Spotless Italian: 1985 Lamborghini Jalpa P350 GTS

The term “affordable” is always going to be a relative one. This is especially true when dealing with any classic that rolled out of the factory of an Italian thoroughbred manufacturer. When it was launched, the Jalpa was envisaged as an entry-level offering by Lamborghini. When you consider that it would’ve cost a buyer $105,000 to slip behind the wheel of a Countach in 1985, the Jalpa would’ve looked like a bargain at $65,000. This 1985 Lamborghini Jalpa P350 GTS is 1-of-410 that the company produced during a production run that stretched from 1981 until 1988. Its presentation is pretty impressive, and it appears that it has received all of the correct maintenance to keep it in sound mechanical health. The owner has decided that the time is right to part with the Lamborghini, so he has listed it for sale here at RM Sotheby’s. It is located in Auburn, Indiana, and the auction estimate is between $90,000 and $120,000. A big thank you has to go to Barn Finder Araknid78 for spotting an Italian classic that is often overlooked.

If you were to place this Jalpa side-by-side with a Countach from the same era, it would be blindingly obvious that the good people at Bertone penned both cars. There’s no mistaking the family likeness, although the Jalpa manages to remain slightly more refined and less flamboyant. While it might share many styling cues with the Countach, one feature that didn’t find its way to the Jalpa was the iconic “scissor” doors. The ones on these cars swing conventionally. This Jalpa is finished in Red Pearl, and it presents superbly. There is no evidence of any flaws, with the paint shining richly. The panels look perfect, and their fit is all that you might expect from a handmade Italian classic. The current owner installed the optional rear wing and added LED lights to the uprights to assist visibility from the back in darker conditions. The original 16″ wheels wear a few minor marks, but you have to look pretty hard to spot them. Overall, the vehicle’s condition appears to be impressive, and I can’t spot any problems that might require immediate attention.

While the Jalpa might share the same mid-engine/rear-drive concept with its bigger brother, its drivetrain is slightly more restrained. The “little Lambo” features a quad-cam V8 with a capacity of 3,485cc. With the air/fuel mixture being fed in by a cluster of Weber 42 DCNF carburetors, this little V8 should be producing around 250hp. Those Italian stallions find their way to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transaxle. Power steering is part of the package, as are 4-wheel disc brakes. At 3,331lbs, the Jalpa is surprisingly heavy for a two-seat sports car. However, that doesn’t prevent it covering the ¼ mile in 14.7 seconds before winding its way to 148mph. Thanks to some slight differences in engine specifications, European examples could top that by touching 155mph. This Jalpa is in sound mechanical health. The owner treated it to a significant refresh in 2007, which included an upper engine rebuild, the installation of stainless steel valves, a new clutch, alternator, plug wires, and seals. The car has received regular maintenance since then, and the owner holds all of the supporting documentation. He doesn’t make outrageous mileage claims, with the odometer currently reading 63,500 kilometers (around 39,500 miles). It seems that this Italian classic is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

When you look at this Lamborghini’s interior, the only indication that it has clocked any miles is some wear on the pedal pads. The rest of the interior, including the Tan leather upholstery, is in excellent order. There are no issues or problems and no evidence that water has found its way past the Targa Top seals to inflict damage. If I were to pick a favorite interior feature, it has to be the gated shifter. The car could be a smoldering pile of junk, but if it had that type of shifter, it would still win my heart. This Jalpa shows no evidence of smoldering, and the interior is nicely equipped for a vehicle of this type and age. It includes power windows and a Pioneer radio/cassette player. Given these cars’ reputation for the limited flow of fresh air, ice-cold air conditioning is a welcome inclusion.

Mid-engined two-seat Italian sports cars will not appeal to everyone, and I have no issues with that. Some people will stare longingly at a particular vehicle and wish that they could park it in their garage. Others will give the same car little more than a sideways glance. However, if you are the type of person who wishes to park an Italian classic in your driveway, this 1985 Lamborghini Jalpa P350 GTS might be worthy of a closer look. Its overall condition is pretty impressive, and it seems to have no immediate needs. It isn’t clear whether it is being offered with a reserve, but that could be great news for potential buyers if it isn’t. If the right people want the Jalpa badly enough, it could reach the upper end of the estimate. It is worth noting that a few nice examples have sold over the past year, and several of them have changed hands for under $80,000. If you are tempted, perhaps you need to register for this auction ASAP.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I saw one of these in a local repair shop.
    The fit & finish left a lot to be desired.
    Imagine all of the really cool cars that you
    could buy with that money.

    Like 6
    • Gerard Frederick

      Fit and Finish — always the same story with things mechanical from south of the Alps.Otherwise, a true beauty.

  2. Ed H

    Looks like it’s read to go off-road it has the ground clearance.

  3. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder how corvette “reviewers” would have reacted to the ’73 corvette if it had
    a new front bumper & door mirrors like on this Jalpa, & phony door vent windows added to make it easier for designers to run wires or cables for adjustable mirrors?

    Like 2
  4. Malcolm Boyes

    My buddy had one of these and it was quite lovely to drive and look at..just lose that ugly rear wing IMHO..

    Like 5
  5. Howie Mueler

    These look great, but pricey to keep them going great.

    Like 3
  6. SDJames

    Looks to me like a Countach and a Mondial spent a passionate night in Capri.

    Like 1
  7. losgatos_dale

    over a hundred grand my azz

    Like 1
  8. Frank

    A $30K car back in the 80’s just like the Pantera.

    Like 1
  9. Frank

    Just like the ugly step child that Ferrari had. The Mondial!

    Like 2
  10. sg

    Did anyone catch the sale price?

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