Styling doesn’t get more ’80s than today’s Nice Price or No Dice Jalpa. Let’s see if this baby Lambo still has a price that could fit into an average person’s budget.
It has been my experience that merely visiting any of the Hawaiian Islands will draw you into their tropical allure. The balmy weather, beautiful vistas, and azure seas are just too intoxicating a combination. Of course, if you happen to live there and are exposed to all that wonder on the daily, I suppose it could get old-hat, requiring some other outlet for one’s interest.
For one particular Hawaiian resident, that interest fell on building out the V8-powered 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon we considered yesterday. That truck was intended to be a double-D for the builder’s wife, but she decided to go for a Toyota instead. That put the Jeep squarely within our sights at a $36,000 asking price. However, seeing as it was an unfinished project, that didn’t sit very well. In the end, the Hawaii-homed Jeep fell in a huge 93 percent No Dice loss.
I’d like you to think now about a model of car that has been designed to emulate another maker’s offering, or even beat it in the marketplace. Consider cars like Chevy’s Camaro which was introduced as a near mirror-image competitor to Ford’s wildly successful Mustang. Or, maybe you’re picturing Ford’s creaky-old American Granada, a car that the company advertised as being visually indistinguishable from a Mercedes-Benz S-Class albeit at a quarter of the German sedan’s price. Yeah, right.
Neither of these attempts to unseat a king proved wholly successful. In fact, efforts of that nature rarely if ever are. One car model that has long been the target of many wanna-be rivals is Porsche’s evergreen 911. For whatever reason, that car has had more pretenders to the throne than perhaps any other model of sportscar ever made. And it has successfully fought off those rivals every single time.
Today’s 1986 Lamborghini Jalpa P350 is an example of a carmaker looking at the 911's recipe for performance, size, and price position, and attempting to jump on the same bandwagon.
Produced in a handful of numbers from ’81 through ’88, the Jalpa can actually trace its lineage all the way back to 1970 and the introduction of the Lamborghini Uracco at the Salone dell’Automobile di Torino. The Uracco was the first “Baby Lambo” and initially offered a 2.5 liter SOHC V8 engine (as well as a smaller 2 liter version for the tax-constrained home market) mounted transversely behind a 2+2 cockpit. Like most Lamborghinis of the time, the bodywork was designed by Marcello Gandini, tying it somewhat to the larger Miura, while still being sized and priced to compete with the likes of Ferrari’s Dino 246, the Maserati Merak, and, as noted just a paragraph or so above, Porsche’s 911.
The Uracco was not a hit, coming as it did during the gas crunching smog-strangled ’70s. Lamborghini managed to push out about 800 of the cars over its ’72 to ’79 model run. That doesn’t include the Silhouette, a Uracco-based Targa-roofed two-seater Lamborghini introduced in 1976. That car replaced the older car’s iconic louvers and back perches with a Targa roof, chunky scoops, and even chunkier wheel arches. The Silhouette managed only 54 cars before it, and the Uracco, were replaced by the Jalpa in 1981. The Jalpa was a further iteration of the Silhouette/Uracco, with even chunkier Targa-topped styling and a 3.5 liter V8, now with two cams per bank. Lamborghini produced around 410 Jalpas making it the Mama Bear of the three V8 models as far as production numbers go.
This 1986 Jalpa P350 presents in arctic white with a two-tone lipstick red and black interior. According to the ad, its 250 horsepower V8 has been rebuilt and features a new clutch for the five-speed transaxle and headers that are both ceramic coated and heat-wrapped. Other updates include new struts and shocks as well as aftermarket Rotiform wheels and Stebro exhaust. If those aren’t to the buyer’s liking, both the original wheels and exhaust will be included in the sale.
Aesthetically, the car looks to be in tip-top condition. And, with its iconic air dams, arches, and scoops, is about as ’80s-looking a car as you could find. The interior is just as era-defining with a chunky dash filled with gauges and switchgear that probably also did duty in Fiats or Alfas of the era. This being a mid-engined car with a modest wheelbase, you will note significant encroachment of the front wheel wells into the passenger compartment, skewing legs to the center of the car, and eliminating any placement for a dead pedal. Making up for that somewhat is a gated shifter with a dogleg pattern and a handy physical lockout for reverse.
The car comes with 49,000 miles on the clock and a clean title. It’s offered in Canada, but the seller has handily listed the price in American dollars. That’s good because I really don’t like doing math. That price is $116,992 or about what might be asked for a clean 911 from the same era.
What’s your take on this Jalpa and that $116,992 price? Does that seem like a deal for a budget Italian exotic? Or, does that price make this Jalpa non Bellissimo?
Hemmings out of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to Doug G. for the hookup!
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