Though Lamborghini’s 400 GT 2 + 2 was still a steady seller in 1967, its Touring body was looking dated and the carrozzeria was falling into grave financial difficulties. The obvious solution was to keep the best and discard the rest, which is what Ferruccio Lamborghini did. The result was a rebodied 400 called the Lamborghini Islero, introduced in 1968 just as the first four-seat Lamborghini Espadas were being built (see entry).
Naturally, the original tubular chassis with front-mounted quad-cam V-12 and 100.4-inch wheelbase was retained, but it now wore more contemporary clothes, with hidden headlamps, a glassy notchback greenhouse, and square-cut contours. Ferruccio Lamborghini dictated the general shape, but the styling assignment went to Mario Marazzi, a former Touring employee who’d been associated with Lamborghini for some time and had started his own coachbuilding business in Milan. Though less distinctive than its predecessor, the Lamborghini Islero was at least clean and inoffensive, and its drag coefficient was allegedly quite low despite the blockier lines.
There was progress inside, too, with more rear head- and legroom and standard air conditioning. There was also a new, more restrained instrument panel.
With its rather ordinary looks, the Lamborghini Islero paled next to the sensational Lamborghini Espada and sexy Lamborghini Miura but was as hot-blooded as any Latin supercar. Top speed was in the region of 155 mph, with acceleration to match, and there was still the same superb handling and roadholding that had marked the Lamborghini 350/400 GTs.
Considering how overshadowed it was, the Lamborghini Islero sold well. But it would be a short-timer. After an “S” model took over in 1969, with minor trim changes and 20 more horsepower, the Islero was dropped for yet another iteration of Lambo’s small 2 + 2, the Jarama.
To learn more about Lamborghini and other sports cars, see:
- How Sports Cars Work
- Sports Cars of the 1960s
- Sports Cars of the 1970s
- New Sports Car Reviews
- Used Sports Car Reviews
- Muscle Cars
- How Ferrari Works
- How the Ford Mustang Works