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Lamborgini Japla Front

Lamborghini Jalpa turns 40

The last grand touring sedan with VS engine

This year, Lamborghini celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Jalpa. Lamborghini presented it for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1981.

Lamborgini Jalpa side view

Jalpa takes its name from a breed of fighting bulls

In keeping with Lamborghini tradition, the Jalpa takes its name from a breed of fighting bulls, the Jalpa Kandachia. This was the Sant’Agata Bolognese carmaker’s last evolution of the grand touring sedan concept with an 8-cylinder engine mounted in a rear-mid position. The Jalpa was also the final development of the Urraca and Silhouette project. It retained the general architecture but came equipped with a larger 3.5-litre engine. Frenchman Marc Deschamps of Carrozzeria Bertone designed the line with the Targa opening roof. Giulio Alfieri, General Manager and Technical Director of Lamborghini at the time, also directly influenced and partially designed the line.

Lamborgini Jalpa front view

The most significant technical innovation on the Jalpa is the final evolution of the 90° VS engine. Made completely of aluminium, with four chain-controlled overhead camshafts, they originally installed the engine on the Urraca and Silhouette. Thanks to the increased bore, the 3.5-litre displacement (3485 cc), powered by 4 Weber 42 DCNF twin carburettors, and a compression ratio of 9.2:1, this engine delivers a maximum power of 255 HP at 7000 rpm and a maximum torque of 32 kg m at 3500 RPMs. The Jalpa can reach a maximum speed of 248 km/h (155 mph).

Rear view

The Jalpa prototype, the car presented in Geneva, has a special story.  It is based on a Silhouette which, once produced, was never sold. In fact, the car went back to the factory and became the basis for the new model. The Lamborgini Jalpa presented in Geneva in 1981 is easily recognizable by its special metallic bronze color. Some of its unique aesthetic features did not appear on the production car.

The Jalpa entered into production in 1982

The Jalpa entered into production in 1982. It has a semi­ supporting steel body, black bumpers and engine air intakes, and horizontal rear lamps. The 16″ alloy wheels, taken directly from the Athan prototype, featured Pirelli P7 low-profile tires. The interior of the Jalpa boasted luxury finishes, with the extensive use of leather and carpeting. The opening roof, designed to facilitate removal and reassembly, fits into a special storage space behind the rear seats. In the numerous road tests that appeared in specialist magazines at the time, experts enthusiastically described its straightforward, engaging, and offering uncompromising road handling.

Interior view

At the 1984 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini presented the “second series” Jalpa, featuring some aesthetic modifications. This included details such as the bumpers and air intakes in the same colour as the bodywork, rounded rear lamps, and a revamped interior. The commercial life of the Jalpa ended in 1988 after the production of 420 cars. It was the last Lamborghini sedan produced with a VS engine. Historically it is the last sports car of this class to feature this particular engine displacement and positioning. Conceptually, the Jalpa is the direct predecessor of the 2003 Gallardo, which was to become one of the most sold Lamborghini cars in history.

Lamborgini Jalpa front view

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