"WE'RE DOWN THE first driveway after the corner of
Telo and Kashiwa Streets," instructed Lamborghini of North America's Trefor Thomas, "There's no sign, but you'll find us."
"Down the driveway" and "no sign" are clues to the nature of Lamborghini of North America. This is not your usual BMergeotbishi of North America, Inc, with regional distribution centers and parts warehouses. This is a garage in a southern California industrial park, where a few engineers and technicians have been working diligently at certifying Lamborghini's two sports cars for sale in America. Certification has finally come through for the super-super-exotic, 12-cylinder, $100,000 Countach'. But the people on Telo Avenue are still trying to sort out an electronic fuel-injection system for the'$60,000 V-8 Jalpa.
That the "federalizing" work is being done in California, not in Italy, reveals another aspect of Lamborghini. It is a company
struggling to stay alive, having come through several changes of
ownership after its financial collapse some years ago, and does not have the usual resources for dealingwith such matters; So it entrusted Jas Rarewala-formerly with ACI, a firm converting European cars to legal American specifications-with this job as well as the distribution of its cars here. Rarewala, the president, now devotes full time to Lamborghini of North America and Thomas is its managing director.
Earlier, Thomas had hoped to retain carburetors with the coming U.S. version, but in the meantime it became apparent that fuel injection would be necessary. So now he plans to use a
throttle system that would retain the throaty induction noise so characteristic of these exotic engines. But there is not yet even a complete prototype of this "offiCial" version, so what we tested was another European-version Jalpa, just as in last year's Guide. As such, it had four 2"barrel Weber carburetors, no catalytic converters and non-regulation bumpers. It was thus somewhat lighter (though anything but light at over 3300 Ib) and probably quicker than the U.S. version, although Thomas expects to maintain virtually the same power and torque with the emission-control package.
The Jalpa TP350S, as its full name reads, could serve as an illustration for the Exotic Car entry in a dictionary. Consider its basic elements: A 3485-cc aluminum V-8, with two chain-driven overhead camshafts per cylinder bank and those four big carburetors, sits sideways behind the 2-seat passenger compartment and transmits its 250. bhp through a beefy 5-speed transaxle to the rear wheels. The whole is bolted into a voluptuous Bertonedesigned unit steel body-frame which is suspended by strut-type suspension all around. Wide 16-in. alloy wheels carry appropriate low-profile Pirelli P7 tires with 20 mm (about 0.8 in.) more width at the rear; an earlier plan to adopt still wider rear tires has apparently been shelved. Naturally, large vented disc brakes are fitted all around.
As the data panel shows, the Jalpa is a quick and fast car; 0
60 mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of more than 130 mph are, if not remarkable for a car of such pretenses, certainly more performance than one is likely to use in America. At the rare
times when one can use it-winding up through th~ first two1ยป)!-+
gears, at a race track or in bold defiance of speed limits-the engine sounds thrilling and provides a healthy boot in the seat cushions.
The Jalpa's performance is not of the effortless variety: driving it is dramatic at best, taxing at worst. All its controls are heavy, the throttle linkage surely winning a prize for the stiffest in our experience-the case with the last one we drove too. The gated gearshift, with thumb-operated reverse lockout, works like such mechanisms. One fairly wrestles it from gear to gear, and there'is a certain sense of accomplishment in each successfully completed shift. Lots of engine noise-the noise of thoroughbred machinery-emanates from "back there" and the V -8 revs busily all the time, even in 5th gear. Gearing is distinctly short by today's standards, the engine turning nearly 3000 rpm at 60 mph. Fuel consumption reflects the power, weight and gearing: though the test car's speedometer and odometer were inoperative, we kept a log of estimated miles driven and arrived at 16.0 mpg by this method.
Whereas Ferrari uses unequal-length A-arms for the front suspension of its competing 308GTSi, Lamborghini chose struts for both ends of the Jalpa-an unusual solution for a car of this breed. Although the strut-type is theoretically less satisfactory from a geometry standpoint, the Jalpa handles very much as
you'd expect any car of its type to handle.
This means that it's capable of high lateral acceleration. On
the skidpad the Jalpa worked up to 0.846g, a top-class figure
above the 308's 0.812g and bettered only by Lamborghini's own Countach and the Ferrari Boxer in our testing of production cars. But the mid-engine layout also has typical drawbacks. One is final oversteer, of which the Jalpa has a goodly measure. In our slalom test-and this may be the strut suspension reveal
ing its inferior geometry-the V-8 Lamborghini managed only a
mediocre 56.6 mph, as compared to the Ferrari's 60.9. If the driver attempted to go faster, that oversteer took over again. So, as with most high-powered, rear-heavy cars, we must caution inexperienced drivers doubly about exploring the Jalpa's limits on public roads.
Rack-and-pinion steering contributes its part to the entertainment, transmitting excellent road feel to the driver's hand without undue shocks from bumps. Thanks to the light front-end weight and low gearing, it's not especially heavy, but it's also not particularly. quick. In our brake tests the 4-wheel,vented discs pulled the Jalpa down to a halt in commendably short distances; its 256, ft from 80 mph, for instance, have been equaled or undercut by only seven cars in our testing. In accord with the other controls, its brake pedal takes a hard push: 40 lb in the 0.5g stop used for our fade test, and a real stomp to get
anything like wheel lockup. We got a little fade in the 6-stop

fade test; usually there is none in cars of this ilk.
As with almost any mid-engine car, the Jalpa requires some practice and a lot of attention for maneuvering in traffic. Vision to the rear is severely restricted by the rear body sides and high engine cover, and the right-hand fender mirror's position makes it well-nigh useless; so changing lanes in traffic or backing up calls for plenty of neck-craning and extra care. When the driver engages, reverse, the retractable headlights do a quick double flip-flop and flash-perhaps as a signal that a risky maneuver is about to begin?
In seating comfort the Jalpa is only fair: the seats are restrictive for larger anatomies. The driver's seat of our previous test car provided adequate fore-aft adjustment for tall drivers, but faulty manufacture in this example robbed the seat of the aft portion of its travel. There is a fair amount of space inside, for the two occupants as well as odds and ends they might want to stow behind the seats, and the luggage compartment encloses a respectable 8.0 cu ft of usefully shaped, nicely carpeted space. The front compartment is filled-by the compact spare tire.
The Jalpa's cockpit is interestingly designed and finely upholstered in leather. But like most cars of its breed, it has some very negative points, and certain aspects of its workmanship are in no way commensurate with its price. Ventilation and air conditioning are primitive at best. Our test car had paint peeling off its center instrument nacelle, a poorly attached glovebox release, a
sloppily made escutcheon where the steering column emerges. from the dash" and improvised, sprayed-on labels for the a/c
blower that were partly covered up by the radio face plate. Opening the glovebox is a 2-hand operation, extremely awkward from the driver's seat. The removable roof panel rattled loudly, which perhaps could have been corrected by adjustment. By contrast, the Jalpa's exterior finish was excellent except for paint peeling off a black panel visible through the engine cover.
This contrast between exterior finish and interior details, and in a broader sense a dichotomy of image and reality, characterizes the Jalpa. True, it is a capable car and an exciting one: but in many of its engineering, design and finish details it's not the equal of contemporary mass-produced sports cars. Those same mass-or near-mass-produced sports cars are attaining ever higher levels of performance and handling, beginning to nip at the heels of the cars like this while providing far greater engineering sophistication.
Make no mistake. It's plenty exciting to master driving the Jalpa, and to make use of its performance potential occasionally. But so many aspects of this car reveal the manufacturer's lack of research-and-development resources that one has to be very
emotionally involved with it to live happily with the Jalpa.

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other fifties road tests:

Jaguar XK 150

other sixties road tests:

Aston Martin DB4

Bizzarrini GT

Chevrolet Sting Ray

Porsche 904

Ferrari 275

Aston Martin DB4

other seventies road tests:

other eighties road tests:

Lancia Monte Carlo

Chevrolet Corvette

Author: ArchitectPage

List price. .. . . . . . . . . . .. ... . .. . .. .. . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. . $59,250 Price as tested includes leather interior, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo/cassette, elect. window lifts, elect. adj mirrors.

Lamborghini of North America, Inc, 23535 Telo Ave,
. Torrance, Calif. 90505

Curb weight, Ib/kg 3305 1499
Test weight 3460 1571
Weight dist(with driver), fir, % 44/56
Wheelbase, in./mm 96.5 2451
Track, front/rear :.. 58.3/60.5."" 1481/1537
Length 166.0 4216
Width , , , .65.1 1654
Height.. . .. . . . . . . . . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . . . .. . .. . .43.9. . . . . . . ., .. 1115
Ground clearance 5.0 127
, Overhang, f/r 33.0/36.5 :.. 838/927
Trunk space, cu It/liters 8.0 227
Fuel capacity, U.S. gal./liters 20.5 78

Instruments: 180-mph/280-km/h speedo, 9000-rpm
tach, 99,999 odo, 999.9 trip odo, coolant temp, oil
temp, oil press., ammeter, fuel level, clock
Warning lights: brake fluid level, handbrake, alternator, choke, radiator fan, vent fan, a/c fan, a/c, headlights, parking lights, low beam, high beam, fog lights, seatbelts, hazard, directionals

Type dohc V-8
Bore x stroke, in./mm 3.39 x 2.95 86.0 x 75.0
Displacement, cu in./cc ~ 213 , 3485
Compression ratio 9.0:1
Bhp @ rpm, SAE net/kW 250/187 @ 7000
Equivalent mph/km/h 143/230
Torque @ rpm, Ib-It/Nm 235/319 @ 3250
Equivalent mph/km/h 67/108
Carburetion four Weber (2V)
Fuel requirement premium, 96-oct

Transmission 5-sp manual
Gear ratios: 5th (0.87) : 3.48:1
4th (1.18) 4.72: 1
3rd (1.56) 6.24:1
2nd (2.10) ; 8.40:1
1st (2.93) :...;..11.72:1
Final drive ratio 4.00:1

Lb/bhp (test weight) .13.8
Mph/1000 rpm (5th gear) , 20.4
Engine revs/mi (60 mph) 2940
Piston travel, It/mi..: .1450
R& T steering index .1.54 .
Brake swept area, sq in./ton 227

Layout transverse mid engine/rear drive
Body/frame. .. .. . .. . . . . . . . . .. .. . . . .. . .. .. . . . .. .. . .. . unit steel
Brake system 1 O.O-in. (254-mm) vented discs
front & rear; vacuum assisted.
Sweep area, sq in./sq em 392 2529
Wheels cast alloy, 16 x 7V2J front & rear
Tires... Pirelli P7, 205/55VR-16 front, 225/50VR-16 rear
Steering type rack & pinion
Turns,lock-to-lock : 4.1
Turning circle, It/m ..37.7 11.5
. Front suspension: MacPherson struts, lower A-arms, compliance struts, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: Chapman struts, reversed lower Aarms, trailing links, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll.
bar .

Seating capacity, persons 2
Head room, in./mm .36.0 .914
Seat width 2 x 18.5 2 x 470
Seatback adjustment, deg 75

Service intervals, mi:
Oil/filter change. .. . . . . . . . .. . . . .. . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . 8000/8000
. Chassis lube none
Tuneup 8000
Warranty, mo/mi 12/12,000

Time to distance, sec: Lateral accel, 100-1t radius, g 0.846
0-100 It 3.1 Speed thru 700-1t slalom, mph 56.6
0-500 It 8.4
0-1320 It (Y4 mi) .15.4
Speed at end of Y4 mi, mph .92.0
Time to speed, sec: .
0-30 mph 2.7
0-60 mph 7.3
0-80 mph . .. . . . . .. . . .. .. . .. . .. . .. . .. .11 .7
0-100 mph .19.1
5th gear (6500 rpm) 133
4th (6500) .. 99
3rd (6500) 74
2nd (6500) 55
1 st (6500) 40
Normal driving, mpg .(see text) 16.0
Minimum stopping distances, ft:
From 60 mph 144
.From 80 mph 256
Control in panic stop.. . .. . . . .. . . excellent
Pedal effort for 0.5g stop, Ib 40
Fade: percent increase .in pedal effort to
maintain 0.5g deceleration in 6 stops
from 60 mph 7
Parking: hold 30% grade? yes
Overall brake rating. . . . .. . . . .. . . excellent
Idle in neutral, dBA 65
Maximum, 1 st gear 85
Constant 30 mph 73
50 mph 80