Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1969 Lamborghini Islero S – The Conservative Lambo

shot and posted by nifticus 

Lamborghini really made its rep with bold, revolutionary cars like the Miura and Espada, one that it has been cultivating ever since.  But Ferruccio Lamborghini also had a conservative streak, and in 1968, the same year the Espada was released, he also unveiled the Islero, a car that he essentially designed himself, and one he used for his own transport.

The Islero wasn’t all new, though; it was mostly a re-bodied 350/400 GT, the first Lamborghini (not counting the tractors that made the cars possible). As such, it shares the basic proportions of its predecessor, which by that time could be defined as classic Italian GT.

The 350/400 GTs had their bodies built by Carrozzeria Touring. But Touring went bankrupt, so the Islero was built by Carrozzeria Marazzi, headed by a former Touring employee and staffed by former Touring workers. Supposedly Ferruccio penned the basic specifications for the Islero’s styling to Marazzi, who then executed them. Which explains why it’s rather amalgam of common themes at the time, suited to fit on the 400’s chassis.

Unfortunately, Marrazzi’s firm was not able to execute as well as Touring, and the initial 1968 Islero was plagued by a number of quality and functional issues. The 1969 Islero S addressed many of those, including better interior ventilation. slightly flared fenders, tinted windows, increased power, and suspension tweaks. The chassis was built from tubular steel members and the body was of course from aluminum, crafted in the traditional Italian style, beaten over bucks. A total of 225 Islero and Islero S were built over its two-year lifespan.

The engine was of course the only one that Lamborghini built at the time, a DOHC 3.9 L V12. In the 1968 Islero, it was rated at 325 hp, essentially the same engine as used in the 400 GT and Espada. The Islero S had the hotter camshafts from the Miura, and was rated at 350 hp. That increased its top speed from 154 mph to 161 mph, and slightly reduced acceleration from 0-60 to 6.2 seconds. These were of course stellar figures for the times.

A total of 225 Islero and Islero S were built over its two-year lifespan. It was replaced by the Jarama, in a similar vein, but styled by Marcello Gandini, and built on a shortened Espada chassis.