12 February 2018

More than an old car #54: Lamborghini Espada

Mention Lamborghini and many people would think of the flashy cars speeding down Orchard Road on a weekend, or be involved in some dramatic accident. It has given Ferrari a run for its money as buyers are attracted to the raw power and beauty of these 'bulls'. However, Lamborghini is not only known for its latest models but also the ones before that paved the way, such as this 1972 Lamborghini Espada Series 2.

It all began when Ferrucio Lamborghini founded Lamborghini Trattori in 1947. He gained much wealth from his tractor manufacturing business and developed a taste for luxury cars, including that of Ferrari. After buying a few of them, he was displeased by their performance and felt that they were merely 'track cars with poor interiors'. He raised the issues to Enzo Ferrari, who dismissed his concerns. Upset, he proceeded to establish Lamborghini Automobili in 1963 so as to compete with competitors of its day. The company entered bankruptcy in 1978 and was bought over by Chrysler in 1987. It briefly went under ownership by some Indonesian businessmen before it was bought over by Audi since 1998.

Interestingly, despite being an Italian brand, most Lamborghini models have names that are related to Spanish bullfighting. This was because Mr Lamborghini had visited a ranch belonging to Don Eduardo Miura, a renowned breeder of Spanish fighting bulls, and was impressed by the animals. As a result, he adopted the bull as the mascot and even named the iconic Lamborghini Miura after that family.

The Espada was first produced in 1968 and was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone. Due to its low roof at only 1.18m tall, one had to adopt a weird toad-like position behind the wheel. Its name is derived from the Spanish word for "sword", or the sword that the torero uses to kill the bull in bullfighting. It was able to seat 4 adults comfortably and it could serve as a practical family car. What struck me the most was its enormous windows that belied its size. Even though it was strictly not a "2+2" [2 doors with 2 seats at the back], you could be forgiven for thinking it was one. The Series 2 was made between 1970-1972. It was powered by a 3929cc V12 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 250km/h and an acceleration of 6.9 seconds [0-100km/h]. It was 4.73m long and weighed 1635kg.

Production of the Espada ended in 1978 with 1217 made, of which only 121 Series 2s were in RHD. This specimen has been imported from the UK, and it seems to be 1 of 2 that exists on our shores. The only catch is that both are currently not registered.

Previous registration number in the UK

Owning a Lamborghini may be out of reach for us mere mortals, especially when it is an old bull. Due to the myriad of mechanical problems besieging Italian cars of that era, it is really a huge investment by the owner for bringing it to Singapore no less! Espadas were the most popular Lamborghini until the arrival of the Countach. It is surprisingly practical for daily usage--even most Lambos today aren't suitable for carrying 4 people! The value of the Espada has been increasing due to its rarity and unique proposition--do keep a lookout for this piece of unlikely luxury!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the great post. It's great seeing the lamborghini older styles unlike we see nowadays. Have a great day and have a wonderful upcoming new year.
    Greg Prosmushkin