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Lamborghini Islero | Spotted

Another Roger Moore car - but this one's a Lambo that set a naming precedence still in use today

By Dafydd Wood / Sunday, February 09, 2020

On Wednesday we brought you news of a beautiful Volvo P1800 for sale in the classifieds, a car famously piloted by Roger Moore in 60s smash hit The Saint. You can imagine our surprise, then, when having eagerly clicked on the ad for today's Spotted we discovered that, aside from being equally as worthy of recognition as the lovely old Volvo, it too boasted a connection to Sir Roger.

More on that later; first we ought to elaborate on the car itself... You'd be forgiven for never having heard of the Lamborghini Islero, based on the same platform as the 350 and 400 GT which it succeeded, it was only on sale for two years in 1968 and '69. For both of those years it was sold alongside the far more famous Espada, a similarly-purposed four-seater model, production of which went on for the best part of a decade once the Islero had been retired.

While the Espada was more striking, more exotic, and arguably sat alongside the earth-shattering Miura more comfortably, it was nowhere near as beautiful. Looks are subjective, of course, but I won't hear a word otherwise; the Islero's combination of upright stance, squared-off proportions and gentle curves make it one of the most timelessly elegant 2+2s ever produced.

Their smaller dimensions also made Isleros lighter than the Espadas with which they briefly shared showroom floors. With both cars using the same 325hp, 4.0-litre V12 and five-speed manual transmission, the 1,315kg Islero was left the superior performer, being both quicker to 62mph and capable of a higher top speed.

That gap was widened further still by the more powerful 'S' model, of which our Spotted is an example. Just 100 of these were built, compared to 125 standard cars, all of which came with an additional 25hp for an improved 0-62 time of 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 161mph - still impressive figures 50 years later.

Which brings us back to Sir Roger, unfailingly classy and impressive beyond his time, he's the human equivalent of the Islero in all but name. As the ad explains, our Spotted "was driven by Sir Roger Moore in the motion picture, 'The Man Who Haunted Himself'. It was Moore's last movie before taking over from Sean Connery as James Bond and is considered by many, Moore included, to be his best work."

It goes on to reveal that, "when reunited with 'his' Islero a few years ago, Sir Roger autographed the sun visor, the original driver's handbook and a special plaque, all of which come with the car. Also included in the sale is the original factory invoice, a photographic record of the restoration and a letter from Lamborghini's legendary test driver, Valentino Balboni, confirming that '6432' is the car used in the movie." Quite some claim to fame, then.

Hollywood heroics aside, though, the Islero remains an extremely rare and incredibly capable Italian classic. And, with a roaring V12, disc brakes, independent suspension and a wider track to accommodate grippier tyres, it's a thoroughly usable one to boot - and that's before the £100,000 restoration and more compliant modern shock absorbers are taken into account.

Just five right-hand drive examples were built, of which only two made it to UK shores, meaning that this could well be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Named after a bull which killed famous matador Manuel "Manolete" Rodriguez in 1947, if you want to get your hands on this Islero, you're going to have to move more decisively than he did.


SPECIFICATION - LAMBORGHINI ISLERO S
Engine:
3,929cc V12
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 325hp
Torque (lb ft): 278lb ft
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Recorded mileage: 40,000
First registered: 1969
Price new: £8,440 (£140,000 after inflation)
Yours for: TBC

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