Car of 1981: Lamborghini Jalpa
The year of 1981 wasn’t a vintage one for new car launches, almost as if the industry was getting its breath back after the flurry of activity during 1980 to capitalise on the new decade. It’s tempting to celebrate the Renault 9 and 11, Honda City, Fiat Argenta or generally miserable third generation Chevrolet Camaro, but no… let’s not. Instead, let’s remember the Lamborghini that everybody forgets; the Jalpa.
The Jalpa was named after a fighting bull, which tied in nicely with Lamborghini’s marque badge. As a reworking of the earlier Silhouette, the Bertone-penned car was pitched as the budget option in comparison to the wildly expensive and even more wildly extrovert Countach. In Lamborghini terms, it was quite successful, with 410 finding owners between 1981 and 1988. But in looks, it wasn’t the happiest of styling exercises; its clash of curves and angles with bulging wheelarches, air intakes and prominent front spoiler making it look like a half-decent midengined sports car had collided with the DIY accessory aisle at Halfords. Still, Sylvester Stallone had one in Rocky IV, while drumming actor Phil Collins drove a white one in an episode of Miami Vice. So it must have been the epitome of cool. Once… The Jalpa, once seen, rarely remembered.