The Lamborghini Jarama GT celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and the powerful Italian looks sharper than ever as 2021 approaches.
First unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970, the tenacious looking Jarama was given the difficult task of filling the tyre tracks of the mighty Islero in Lamborghini’s illustrious lineup. Following Giampaolo Dallara’s departure from Sant’Agata, the task was given to former assistant and chief engineer, Paolo Stanzini to create something distinguished and extremely desirable.
The Jarama GT became the latest development of the tried and tested 2 + 2-seater GT coupé concept with a powerful four-litre, twelve-cylinder front-mounted engine. Synonymous with bulls, the Jarama was aptly named after an area north of Madrid famously known for rearing the fighting variety and was developed on the basis of its predecessors, the Lamborghini 400 GT and the Islero.
Adopting the mechanics of the aforementioned, Stanzini shortened the Espada’s chassis by 10.7 inches, whilst retaining most of the fundamental structure and running gear. Utilising the Espada’s wide track as a platform, Bertone’s Marcello Gandini designed a more purposeful and broad-shouldered look to the car, with flared wheel arches, NACA bonnet air intakes, and its own unique hooded headlamps.
The synergy of Stanzini and Gandini resulted in a luxurious GT car with an impressive top speed of 162 mph thanks to its 4-litre engine delivering 350 brake horsepower. What sets it apart, however, is its taut and angular contours which are heavily influenced by unapologetic 1970s styling.
Sporty and shorter than its larger sibling, the nimble Jarama boasted four large disc brakes (internally ventilated at the front) and a stretched track width widened by ten centimetres to 1,490 mm and 15-inch Campagnolo magnesium rims thrown into the stylish equation.
The engine is fed by six Weber double carburettors (type 40 DCOE) fastened on to the tried and tested V12 power-unit with double overhead camshafts per cylinder, which developed an output of 350 horsepower and could easily thrust the beefy Italian up to speeds in excess of 160 mph.
The body of the pre-production models was assembled by Carrozzeria Marazzi in Caronno Pertusella (near Varese), which had just completed production of the Islero. The series models were to be produced in the Carrozzeria Bertone plant in Grugliasco (near Turin). The last 100 copies of the Jarama, which were produced in 1972, were supposed to be a “hybrid” of body parts pressed by Bertone and assembled by Marazzi.
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Equipped with leather upholstery and air conditioning, the interior was exceptionally luxurious and even offered an extra 2 usable seats with a large console creating a more individual feel. The spaciousness is also incredibly respectable for a sports car with an exceptionally large boot area, albeit hidden underneath a rather uninspired and dull rear.
From the Geneva Motor Show in 1972, production was expanded to include the 365 hp Jarama GTS version, which had a transverse air inlet on the bonnet and two air outlets behind the front wheel arches. In the cabin area, front seats were redesigned allowing more space behind them and a new dashboard layout was fitted with modified instruments. The wheels on the GTS were also different: the central lock was omitted and the alloy rims were less elaborate.
The actual number of Jarama units built was 328 in total making the car not only desirable but also an important model in the history of the brand. Not only because of its distinctive lines, which are still aesthetically pleasing today, 50 years later, but also because it was the last ‘front-engined’ GT to come from Sant’Agata Bolognese.