1968 Lamborghini Islero S Coupe

The Islero, introduced at the 1968 Geneva Salon, derived from the 400 GT 2+2, itself a successor to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s inaugural Touring-designed 350 GT from 1964. The 350 GT, a collaboration among renowned Italian engineers, featured a magnificent 3.5-liter, four-cam V12 by Giotto Bizzarrini, nestled in a tubular chassis by Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani, surpassing contemporary Ferrari offerings. Initial production of 131 units of the 350 GT preceded the 247 units of the 400 GT before the Islero’s arrival.

Retaining the square-tube chassis of its predecessors, the Islero boasted a wider track for larger tires, with elegant refined styling courtesy of ex-Touring personnel, led by Mario Marazzi. Its name, “Islero,” honored the legendary bull linked to the demise of Spain’s renowned matador, ‘Manolete.’

Beneath the low-slung bonnet, Lamborghini’s 4.0-liter V12, carried from the 400 GT, initially produced 320bhp, later upgraded to 350bhp in the Islero S version introduced in 1969, featuring flared wheel arches, vented front wings, and an improved interior. It showcased remarkable performance, reaching 157mph (252km/h) in a 1969 Car magazine test, with swift acceleration from 0 to 60mph (96km/h) in 5.9 seconds and 0 to 100mph (161km/h) in just 13.7 seconds.

Navigating Neapolitan backroads, the Islero displayed agility, stability, and defied its Grande Routière classification. Despite its prestigious lineage, the Islero’s limited production of 225 units between 1968 and 1969 has led to it being an overlooked gem in Lamborghini’s early front-engined lineup.

Source: Bonhams