Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Lamborghini introduced the Jalpa in 1981 as an entry model for the carmaker’s range, but still fast enough to keep the pace with a Ferrari.
The Italian carmaker understood that it could not rely only on the Countach to succeed on the market and, at the beginning of the ’70s, it started to work on a “Baby-Lambo,” and that was the Silhouette, which appeared in 1976. But the sales for that model were disappointing. But it didn’t give up that fast and introduced the Jalpa in 1981, which sold much better than its predecessor.
Carozzeria Bertone designed the Jalpa with a sharp front-end and pop-up headlights. Its black bumper looked like it was added later over the bodywork only because it was mandatory to have one. Lamborghini made the Jalpa a leisure car and offered it as a targa, with a removable top, which could have been stored behind the seats.
Lamborghini made a leather-clad interior for the Jalpa with a touch of luxury. Even though it wasn’t a true GT vehicle, it was still more luxurious than other sports cars on the market. The carmaker separated the seats with a small center console where it installed the power-windows switches, the gear-stick, the handbrake, and small storage space. On the center stack, Lamborghini placed two vents and the climate control switches. But being the “baby-Lambo” didn’t mean that the car shouldn’t provide enough information about the engine, and the dashboard featured more information than a regular car. Apart from the speedometer, tachometer, and coolant temperature displayed on the main instrument panel showed other information regarding oil pressure and temperature, ammeter, and fuel level on additional gauges on the center stack.
The carmaker installed a transverse-mounted V-8 engine behind the cabin, which sent the power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual.