Lamborghini Jarama

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Lamborghini Jarama

1970 - 1976
V12 (60 deg) with four overhead cams
3929 cc
350 DIN hp/7500 rpm
5 spd. man
Top Speed:
140 mph +
Number Built:
4 star
Lamborghini Jarama
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4


You would never buy a Jarama for practical reasons. Well, actually, you would. Strangely it was the practicality that set this Lambo apart from the previous offerings. But then, you would need to overlook how much it cost, the fact that it was driven by 12 thirsty cylinders, which in turn featured four overhead cams and six dual Webers. Yep - which ever way you look at it, the Jarama was the practical mans Lambo.

It was this very practicality that endeared itself to the wealthy - a gut-twanging grab of very practical V12 winding its 350 hp four-cam way up through five wild gears - and comfortably getting to 110 mph in a very practical third gear. Exclusivity was thanks to the high price, which made it, as were all the others to feature the prancing Bologna bull, a car for the well heeled (and practically minded) only.

In the eight years prior to the release of the Jarama, when that Bologna bull named Lamborghini began building cars because he couldn't buy one he liked, barely 1800 people had been able to call a Lamborghini their very own. By mid 1970, some 240 dedicated workers melded alloy, super steel and Italianate style into automobiles at the rate of two each working day.

That was not so unusual in Modena, a city that within its environs also churned out such dream iron as Ferrari, Maserati and de Tomaso. But what set the Lamborghini apart from the others, small flaws and all (aka extra Italian character), was that they sounded so bloody beautiful - we are not sure how else to describe the sweetness derived from twelve cylinders, four overhead cams and six dual Webers on song at 7500 rpm.

Then, of course, there was the Bertone bodywork, a high state of trim and for the time suprising levels of comfort. The Jarama was a supercar that was more than the sum of its parts alone - it captured something that very few vehicles ever have. The name Jarama may have been for another breed of dirt-pawing bull or bull-breeder, but there was no bull in the details of workmanship behind the car.

The Lamborghini process to machine a seven-mains crankshaft from the billet was once extremely time consuming, but with the help of Olivetti who provided a tape-programmed miller, they were able to manage it in two hours - better still the Olivetti setup would provide an accuracy of one micron.

Every V12 then went on the brake after assembly for full-bore runs. When the car was completed it would undertake 300 miles of road-testing, too. Larnborghini were always proud of the fact that they made it all themselves - electrics, rubber and carbs apart, of course. Solely because that was the way to retain control. They didn't have a foundry, but the supplier in nearby Bologna did their alloy blocks and heads to stiff Lambo specs and all machining followed in the factory's own laboratory.

For 1971 around 450 Lambos were being built, with roughly 40 percent being Jarama, the 2+2 with front engine, 40 percent Espada and the rest Miuras. On the other hand there were American muscle machines which covered the quarter mile in less than 15.5s. But not many could also top 160 mph on the same ratios. Eveyone knew at the time that Ferruccio L. simply built a better car than he could buy, even around Modena. And the Jarama was it, a second generation Lamborghini for the conservative man, successor to their Islero which started it all. Even more suprising was that the US Fed cleared the V12 on emissions!

From the driver's standpoint, it was more important that Larnborghini could be driven, unlike some "other marques" where you didn't dare use any given pedal more than twice a day for fear of dire breakage; particularly the clutch. In a Jarama all three pedals worked effortlessly, trigger instant, almost erotic, action and felt like bridge girders. Legend has it that you could almost slander Lamborghini's mother sooner than mention racing in his presence, but the fact remained that when the Jarama was designed for ultra-Grand Touring they didn't forget track-quality handling. With coils and wishbones plus torsion bars all around, there was no way to induce wheel patter, nor did it wallow. Konis helped of course. Rippled corners were taken with a smile and no hint of it getting off line. Although the steering required 4.5 turns of the wheel lock-to-lock, it always gave road feel. Four ventilated discs (Girling) stopped the car from its rather unusual velocities without a pause.

Any driver with more than desk-chair experience of safety (and unfortunately, we will admit we fall into the latter category) knew in ten miles that this Jarama was a class apart for driver protection. That said, however, the ergonomics were really not up to the grade, even by early 1970's standards. Road testers that spent more than an hour or so behind the wheel would all noted thow discomfort would quickly set in, which was strange given that Lambo's test wizard at the time was a lanky New Zealander, Bob Wallace. He obviously managed to squeeze inside, the well-dished seats did go back far enough for the ostentatious straight-arm bit, and there was plenty of rake adjustment - but there was no rear leg room whatsoever if the driver tried to adjust the seating arrangement for even minimal comfort.

There wasn't a whole lot of front leg room, either. A dead pedal next to the clutch (LHD model) effectively kept that leg bent unless you weaseled the left foot underneath their clutch and behind said brace. A man of say 5 ft 10 in. with smallish feet could get his left leg comfortable ... if he didn't like to shift very often. If we were writing for Top Gear, we would say it was perfect for the Hampster, but not so for Jeremy. Despite considerable elasticity for the state of tune, the V12 didn't really like to work hard below 3500 after all. That's why they fitted five forward gears (Porsche syncro system) with I-through-IV in a normal H-pattern, V a long reach to your right front and reverse behind that. The lever was spring loaded to the Ill-IV plane. Your right leg, on the other hand, was only comfortable with the car close to flat out in a given gear.

Leaving plenty of time to look around - the only place you could look, since a sharply sloping bonnet removed front corners from sight and the rear quarters were as blind as any 2+2. For eyeing the scenery, however, the glass area was fine. On the other hand, or therefore, no Jarama was up to an Italian summer without air-conditioning. Thankfully Lamborghini built that, too. To cool the engine they used a thermo-electric fan, of course, plus another electric fan under driver control. All switch gear apart from those for windows and "eyelids" (which often didn't work work) to cover the lights were layed out flat on a little shelf below the dials.

The dials themselves were large enough, round enough and lighted if need be. But they suffered from a curious arrangement. To squeeze them in your four auxiliaries for amps, temperature, fuel and oil were put dead centre where the vision was perfect. A big round tach and ditto speedometer were thus banished to either end of this cluster where a thick-rim wooden steering wheel effectively blocked vital segments. Drivers noted they had trouble reading the 4000-6500 tach segment and the speedo around 100 - or both at once since the car as capable of an honest ton at 4500 rpm.

One solution is to recall the fact that nobody ever sold a car like this for practical reasons. What matter if the wheel hides your dials at 100 or so? That's not where the action in a Jarama was anyway. Two different models were made, the original GT (1970–1973) model having 350 bhp (260 kW) V12, and the GTS (also known as Jarama S) (1973–1976) with its output upped to 365 bhp (272 kW). Also, with the GTS there were a few minor body modifications and power assisted steering, removable roof panels, and an automatic transmission became available as options. A total of 328 Jaramas were built.


  • Engine: V12 (60 deg) with four overhead cams, 3929 cc (82 x 62 mm), 10.7:1 compression, 6 dual Weber carbs, 350 DIN hp/7500 rpm, 289 Ibs/ft torque at 5500, red line 7900.
  • Drive Train: Single-plate dry clutch, five-speed + R gearbox with Porsche-system syncro, central shift, 4.50 final drive (4.090 option).
  • Gear ratios - I 2.52, II 1.735, 1111.225, IV 1.0, V 0.815, Reverse 2.765.
  • Chassis: Two-door welded up. All independent suspension with wishbones and coils front and rear, front and rear torsional anti-roll bars (18/16 mm), four-wheel Girling self-ventilating disc brakes, 215-70 VR X radial tyres, Michelin, 7L x 15 mag wheels.
  • Dimensions: Wheelbase 93.6 in., L x W x H ·176.5 x 71.6 x 46.8 in., front/rear track 58.6, in., ground clearance 4.9 in., weight 3200 Ibs dry, turning circle 39.3 ft, 4.5 turns lock, fuel capacity 20.5 Imp gal.
  • Performance: Top speed 162 mph. Acceleration 0-30 = 2.4s, 0-40 = 3.6s, 0-50 = 5.0s, 0-60 = 6.7s, 0-70 = 8.65, 0-80 = 10.5s, 0-90 = 12.7s, 0-100 = 15.3s, 0-110 = 18.5s, 0-120 = 22.75, 0-130 = 27.65, 0-140 = 34.9s. Standing % = 15.55. Gear maximums - 1st: 62mph, 2nd: 87mph, 3rd: 112mph, 4th: 138mph.
Lamborghini Jarama

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