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Viva Italia: Lamborghini Espada S3

Viva Italia: Lamborghini Espada S3

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dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
- Recent update: check added Espada pics end of topic -

Espada S3: a first love I'll never get rid off part one



Summer of '77
My daily schoolwalk was an adventurous stroll past exciting '60s appartementbuildings and tidy blocks of modest John Doe houses. Adventurous in the sense of boyhood bravery: walking the thin line over a B-route viaduct edge, collecting garbage wine bottles for their labels and spotting the white Opel Commodore 2.8. And maybe, when it was a really good day, hearing it rev up . . .

One day I was overwhelmed by a white and sleek spaceship parked next to the everyday Ford Taunus, 2CV, Beetle, Simca 1100 and the lot. This was something else. Streched out like a cat in the sun, luxoury and pace packed in one gorgeous design. I'd first laid eyes on a Lamborghini Espada. WTF was this: look at those amazing wheels, the exhausts gunning at the back, the fine leather inside, check out the rear window and the horizontal extra line of glass . . . This was truly a shape from outer space.

A few hours later I dug my nose in the details, sitting with the '76 Cars Annual on the libraries table. There it was: a fourseater with a V12, and 350 horses! Holy cow . . . The next weeks, months I drew air intakes similar as on this Bertone masterpiece alu bonnets, on every of my schoolboys cardesigns. And I drew a lot. I still have a box full of '70s and '80s roadsters and mid-engined drafts. But that's another story

This Spada obviously belonged to someone familiar with the family living in that neighbourhood. The car became a regular, and thus, a friend. One I kept in my bag of favourites over the years.



Summer of '05
Now Tom, a friend of Wim ( Klassiekerrally) happend to be the passionate owner of an absolute mint S3, first owner (his dad) and maintained by the man himself. bow An appointment was quickly made but since the dark metalic beauty had some engine problems due to some bad hands 'n brain at a bad garage (a good reason to do it yourself then wink ) we drove his LP5000S instead.

When we were there a carefull inspection at his fourseater Lambo, with the engine out and sets of Webers stalled here and there in his garage, confirmed what I already knew: together with the same era's Maserati Khamsin this is it when it comes down to defining the hardcore Italian GT car. Maybe an Iso Grifo or a Jensen Interceptor would equel in looks, styling, performance whatever. But on second thoughts I think not.



Edited by dinkel on Thursday 12th May 11:32

dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
Getting closer
On a luverly summers sundaymorning drive to meet my childhoods 'friend' I encountered a handfull of shiny ragtops driving in my opposite direction, obviously towards some classic rally's start. Normally the immaculate looking and lightblue Facel Vega would've tempted me to turn back and stalk untill a gasstop could've gave me the opportunity to have a closer look, possibly meet the owner and make an appointment for a delightfull day such as this day out with the Spada.

But in my current state of mind I was almost looking down on those inferior four and sixpots passing by. Although the rumbling Vega was a sight begging for my moment of weakness . . . I pressed my rightfoot and added an extra 15 mph to my current diesels cruisingspeed. Encouraged by Patrice Rushen's '82 'Straight From the Heart' almost adequate-to-the-era soundtrack with soulfull voices, pumping drums and sexy basslines, I always associated the 70s Italian stylee cars as 'black' and feminine like 'negresse' athletes: powerfull and stylish, sleek and mystical, fast and extremely capable in an understated manner. Strange? Maybe, but to me the Gandini's exquisite and clean cut Lambolines are as effective as stressed muscular ladies legs.



In the backseat
As always the park-like entrance of the owners estate made me forget everything I thought of that morning. Looking at the left: two covered LP5000S's shoulder to shoulder and a Lupo for sheer contrast. Looking at the right: the wooden gardenhouse that beholds the Espada. Straight ahead a nice big house with a tempting and inviting terrace. After a few cuppa's we walked to the sacred place to unveil some stunning piece of Italian Grand Turismo. I saw her before when the owner took me out in his white Countach. It was still dark metalic blue, low and very impressive, the interior was still very white and spacious and the Pirelli's looked used (which is very good).

This place, entered by three blokes (Klassie was with me that day) with a shared passion, devotion and care for Lamborghini in particular, was and will always be some sort of chapel. A place that'll provoke spiritual behaviour. The moment I layed eyes on her again I followed that specific Bertone flow and got sucked into that inviting inside.

Tom gave her some extra oil for the run to come, cleared the entrance by moving an in the way Beetle (a gorgeous 60s thingy) and hopped in. I watched the Spada's curious back while pumps began to run the necesarry fluids. With a cough, a shake and a rumble the V12 woke up from her beauty sleep. A muscular and almost Yank idle gave hints of what to come but didn't strike me as much as the more agressively cammed Countach 4.7. With a bit of pedal the 474 cm long, 118 cm high and 186 cm wide automotive masterpiece shoved backwards with royal grace. A U-turn and full stop and I opened the door. Wim (190 cm) in the back and Dink (186 cm) at the rightside. Tom (190cm) fumbled the toggles, gently switched to 1st and lifted his left foot. From the moment the long doors closed we were in Lambo-world. The absolute pedigree does not go unnoticed, it's simply everywhere: the odeur of speed in style, the seating position of relaxed and comforting wealth, the sound of the wake up call enginemusic: "let me have some time to adjust."


dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
A bit of history
In the 70s the Espada was the fastest saloon-car in the world, with a top speed of over 250 Km/h and a standing 1000m in just 25 secs. With 1217 made, it was also Lamborghini's most successful model at that time. Based on the futuristic Marzal show car and the rebodied Jaguar E-type Bertone Pirana it was to fill the spot of a fourseater GT in Lambo's late 60s lineup: the elegant 400GT and the supercar Miura. At the 1968 Geneva Auto Show the Espada S1 made her debut to the public as did the luvely Islero, who replaced the 400 GT 2+2. It's a bit tricky to get the types right since Lamborghini always made running changes in mid-production. But to make things easy the S1 had the Marzal influenced dash (1968-1970), the S2 got ZF power-steering (1970-1972) and the S3 is considered the best driver with improved brakes and suspension (1972-1978).

Under the long alu bonnet - the rest of the car's body is made of steel - lays the 'standard' Lamborghini 3.9 litre quad cam V12. Fed by six twin-throat 40mm DCOE Webers S3's max power is 350bhp @ 7,500rpm, max torque is 290 ftlbs @ 5,500rpm. This particular car is almost completely original - look at those ugly period radio speakers - and very well cared for. But what it really needs are better brakes. The four ventilated Girling discs behind the magnificent 15" Campagnolo cast magnesium alloy wheels and Pirelli 215-70 VR's, just aren't up to their task. A bit of hard braking keep the wheels inline but send the shakes through the whole car. And we were only doing rural roads at about 100 mph! But then this traveller puts in 1635 kgs of weight, plus 93 litres of Optimax and three average sized blokes.



On the road
The needle steady at 1k while we buckled up 70s stylee, which was a bit awkward compared to nowadays easy-fit straps. The first ten minutes everything seemed to need some time to adjust. The firm ride offers utter comfort. Sounds were kept outside so there was the occasion of discussion - nice when you're heading to wherever in Europe - and with the windows shut the fragrance of speed and mechanic grandeur was kept outside. At least that was how Tom it wanted to be.

The comfy porn-white leather allowed our arms and legs to have all the space needed. Even Wim had a perfect seat layed out in the back, while enjoying the fast moving landscape and the slightly darker exhaustnote compared to our ears up front. Lots of glass gives an excellent vision all around. The overwhelming feeling to go everywhere was a powerfull statement we shared I'm sure. But off course we all knew we wouldn't go anywhere further than a hoon across our backyards countryside. And on these twisty parts of rural tarmac this Lambo did the best she can, feelling much smaller and agile than you'd expect. But to me it became very clear the Spada was designed to take on endless stretches of highway at high speeds. But then I never had the feeling of being 'King of the road' - as strong as in this saloon.

dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
I followed a 575 the other day on my commuter's short cut off-highway trip back home. Now that looked like a GT that could handle the slow twisties. With me in 2nd 'n 3rd gear I lost the silver one after a curve or three. A big bow to modern electronics . . . but is it more fun? I think not. And what it certainly lacks is that Helmut Newton-ish pic style . . .



Now about that yum motor: all Yankishness had dissappeared when she was all warmed up, ready for a serious go. Untill about 4k the Giotto Bizzarrini designed mill sounds all very nice, well gentle almost, never losing the racy origin. At 4.5k there is a transition and she makes clear that there is a way back if you want. All nice and very kind but we didn't want that. Above that borderline the V12 really opens up. The pace increased and the typical Lamborghini howl pointed out the boys from the men. Tom shifts at 6k, redline is at 7 . . . People start to look better, take pics if they can and jaws are dropped. My smile became bigger every minute. Glorious.

On overrun the pops are way more decent compared to the LP5000s ravage 'n flames. The Countach is a wild one, the Spada at least tries to hide some of the savageness all Lambo's run through their veins. Again, at speed, the car is perfectly balanced and in control. In peace and with confidence there's no need to force things, pull the gearswitch hard, try to stay in yer seat and all that. . . . One could not hustle a Miura or a Countach in such a cool-handed way in traffic. And besides that there's room for friends and luggage: this is the perfect Lamborghini for me. But didn't I already knew that for years.



The hard part
As always I turned down the oppurtunity to get behind the wheel of the particular classic to review. But this time with some serious regrets: you only live once and I've to change my attitude on this. I'll get my chance I'm sure. Tom has become a regular and he understands my reason to prefer the backseat instead. It won't be any fear for the Grim Reaper! Unlike the brand might suggest there's so much bulletproof confident feeling all over IMO anyone could drive a Spada. As long as you stay under that 4.5k revs wink Correct me if I'm wrong. With a learningcurve similar to any other sporty saloon this is a buy worth thinking of. Off course a bit of budget helps to keep fear of exorbitant maintainance bills outside. And in the case of Wim and Tom for that reason, they do a lot of work themselves.

Looking at the prices of a good Espada, Jarama and Islero makes me think. Maybe they're not 'old' enough. Or maybe it's the type of car, the classic GT shape that has died out or isn't preferred anymore. For me a Quattroporte, Khamsin, 365GTC/4, 400 and 412-like peoplemover is a very appealing concept. And no, a current S6 Audi or Beemer M5 just won't do the trick.



Cheers, Dink

Edited by dinkel on Tuesday 11th December 21:09

klassiekerrally

2,543 posts

177 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
, as usual.
Advertisement

360boy

1,828 posts

144 months

Monday 10th July 2006
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Used to own an immaculate Espada Series 3.
Loved it to bits.

Jonny5

3,525 posts

196 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
great write up, but what's the deal with Espada's ... Don't 'get' them

BossCerbera

8,185 posts

165 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
Jonny5 said:
great write up, but what's the deal with Espadas? ... Don't 'get' them

Don't get 'em??? Don't get 'em??? Ultimate 70s plutocrat chic. Marvellous to drive today, they must have been other-worldly in their production heyday. Drive one back to back with a 70s Silver Shadow to 'get' the crushing superiority of the "Italian Rolls Royce". Espadas come from an era when few cars could top 100mph let alone cruise (and handle) at even higher speeds.

Nice write up Albert!

Jonny5

3,525 posts

196 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
BossCerbera said:
Jonny5 said:
great write up, but what's the deal with Espadas? ... Don't 'get' them

Don't get 'em??? Don't get 'em??? Ultimate 70s plutocrat chic. Marvellous to drive today, they must have been other-worldly in their production heyday. Drive one back to back with a 70s Silver Shadow to 'get' the crushing superiority of the "Italian Rolls Royce". Espadas come from an era when few cars could top 100mph let alone cruise (and handle) at even higher speeds.

Nice write up Albert!


Sorry... child of the 80's

dealmaker

2,212 posts

176 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
Jonny5 said:
great write up, but what's the deal with Espada's ... Don't 'get' them


Jonny you bloody Philistine!! You told me recently to "get another Lambo" ...and I said no , BUT this,.......this!,...... this is a "proper" Lamborghini, and one I'd dearly Love! Although I'd prefer mine in Black with "Cherry" leather please!

Jonny5

3,525 posts

196 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
dealmaker said:
Jonny5 said:
great write up, but what's the deal with Espada's ... Don't 'get' them


Jonny you bloody Philistine!! You told me recently to "get another Lambo" ...and I said no , BUT this,.......this!,...... this is a "proper" Lamborghini, and one I'd dearly Love! Although I'd prefer mine in Black with "Cherry" leather please!


4WD

2,289 posts

153 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
Great photo's and a superb effort at a proper write up. I know it's a bit cliche but the Miura is still my idol

vario-rob

3,034 posts

170 months

Monday 10th July 2006
quotequote all
Well done and congratulations on putting that together for us all, normally something like that cost £4.50 from a newsagent and then you end up ignoring the other 200 pages anyway.

Quite agree with the learned comment on the Espada, truly one of the greats but how come they remain disproportionately cheep?

MMM, I was wondering what to do once the Deauville is fully restored

klassiekerrally

2,543 posts

177 months

Tuesday 11th July 2006
quotequote all
vario-rob said:
MMM, I was wondering what to do once the Deauville is fully restored

Invite Dinkel ofcourse!

BossCerbera

8,185 posts

165 months

Tuesday 11th July 2006
quotequote all
vario-rob said:
MMM, I was wondering what to do once the Deauville is fully restored

How about tell the story on www.auto-journals.com ? (And invite Dinkel of course! )

I'd love to see the Deauville - how about the Goodwood breakfasts? A Mangusta, a Longchamps and some Panteras have been there ....but no Deauville.

dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Tuesday 11th July 2006
quotequote all
Yeah guys, I really must come over to meet the car buffs

vario-rob

3,034 posts

170 months

Tuesday 11th July 2006
quotequote all
BossCerbera said:
vario-rob said:
MMM, I was wondering what to do once the Deauville is fully restored

How about tell the story on www.auto-journals.com ? (And invite Dinkel of course! )

I'd love to see the Deauville - how about the Goodwood breakfasts? A Mangusta, a Longchamps and some Panteras have been there ....but no Deauville.


She’s on the road back from ‘Bare Shelldom’ now having been stripped, rot removed and now paint being applied so hopefully by the end of 06 she ought to be nearing her restoration.

Certainly once done I’ll bring her along to a GRRC Sunday breakfast bash, I’ve got friends who’ve been and enjoyed it and certainly the old bird ought to slot in nicely. Our Dutch contingent would I imagine find enough to do?

I’ll set about having a look at one of these journals, I’ve tried to keep one on Yesterdays Hero’s but you can never have enough of a good thing.

As I mentioned earlier on this thread I’ll miss having a project so something else from the left field beckons, I see there are two Espadas for sale via Lamborghini club and indeed a Jarama currently. Having said that I’ve got whiff of an a possible ISO Fidia project.

And how about this for torture then? A Citroen SM Opera! Its for sale in this months C&SC, it’s the four door one and is in Belgium. Somebody (mentioning no names) near by ought to go and look her up

dinkel

Original Poster:

24,354 posts

180 months

Wednesday 12th July 2006
quotequote all
Jay Leno has . . . a Spada as well. The man obviously has taste.

Thanx Wim.



If he was my neighbour . . . my marriage was long, long gone.

BossCerbera

8,185 posts

165 months

Wednesday 12th July 2006
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So does VW boss Bernd Pichetsreider.

ettore

2,475 posts

174 months

Wednesday 12th July 2006
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BossCerbera said:
So does VW boss Bernd Pichetsreider.


who has now gone up in my estimation...

I notice that a couple of these are for sale in the glossies this month at what seem to be reasonable prices. How much should you be prepared to put aside to run one for, say 3-5K miles pa?

It`s time for a little italian flakiness in my life.