go past 200 000 euros, especially if it is in exceptional state. Despite the amount which is requested, the Espada remains an excellent choice which doesn’t leave anyone indifferent. Her curves are enhanced every year, showing how the Gandini style remains timeless, while 4 real seats allow 4 adults to make the most of the vocal warm up of the atmospheric V12 (same as the Miura). It’s your move.

Caractéristiques techniques


Lamborghini Espada 400 GTE

1969 - 1972


Engine V12 at 60°
Cubic capacity 3 939 cc
Alimentation 6 double Weber carburetor
Engine power 350 hp at 7 500 rpm
Engine torque 394 nm at 5 500 rpm


Length 4 730 mm
Width 1 860 mm
Height 1 185 mm
Weight 1 635 kg


Drive wheels Rwd
Gearbox 5 speed manual


Maximum speed 260 km/h
0-100 km/h 6,6 s
Total production 578 units


Average price (LVA) 140 000 euros

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