Drive an Italian Rolls Royce & Wow Three Full-Sized Adults
It’s said that the Espada was built to meet Ferruccio Lamborghini’s desire to build an “Italian Rolls Royce”. Styled by Gandini under the Bertone banner, the Espada is somehow simultaneously ungainly and elegant, ill-proportioned yet perfectly formed–its long, tapering hood and truncated, Kamm tail, low beltline and tall greenhouse seemingly at odds with one another as separate elements, but cohesive as a whole. Fitting, really, as the whole car is very much a contradiction on wheels—smooth, luxurious, and for a seventies Italian gran turismo, quite smooth and refined, it’s half thoroughbred sports car and half continent-crushing businessman express.
Our feature car is a 1973 Series III version with a claimed 85k on the odometer. Said to have been restored 13 years ago, it reportedly included full rebuilds of the engine, suspension, and brakes, as well as a full respray and interior retrim—oddly, the transmission was left untouched and as a result has weak 1st and 2nd gear synchros, but double-clutching is fun anyway, especially with an Italian V12. A former 1st place winner at Concourso Italiano ’08, this car must present very well in person as well. Fresh out of a two year hibernation, prep for road use will be no small task, but well worth it in our opinion. Tires are described as “well-worn”.
Like people, the older cars get the more often they require regular exercise to stay fit, and an Espada that’s not been used during its last two orbits around the sun is even more cause for concern than it would be with a less complex, less exotic machine. During its rest, hoses and belts may have cracked, seals and gaskets swollen, fuel turned to varnish, and oil to sludge. Still, starting from what looks like a very solid base, a few thousand dollars’ worth of preventative maintenance will go much further here than a hundred times that amount on a tired and abused example, of which there are plenty. Electrical problems will present a problem regardless, just as they did new, but if you’re prepared for a bit of pain there’s more than enough gain to be had in compensation—we are talking about a V12 Lambo, after all.
With bidding near $34,000 and reserve not met, it’s impossible to say exactly what the car will eventually trade hands for, but in line with current market trends we’d speculate it should be roughly $65-$70,000. With a similar budget, one could have a slightly needy Maserati Merak, a nice Lambo Jarama, or, if another four seater Italian V12 GT fits the bill, the nicest Ferrari 400 in existence.
Take three adults along for a nice window-down tunnel blast in this thing, and they’ll be your best friends forever—an Espada may never be a great driver’s car, but it’s an unparalleled way to gain influence.