“Offering handling, roadholding and stability that gives the car a natural cruising speed of 115mph, it also offers one of the most supply rides in existence… the epitome of an Italian GT” – legendary road tester Mel Nichols writing about the Espada in Wheels
The Lamborghini Espada
While most consider the one-off and wacky, mid-engined Lamborghini Marzal as its forerunner, the four-seat Espada’s lines were first seen at the London Motor Show in October 1967 on the Pirana show car. Penned by the brilliant Marcello Gandini, the Daily Telegraph-sponsored concept impressed all and formed the basis for a new Lamborghini, bodied by Bertone and launched at the March 1968 Geneva Show.
The Espada – named after the matador‘s sword – was a car very much in Ferruccio Lamborghini’s mould: a powerful V12, luxurious interior and ample space inside for four and their luggage. It proved to be such a success that the final models left Sant’Agata a full 10 years after its debut. A genuine four-seater, the Espada featured a wheelbase some 3.6in longer than the Islero 2+2’s, and up front sat the familiar 3,929cc V12 and 5-speed gearbox. At 3,583lb, it wasn’t a lot heavier than the Islero, so a claimed 155mph maximum was only 10mph off the latter’s. The wide doors allowed rear-seat passengers generous access and a glass hatchback opened up to a capacious boot. Like the Miura, Espada bodies were built at Bertone’s Grugliasco plant, with final assembly and testing completed at Sant’Agata.
With its low side-profile and distinctive flat bonnet, the Espada was the perfect foil to both the more staid Islero and outrageous Miura. Production ran through three distinct series, totalling 1,217 cars. As with the P400 S Miura, the 1970 Series II Espada was a considerable improvement over earlier cars. The most visible keynote of the latest Espada was an all-new instrument panel, but under the skin a raft of improvements made it a far better car: high-compression, Miura ‘S’ specification engine producing 350bhp at 7,500rpm; vented disc brakes all round; optional power-steering; optional five-bolt alloy wheels.
In total, production of the Series II Espada numbered 575 examples before it was superceded by a S III in 1973. It was the most popular version, manufactured alongside the legendary SV and SVJ Miuras – many buyers owned examples of all three.
This Motor Car
As confirmed by factory records, chassis ‘08194’ was delivered to British Lamborghini agents RA Woolsgrove, of Alie Street, London E1 on 12 December 1970. Correspondence from former Lamborghini lead test driver Valentino Balboni dated 13 October 2014 states that the car was completed in November 1970 and confirms that its engine number, 40467, matches that in the car today.
When first delivered, ‘08194’ was finished in Luci del Bosco (literally ‘light of the woods’, a subtle metallic gold/brown) with Senape (mustard) interior. The name of the first owner is not known, though as a left-hand drive car it would not have been an unusual commission for the British importers, who were used to selling cars throughout the world including Africa and the Middle East.
For the following 30 years the trail goes cold, however in 2011 ‘08194’ was offered for sale by Frankfurt am Main dealers Hans Saturski GmbH. In a copy of the sales material accompanying the car it is described as Dunkelblau (dark blue) Metallic with Beige leather. Mileage is listed as 85,000km.
A bill of sale from Saturski dated 19 September 2011 confirms that German collector of some distinction, Peter Kaus, bought ‘08194’ for his world-class curation of cars well known as the Rosso Bianco Collection. The museum closed in 2006 after Kaus admitted defeat in his battles with the local authorities. He did, though, retain a small number of his favourite cars, and ‘08194’ joined other significant Lamborghinis. An accompanying German Fahrzeugbrief dated 15 September 2011 confirms the previous owner as Harald Hans Sasserath of Mönchengladbach, who had owned the car since 30 April 2009. Interestingly, on this document the colour is listed as Braun (brown, quite likely the original Luci del Bosco).
Our client purchased the Espada directly from Kaus in 2014, immediately transporting it to acknowledged experts in their fields Carrozzeria Cremonini (bodywork) and Top Motors, the preeminent Lamborghini mechanical specialist run by former factory man Orazio Salvioli. Under the watchful eye of legendary lead factory tester Valentino Balboni, the car was carefully checked over by both companies.
Works carried out during this period included: all fluids and filters changed; carburettors cleaned and tuned; new right-hand and left-hand exhaust system; sundry electrical work; suspension geometry checked; cooling system overhauled; braking system overhauled. The car was also professionally cleaned.
Since 2015 it has remained in carefully managed storage as part of a world-class marque collection. Still retaining the subtle combination of dark blue metallic with tan hide, ‘08194’ runs on striking Miura alloy wheels. Offering as it does ‘Ferruccio-era’, family-friendly Lamborghini V12 motoring for four, we recommend it.