1974 Lamborghini Espada Series 3


The Lamborghini story is fascinating in itself but for the company to have survived all these years and indeed celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2013 is quite amazing. Ferruccio Lamborghini was an entrepreneur, a very successful businessman and a lover of the finer things in life, including sports cars. He was fortunate enough to own some wonderful cars including Ferraris, however, he found fault with them all. According to the legend, following a meeting with Enzo Ferrari to discuss some of the shortcomings of his cars, Enzo dismissed Ferruccio and he subsequently decided that he could and would build a better car.

Not long after, in May 1963, Automobili Ferruccio Lamborghini SPA was established and the small town of Sant’Agata Bolognese, located between Modena and Bologna, was chosen as the location to build the factory. Born under the Zodiac sign Taurus, Lamborghini chose the raging bull as the emblem for his sports cars.

Lamborghini knew what he wanted and he put together a highly skilled team. His first car, the 350 GTV, was shown at the Turin Motor Show in October 1963. This car received mixed reviews, however, Lamborghini was not deterred and made a number of improvements and design changes to the original concept. The first Lamborghini production car, the 350 GT, left the factory in 1964.

The 350 GT evolved into the 400 GT 2+2 and later the Islero. In parallel to building these classic front engine V12 GT cars, Lamborghini wanted to build a supercar. Enter the Miura, which was first shown as a rolling chassis at the Turin Motor Show in November 1965. Fast track to the 1966 Geneva Motor Show and the stunning Bertone designed Miura was officially released to critical acclaim. The Miura is considered by many to be the first real ‘supercar’. The first model was known as the P400, followed by the P400S introduced in 1969 and the P400SV which was introduced in 1971.

Besides building a supercar, Lamborghini also wanted to build a GT car which could comfortably seat four people, enter the Lamborghini Espada. The Lamborghini Espada was first shown to the public at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show where a spectacular metallic gold car took the world by storm. The car was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone and he used many styling cues from the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal concept car (including the very funky hexagonal dash layout) and 1967 Jaguar Pirana concept car. The Espada wasn’t beautiful, but it was very unique and many thought striking. It was a brilliant design – a sporting GT car on the outside, yet a sedan on the inside!

The Espada was a great success story for Lamborghini with circa 1200 cars built from 1968 to 1978.

The first prototype featured gullwing doors which were shelved for the production car. The first production prototype was shown in March 1968 at the Geneva Motor Show, however, it wasn’t until August 1968 that the first car left the Sant’Agata production line. Powered by Lamborghini’s 3,992cc V12 engine, the Series 1 Espada was quoted as delivering 325 bhp. In addition to the Marzal inspired dashboard, which featured octagonal housings for the main instruments topped by an additional binnacle for the secondary gauges, the first cars had vertical slats on the lower rear windows. The alloy wheels were made by Campagnolo on knock-off hubs, of the same design seen on the Miura. In total 176 Series 1 Espadas were produced, of which it is understood that only 4 were factory RHD.

The Series 2 Espada was unveiled at the 1970 Brussels Motor Show. Externally, the car was virtually identical to the Series 1, but on the inside there were some considerable changes. Gone was the Marzal inspired dashboard, replaced by a more conventional rectangular shaped dashboard. The centre console was changed, a new timber steering wheel was introduced and cabin ventilation was improved. Mechanically, the suspension & brakes were improved and the engine upgraded to produce 350 bhp. Midway through Series 2 production the wheels were upgraded to a modern looking five stud hub design. In total 578 Series II Espadas were produced, of which it is understood that only 51 were factory RHD.

The Series 3 Espada was introduced in November 1972. This last iteration of the Espada received a redesigned instrument panel with an aluminium trimmed dashboard and leather steering wheel. Power steering and air conditioning were now (mostly!) standard. The Espada was also offered with automatic transmission. Espada production finally ceased in late 1978.  In total 472 Series 3 Espadas were built over the 6 years of production, of which it is understood that only 121 were factory RHD.

Note: the production numbers quoted are sourced from the International Lamborghini Registry. Different sources will quote different numbers as Lamborghini’s production records were problematic at best!

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1974 Lamborghini Espada Series 3.

This car has an exceptional history file dating back to 1974, which includes the original factory build sheets and production records. They confirm that this factory right hand drive example was completed on the 24th May 1974. The car was finished in ‘argento’ (silver) with a ‘nero’ (black) interior. The warranty card on file (copy) is dated 17th June 1974 and shows the car was delivered new to Mr. Cheesman in Staffordshire, UK. In 1982 the car was sold to Mr Beverley in London who was then the President of the Lamborghini Club UK. Mr. Beverley kept the car for 7 years before selling it to Mr Martina in London on 6th October 1987. In his ownership the car was repainted black and the interior was retrimmed. He then sold the car in 1989. The car had two more owners in the UK before being sold in December 1994 to a Lamborghini enthusiast who at that time was living in Adelaide, South Australia. He imported the car into Australia early 1995 and at that time the odometer read 44,212 miles. There is an import approval on file dated 10th February 1995. The car was subsequently registered in South Australia as VTL 550.

The car remained with its then owner through until June 2010. During this time it was fastidiously maintained by classic Lamborghini specialist Carle Rheinberger. There are detailed invoices on file showing the work done during that period. In 2002 Rheinberger gave the car a mechanical overhaul, which required the engine and gearbox to be removed from the car.  Amongst other things the following items were installed: a reconditioned flywheel, a new clutch plate, new clutch pressure plate, new engine and gearbox seals, new air conditioning belts, new power steering belts. The camshaft and cam followers were reconditioned. The distributors were overhauled, the front shock absorbers were reconditioned by Koni.

In 2005 Rheinberger rebuilt the engine. The cylinder heads were removed and reconditioned, the cylinder bores were honed, the pistons were cleaned & fitted with new piston rings, new valve guides were installed and lots of parts were replaced. In 2006 the suspension was overhauled by Rheinberger.

This Lamborghini Espada was repainted Tahiti blue in 2011.

The current owner acquired the car at a Shannons auction in October 2012. Over the next 9 years he has regularly maintained and continually improved it. In October 2013 the interior was totally refreshed by Brent Parker Motor Trimming at a cost of almost $30,000. The interior was reupholstered in napa leather, new carpets were fitted, a new head lining was fitted and Dynamat was installed under the carpets.

Today this Lamborghini Espada presents beautifully. The colour combination of Tahiti blue paint with a tan interior suits the car perfectly. Even though the paint work is 10 years old it still presents well with a good depth of colour and a nice gloss. There are a few minor blemishes here and there, most notably a few small bubbles on the left side of the aluminium bonnet. All the chrome work on the car is in good condition as is the glass. We do have to mention that the chrome surround on the right rear quarter window needs to be adjusted to line up better with the top of the door. The wheels present well and they are shod with Pirelli P600 235/60 R15 tyres all round. The wheel centre caps show some wear.

Whilst it’s been 8 years since the interior was retrimmed it still presents like it was done yesterday. All the instruments present well and look to be in good working order. The odometer reads 97,477 miles which is believed to be genuine. The air-conditioning on this car works well and blows cold air.

The big V12 starts easily and soon settles into a smooth idle. Out on the open road the car performs well. The Espada runs essentially the same engine as a Countach so there’s plenty of ‘go’ when you need it. This car pulls strongly through the rev range, though we do feel it would benefit from a tune. Whilst you can get the knack of using the gearbox smoothly the synchros are worn and will need replacing. The car handles, steers and stops well. There are a few other miscellaneous items that require attention to take the car to the next level. The engine bay is clean and well presented.

A compression test done in June 2021 shows the engine is healthy with good, even compression on all 12 cylinders.

In addition to the factory documentation mentioned previously, there is also an owner’s manual (copy), parts manual (copy), workshop manual (copy) and other Espada literature. There are a number of service records, ownership documents and old UK V5 registration documents on file from its time in the UK. Since arriving in Australia there is a thick pile of service receipts and other documentation with the car. There are is a correct spare wheel, factory tool kit (partially complete) and factory jack kit.

This car is well known in Lamborghini Club circles and it is often seen at Club events. It is also a regular attendee at Auto Italia in Canberra. Revered Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni was a special guest at Auto Italia in 2019 and at that event the current owner had him sign one of the sun visors.

Importantly this car has matching chassis, engine and body numbers. The correct body number stampings remain visible in the engine bay, on the bonnet and in both door jambs.

A Lamborghini Espada is a rare beast and finding a good one is becoming more difficult. By sorting the gearbox synchros and attending to a few other mechanical items the opportunity presents to take this very good car to the next level.


  • A UK delivered, factory RHD example.
  • Matching numbers chassis, engine and body number stampings.
  • Factory power steering & air conditioning (that blows cold air).
  • Stunning colour combination of Tahiti blue with a tan interior.
  • Known ownership from new.
  • Excellent history file that includes factory build sheets, production records and warranty card (copy).



  • -
  • Lamborghini Espada Series 3
  • 1974
  • Coupe
  • Manual
  • 97,477 miles
  • 3929cc


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