With subdued looks that belied its V12 power, the Lamborghini Jarama was among the very last of Lamborghini's grand touring cars before the Italian carmaker decided to pursue fulltime the production of two-seat supercars. The Jarama was built in the same spirit as the very first Lamborghinis. It was comfortable and capable, with no more flash than necessary.
Created to replace the Lamborghini Islero, the Jarama was first produced for 1970. It was based on a modified Espada platform and, though the Jarama was far from being a featherweight sports car, it was a potent yet understated grand touring car.
The Espada platform was shortened by 10.6 inches when used for the Jarama, but it was otherwise altered very little. This gave the Jarama odd proportions, making it appear particularly wide. Marcello Gandini, working for the Bertone design house, was tasked with creating the Jarama's shape. His efforts were admirable given the awkward platform with which he was working, but the Jarama nevertheless had an unconventional style that made it stick out against its finely sculpted competitors.
The Jarama may have inherited its strange proportions from the Espada, but it also took from that car a wonderful engine. Displacing 3,929cc, the quad-cam V12 in the Jarama produced 350bhp at 7,500rpm from the outset of production. A 26-gallon fuel tank ensured that, despite the Jarama's prodigious weight and thirst, its six Webers would remain well-fed for many miles at a time.
Final assembly of the Jarama was conducted by Marazzi, and two versions were built. The first was the Jarama 400GT. This model had the cleaner styling of the two variants, and was equipped with the Miura's center-lock wheels. Between 1970 and 1973, 177 examples of the 400GT were made before the updated Jarama GTS was introduced. The GTS model could be visually distinguished by its five-bolt wheels, as well as by vents in the front fenders and an additional air scoop that was mounted between NACA ducts on either side of the hood. Beneath the revised exterior, the GTS featured an even more powerful engine that, with 365bhp, produced 15bhp more than the GT. This, combined with lower weight, enabled the Jarama 400GTS to reach 161mph, a top speed 9mph greater than the first Jarama. There were 150 examples of the Jarama 400GTS built from 1973 to 1976.
Power from the Jarama's V12 was typically sent through a 5-speed manual gearbox, but Lamborghini made a Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic transmission optional on the 400GTS. About 10 examples were produced with the TorqueFlite transmission, making it a very rare option.
The Jarama, with its odd styling and low sales volume, has failed to reach the status of Lamborghini's most famous models. It has been overshadowed by Lamborghini's racier offerings, as well as by the company's earlier and prettier and GT cars. The Jarama is a capable grand touring machine, though, and its low production numbers and strange styling only serve to make it an undeniably unique Lamborghini.Sources:
'Classic Line up at Lamborghini Cars.' Lamborghini Cars: The Enthusiast Site n. pag. Web. 3 Jun 2010. http://www.lambocars.com/cla/index.php.
'Lamborghini Jarama.' International Lamborghini Registry n. pag. Web. 3 Jun 2010. http://www.lamborghiniregistry.com/Forums/Jaramas.php.By Evan Acuña