1968 Lamborghini 400GT Islero 2+2
Chassis no. 6318
Engine no. 2457
3,939cc DOHC V12
6 Weber Carburetors
320bhp at 6,500rpm
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc Brakes
*The 104th of 125 Islero 400GTs produced
*Striking original color scheme
*Subject of copious mechanical service in the last six years
*Excellent entry for the Copperstate 1000 or Tour Auto
*Vehicular embodiment of La dolce vita
THE LAMBROGHINI ISLERO
Launched at the Geneva Salon in 1968, the Islero was a development of the 400GT 2+2, which was itself derived from Ferruccio Lamborghini's first production car, the Touring-styled 350GT of 1964. The Islero's square-tube chassis was based on that of its predecessors, though with wider track to accommodate fatter rubber, while its elegantly understated coachwork was styled by ex-Touring personnel led by Mario Marazzi. The model was named after the legendary bull that killed Spain's best matador, 'Manolete'.
Housed beneath an impressively low-slung bonnet, Lamborghini's 4.0-liter V12 engine was carried over from the 400GT and produced 320bhp initially, 350bhp in later Islero S form. The latter appeared in 1969 and could be distinguished by its flared wheelarches, vented front wings and a revised interior with more supportive seats and improved instruments and switch gear. Improvements were also made to the suspension and brakes.
Car magazine's test Islero achieved a true 157mph back in 1969, proving to be as quiet and stable at its maximum as at 130. It was also startlingly quick off the mark, hitting 60mph in 5.9 seconds and hurtling to 100mph in 13.7, outstanding figures even today. Despite an impeccable pedigree, the Islero, 225 of which were manufactured between 1968 and 1969, is today the most overlooked of Lamborghini's early front-engined cars.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Finished just prior to the introduction of the Islero S, s/n 6318 is the 104th of 125 Isleros produced. The sleek bodywork was delivered to Lamborghini from Marazzi on October 10th, 1968 and the finished coupe, trimmed in the Argento silver over tobacco leather interior colors scheme it wears today, rolled off the line just over a month later on November 11th. From Sant'Agata the Islero was shipped to nearby Milan for concessionaire Auto Elite, arriving on January 28th of '69 and sold shortly thereafter to its first owner in the ritzy Como region. Registered under the plate "CO 288540", 6318 would remain in the country of its birth for another six years before being sold to the United Kingdom in 1975.
Upon entering the UK in July of '75, 6318 was given the registration "JYP 16N". Retained first by John Henry Lewis, it was sold to John Theodore Barnes on August 1st, 1980. Barnes would keep the car for nearly four years. It was during his ownership, in 1982, that 6318 was sent to Russell Grove Garage in Bristol for a major overhaul that included a rebuild of the drivetrain and a respray of the car to classic Rosso Corsa. In April of '84 the car was acquired by John Yearsley of Delaware and shipped to the United States. Mr. Yearsley, a true Islero enthusiast who would own both the car here and s/n 6129, kept 6318 for 16 years before selling it on to its next owner in 2000.
About a decade later, 6318now a resident of the West Coastwas given a substantial mechanical and cosmetic overhaul. From 2011 to 2012, extensive restorative work was completed including a rebuild of the carburetors, water pump, and cylinder heads with new valves and guides fitted. From there an additional $55,000 of work was completed including service to the brakes with new brake master cylinder and servos, new pads, and rebuilt calipers; service to the clutch including new master and slave cylinders; a comprehensive rebuild of the suspension with rebuilt Koni shocks, new ball joints and bushings all around, and powder coated A-arms and springs; a rebuilt pedal cluster and new shifter bushings; a re-cored radiator and a serviced ignition system. All that, along with a repaint back to the original Argento silver that was performed sometime prior to 2011 helped carry the coupe to a 3rd in Class finish at the 2012 Concorso Italiano.
Acquired by the current owner in 2014, the car is said to be mechanically well sorted and a pleasure to drive. Recently completed service includes replacement of the clutch and attention to a few oil leaks. The paint on the car shows well but it is evident that it has aged to a point where it may be driven and enjoyed without worry. The underside of the car shows well and according to the seller appears to show no previous evidence of accidents or rust. The interior appears to be original but well preserved.
Rarely seen but highly coveted, an Islero like this one is an opportunity not to be missed!