Launched in 1968 at the Geneva Salon, the Islero marked an evolution from the 400 GT 2+2, itself derived from Lamborghini’s inaugural production car, the 1964 Touring-styled 350 GT. Crafted by three notable Italian engineers, the 350 GT featured a remarkable 3.5-liter, four-cam V12 by Giotto Bizzarrini, housed in a tubular chassis by Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani.
With its four camshafts and all-independent suspension, the 350 GT outshone Ferrari’s offerings at the time. Production of the 350 GT picked up, totaling 131 units before the arrival of the 400 GT, and 247 of the latter were completed before the Islero succeeded it.
The Islero retained a square-tube chassis but widened the track for larger tires. Designed by ex-Touring personnel led by Mario Marazzi, its understated bodywork housed a 4.0-liter V12 carried over from the 400 GT, initially producing 320bhp, later increased to 350bhp in the Islero S variant of 1969.
The Islero S featured flared wheel arches, vented front wings, and an improved interior. Car magazine’s 1969 test showcased its impressive performance, reaching 157mph with stability and quietude.
Acceleration was remarkable, hitting 60mph in 5.9 seconds and 100mph in 13.7 seconds. Despite agile handling on Neapolitan back-roads, only 225 Isleros were produced between 1968 and 1969, making it the most overlooked of Lamborghini’s early front-engined cars today.