Pioneering Lamborghini models, Espada and Islero, turn 50

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Lamborghini pays tribute to their two earliest models, the Espada and Islero

One could say that Lamborghini is better known for building supercars with the engine placed just behind the driver. For those versed in automotive history, they would know that they actually started out building front-engined grand touring coupes, to smite Ferrari, of course.

It all started out with the 350 GT but the Italian exotic car maker followed it up with a couple more front-engined GT cars. Two of these pioneering models celebrate their 50th anniversary this year and these are the Espada and Islero.

To commemorate this milestone, Lamborghini has completed the restoration of the Islero and the Espada that belong to the Lamborghini Museum. At the same time, they have announced a tour dedicated to these two models scheduled to take place in Italy, September 7-11, 2018. These cars are also some of the rarest models out there.

The tour will also include collectors of classic Lamborghini models and they are set to embark on a 650 kilometer journey from the region of Umbria, heading into Tuscany, and finish in the company's headquarters in n Sant’Agata, Bolognese. Along the way, the convoy will be visiting various museums, as well as cathedrals plus, they will also take on some winding roads and pass by vineyards.

Back to the cars, the Lamborghini Espada was the marque's first four-seat, grand tourer. From the outside, it appeared to be mid-engined thanks to its low-slung design. However, the long hood suggested otherwise. The Espada packed a 4.0-liter V12 engine, featured twin cams and drank fuel through six, dual-barrel Weber carburators. The result was 325 PS although later models made 350 PS, impressive figures today, more so in the late 1960's. Production ended in 1978 with 1,226 units made, fewer survive today.

As for the Islero, it's even rarer than the Espada as production only ran for two years. There were two variants of the Islero, namely the standard model and the S variant. Only 225 were built with 155 Isleros and only 70 Islero S models coming out of the factory. It was more upright than the Espada, following the long-hood, short deck proportions grand tourers follow to this day. The Islero used the same 4.0-liter V12 engine from the Espada, and it too had twin-cams and six, dual-barrel Weber carburators. Power output was slightly less than than the Espada at 320 PS.

While these are lesser known models to the casual enthusiast, it's nice to know Lamborghini is still keeping the memory of these two pioneering models alive as time goes on.

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