1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243

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Lot 126
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé
Coachwork by Marazzi Registration no. NTL 211F Chassis no. 6243

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1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé
Coachwork by Marazzi

Registration no. NTL 211F
Chassis no. 6243
• One of only 125 Isleros produced
• Well documented example with copies of factory records on file
• Striking and original livery
• Rare evolution of Lamborghini's classic 1960s Gran Turismo

Footnotes

  • "This may well become the nicest to drive and the most consistent in behaviour of all Lambos. - Car magazine on the 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. Launched at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show, the 350GT was the work of two of Italy's most illustrious automobile designers, featuring a glorious 3.5-litre, four-cam V12 designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, which was housed in a tubular chassis penned by Gianpaolo Dallara. The 350GT's four camshafts and all-independent suspension meant that it up-staged the best that Ferrari offered at the time. After a slow start production soon picked up, 131 350GTs being completed before the arrival of the 400GT and 247 of the latter before it was superseded by the Islero.

    The Islero's square-tube chassis was based on that of its predecessors, though with wider track to accommodate fatter rubber. Lamborghini's favoured coachbuilder Touring having gone out of business, the Islero's 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'. It is widely believed that Ferruccio Lamborghini himself greatly influenced the car's styling, and it was generally considered one of his favourite creations. The Islero was Ferruccio's choice of daily driver and his company car.

    Housed beneath an impressively low-slung bonnet, Lamborghini's 4.0-litre, four-cam V12 engine was carried over from the 400GT and produced 320bhp initially, 350bhp in later Islero S form. A five-speed manual gearbox was standard. The suspension was fully independent, with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs at all four corners, while there were Girling disc brakes on all four wheels. Contemporary reviews reported excellent handling and grip, the Islero being found to offer virtually all the performance of a Miura in a far more civilised package.

    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. Around the Neapolitan back-roads the Islero demonstrated an agility and sureness of foot which belied its role as Gran Turismo. 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.

    According to factory records on file, this stunning Lamborghini Islero was delivered new on 2nd October 1968 to the famous Garage Foitek dealership in Switzerland. The new Lamborghini was finished much as it appears today, in the striking Bronzo (bronze) exterior colour with Senape (mustard) leather interior, and is believed to be one of only a tiny handful finished in this era-evoking livery. As the car was fitted with air condition and a 'mph' speedometer, it is quite possible that it was ultimately sold to Bob Estes, although other records mention it was purchased new by a gentleman named Mr Bader.

    By the 1980s, the Islero was owned by a Mr Gunther Kraxner of Kirchberg, Switzerland, although the car ceased to be registered after 1991, presumably following his passing. When the car was acquired by Carlo Pina of Solothum, Switzerland, Mr Kraxner's son reported that the engine had been rebuilt in 1985. The engine could possibly have been swapped early on with another Islero unit, or the numbering could have been carried out incorrectly at the factory, as it is very close to the number listed on the factory ledger. Mr Pina put the Islero up for sale in 2000 and it was bought by Beverly Hills-based enthusiast Randy Simon, who soon sold it to Mike Finegan of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr Finegan treated the Islero to some much-needed attention, commissioning rebuilds of the brakes, fuel lines, leather seats and radiator.

    In September 2003 the Islero was acquired by Joe Corbacio, the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based Italian car collector renowned for his annual Le Belle Macchine events. Mr Corbacio treated the car to further refurbishment, as evidenced by a thick file of receipts in the history file. This work included rebuilding the suspension and brakes, and installing a correct wood-rimmed steering wheel, headliner, shelf upholstery, carpets, and new custom exhaust, plus numerous seals, gaskets, and hoses. A repaint was commissioned and every effort was devoted to properly matching the subtle bronze paint colour (including consultation with the factory), which takes on shimmering hues in direct sunlight, giving this elegant Gran Turismo a sublime glow.

    Offered for sale by a Chicago-based collector of exceptional European sports cars, the Islero was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction in August 2019 (Lot 133). Since then the Lamborghini has been imported into the UK; import duty has been paid; and the car given the registration number 'NTL 211F'. On arrival in the UK, the car was serviced by AMS Porsche Ltd

    This is a sensational and rare example of one of the final evolutions of the early Lamborghini V12 Gran Turismo and is sure to delight the fortunate new owner both on the road and on the concours lawn.
Contacts
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
1968 Lamborghini Islero Coupé  Chassis no. 6243
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