Bright red paint, an interior to hide even the largest cocaine spillage, a targa roof, and sweet deep dish aero alloys all help define the Lamborghini Jalpa as a product of its era.
It’s the one everyone forgets as their minds gravitate to the older Countach or the newer Diablo.
Though the Jalpa debuted for the 1981 model year, it was neither an original design for Lamborghini nor its first targa-roofed vehicle. That honor goes to the little-known Silhouette â€” a Bertone design which sold in very small numbers (54 to be exact) between 1976 and 1979.
The Jalpa is the result of Bertone and Lamborghini taking lessons learned from the Silhouette and applying them to a more mass-market vehicle. The Jalpa was the first Lamborghini designed with practicality in mind, and an eye toward affordability. Much less expensive than the Countach, it also had better visibility and was easier to drive in everyday traffic situations.
That’s not to say it was slow or underpowered, because mounted in the middle was a 3.5-liter V8 engine. Featuring modern dual overhead cams, it produced 255 horsepower. That power could rocket the (Malaise era, mind you) Jalpa to 60 miles an hour in 6 seconds if you asked Lamborghini, or 6.8 seconds if you askedÂ Classic Sports CarÂ magazine.
This performance stayed the same right through the Jalpa’s life, and exterior changes were minor as well. The original Uracco-like tail lamps from the Silhouette were swapped for new, round versions circa 1984.
An end came for the Jalpa in 1988, as Lamborghini received new American ownership. Chrysler saw the Jalpa’s dwindling sales figures and brought down the axe, leaving the aged Countach to carry on alone for one final year. In 1990, it was replaced by the new Diablo. Over eight model years 410 Jalpas were produced, making it the second most successful V8 Lamborghini to date, behind the Uracco.
The red 1985 model we’ve been eyeing today was originally white on white, per the sale ad. It’s done just over 16,000 miles, and is listed with a Buy It Now of $135,000. Is this one of the forgotten supercars which will shoot up in value later? Or is it the easily forgotten, cheaper sidebar of an exotic automaker’s portfolio?
[Images via seller]