Think of the Lamborghini Jarama as a Lamborghini Islero version 2.o. It had a shorter chassis to meet U.S. standards (the main reason it was commissioned in the first place), shortened by almost 11 inches. The original GT had a V12 with 350 bhp and was followed by the GTS that had 365 bhp. The GTS also had some more body modifications, a different interior dashboard, power assisted steering, removable roof panels, and an automatic transmission as an option. A total of 328 Jaramas were built.
Replacing the Islero
Sales for the Islero just didn’t reach the level Ferruccio wanted, so he decided to replace the angular Islero after only two years of production. During the March 1970, Geneva Auto Show Automobili Lamborghini SpA unveiled the Jarama as the successor to the Islero, designed by none other than Marcello Gandini. The Jarama body panels were made by Bertone with assembly at Carrozzerio Marazzi.
The Lamborghini Jarama was aiming at the same market segment as the Islero did before, the wealthy businessman who wanted a high performance, luxurious car that didn’t draw too much attention for him to enjoy on a daily basis. While the Jarama looked plain, its engine was anything but, with a 3.9-liter V12 engine with six carburetors mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The Jarama a wide and low, aggressive stance … perfectly suited for a Lamborghini GT.
The suspension setup for the Jarama was a duplicate of the Espada system with coil springs over Koni shock absorbers while the wheels became the well known Campagnolo knock-off 15-inch units seen on the Islero, the Espada and naturally the Miura. Over a period of two years, a total of 177 Lamborghini Jarama were built before an improved Jarama S was unveiled at the 1972 Geneva Auto Show.
Jarama S Improvements
The original Jarama received some serious criticism from owners. The workmanship quality was poor, panel fitments left much to be desired, the dashboard looked cluttered while switches and controls weren’t always labeled logically … there was room for improvement.
This came in the form of the Jarama S or GTS. The overall design was kept more or less the same but there was an additional air intake on top of the engine cover. On the outside the bumpers were modified, the windshield wipers were now parallel action while on the original Jarama they folded together in the center, the Miura style knock-off wheels were replaced by five bolt Campagnolo units.
The biggest change on the Jarama S could be found in the cockpit with a revised interior and better overall quality and other improvements including power-assisted steering becoming available. A new, more efficient exhaust system, together with revised heads, cams and a modification of the tuning on the Weber carburetors, raised the power of the GTS up to 365 hp at 7,500 rpm. Despite all the improvements, the Jarama GTS still couldn’t convince buyers, only 150 units were sold when production was officially halted in 1976.