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The Jalpa was Lamborghini’s last throw of the Urraco dice. The Silhouette had been out of production for two years, but another attack on the Ferrari 308 was sanctioned. The Jalpa was usefully quicker thanks to its enlarged (by Alfieri) 3.5-litre quad-cam V8, with fuel flow controlled by four Weber 42 DCNF twin-barrel downdraught carburettors. Plus, with styling conceived and executed by Bertone, the Jalpa was unashamedly designed to go head-to-head with Ferrari’s 308 in the battle for V8 Italian sports car supremacy.
Though conceived as the junior Lamborghini of the 1980's, the Lamborghini Jalpa has been noted as being much easier to drive than the Countach, especially in heavy traffic and at slow speeds. With maximum power at 255bhp and a top speed of around 155mph, it’s hard for anyone to call this sports car junior. During its nine-year production run, it sold 200 in its most successful year, making it Lamborghini’s best-selling V8.
The car presented here is a 1983 Lamborghini Jalpa, originally destined for the Italian market, and was one of only three examples to leave the factory in the rare colour of Grigio Argento. Being a relatively early production car, one of the first 50 examples, it has the desirable Silhouette rear taillights and a front oil radiator. In 1984, the car was imported into the US by Lamborghini North America and painted red at the request of a Washington-based customer, remaining this colour ever since. Fortunately, as an early car, US emissions modifications did not have to be met and the engine was not revised with the unsightly large air-filter boxes and changes to the exhaust etc. that reduced power. Therefore, it has remained a European-spec car since production, ensuring a useful 255bhp at 7,000 rpm, and has never been modified. The car returned to Europe in early 2017 with a Lamborghini collector who lived in Gibraltar and who commissioned work on it, which included some restoration works, engine and gearbox checks and a full respray.
The car was bought by our vendor, a true Italian sports car enthusiast, in July 2018, after having owned some similarly special Italian machinery over the years. He searched the world for the best Jalpa he could find, eventually finding this car with classic car specialists Toro Classics in Spain, who confirmed its matching-numbers status, then with just over 19,000 km. Having obviously been diligently owned and cared for all its life, our fastidious vendor was able to trace the car, its servicing history (back to 2003) and its mileage via www.Jalpa.ch (the Jalpa register in Switzerland), showing regular servicing alongside mileage increments in the US. Such was our vendor’s connection to the car, its provenance and condition, he flew specially to the US to meet the previous owner and collect the original spare wheel for the car! Having now covered just 22,300 km (atoc) and having had a full service with Italian car specialists Shiltech of Loughborough on the 03/07/2019 at 21,246 km, this is a very fit and healthy Jalpa.
Accompanied by its original manual and brochure, three key sets, servicing invoices from 2007 and an almost complete tool kit, this really is a fantastic example of a rare and appreciating 1980's Lamborghini.