“We were more impressed to reach a top speed of 165mph, while covering the standing kilometre – still with two persons aboard – in the striking time of 25.5 seconds…” Sports Car Graphic tries a new Islero in May 1969. For reference, the same publication quotes a time of 24.2 seconds for the Miura P400 S
The Lamborghini Islero
Ferruccio Lamborghini was rightly proud of his fast, new, elegant and luxurious granturismo. It replaced the 400GT at the 1968 Geneva Show and although mechanically similar to the outgoing model it bore fresh, deliberately discreet but stylish coachwork: a car for the tycoon, not for the playboy. One famously starred in the Roger Moore film, ‘The Man Who Haunted Himself’.
The new ‘Islero’ was a swift gentleman’s GT that perfectly suited Il Cavaliere’s tastes.
Underneath the modern coachwork by Carrozzeria Marazzi (Touring had gone out of business, and Marazzi had already been building the 400 GTs) sat all-independent suspension, a five-speed gearbox and a four-cam, 320bhp Lamborghini V12. Compared with the 400 GT it had a slightly wider track and was roomier inside. Engineer Bob Wallace re-worked the suspension geometry so the car could run on the latest high-performance tyres which, like the Miura’s, were fitted to Campagnolo alloys.
After 125 Isleros were produced an updated version, the ‘Islero S’, was launched in 1969. Outwardly similar, it had a redesigned interior, further developed suspension and a high-compression engine with Miura S cams now producing 350bhp. One hundred were sold. In total, production of the Islero ran to 225 examples.
Motor tested an Islero in December 1968, putting it through its paces in a round trip that included the Futa Pass. It was a route that demanded, “considerable physical exercise at the helm… but the reward for mastering such a masculine car was memorable exhilaration, with the adrenalin pumping through almost as fast as fuel disappeared from the 19-gallon tank…”
On reading this, Ferruccio, ever the man’s man, would have been delighted.
This Motor Car
Carrozzeria Marazzi delivered the body of Islero ‘6300’ to Lamborghini on 19 September 1968 and the car was completed on 27 February 1969. It was finished in Bronzo Chiaro (light bronze) with a Senape (mustard) interior. Factory records show that the first owner was Edmondo Lamborghini (Ferruccio’s brother).
Evidence would suggest that, as was common practice at the time for VIP clients, a special V12 was fitted to ‘6300’. It was quite possibly a prototype of the new ‘S’ engine, and a copy of the build sheet verifies torque of 45.4kg mt at 5,500rpm. Converted to the more familiar lb ft, that’s 328.4lb ft, the same as a Miura P400 S. Brake horsepower could well have exceeded the forthcoming Islero S’s 350bhp.
Subsequent documentation, including a Belgian Identification du Vehicule dated 26/8/1987, states the date of first registration as 31/3/1969. The immediate history following Edmondo’s ownership is unknown but for at least 15 years it was owned by Jean Bulinckx of Dilbeek in Belgium. After Bulinckx, in March 2009 ‘6300’ passed to a Swiss enthusiast from La Chaux-de-Fonds, a centre of Swiss watchmaking just a few kilometres south of the French border. The sale is verified by an EUR.1 export certificate dated 30/3/2009. It was imported with all local taxes paid to Switzerland, where it is still registered.
The new owner set about restoring ‘6300’ to ‘haute horlogerie’ standards. Principally working with Swiss marque specialists Garage Burnier, he embarked on a bare-metal repaint – with other associated mechanical work – choosing to retain the attractive metallic bottle green livery the car had worn for many years. The project went to some lengths to ensure the high standard of presentation that can be seen today. For example, even the correct Ansa exhaust stickers were flown in from the UK, and owner commissioned a $2,266, 1/43 scale model of the car from the US. Various invoices and other paperwork included in the extensive history file accompanying the car state mileage at this time of approximately 65,000km.
From 2011 to 2013, ‘6300’ was popular attendees at various European events including: the 2011 Landeron Classic when it won Meilleur Ensemble; the 2013 Schloss Bensberg Classic Concours d’Elegance; the 2012 Milano Autoclassica, where it was presented on the Marazzi stand. Mario Marazzi signed the car and was pictured in front of it. In 2013 it participated in the Lamborghini 50 Grande Giro and won 2nd in class at the Concours d’Elegance.
Later that year it returned to Garage Burnier for further work totalling some CHF 35,000, bringing the total spent while in this owner’s tenure to in excess of CHF 100,000. The following July, he decided to sell.
Kidston SA sourced the car immediately for a world-class Lamborghini collection. Little-used but carefully maintained, the car can be considered one of the best documented and most celebrated of all surviving Isleros, still fitted with its original high-performance motor.
The Islero was always a favourite of Ferruccio. Chassis ‘6300’ represents an opportunity to buy a genuine ‘Lamborghini family’ car, either to enjoy as is, or to repaint to as-delivered Bronzo Chiaro, the choice of Mr Lamborghini in 1969.