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Car and Driver: Lamborghini Jalpa Buyer’s Guide: What You Need to Know About Values, Problem Areas, and More

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Lamborghini Jalpa

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From the December 2015 issue
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Unveiled at the 1981 Geneva auto show, the Jalpa entered production for 1982. Developed from the two-seat Silhouette and four-seat Urraco that preceded it, the Jalpa added hard angles and fender flares to fit in with its big brother, the Countach. As the entry-level Lambo, the Jalpa featured a 255-hp 3.5-liter V-8 instead of the Countach’s V-12. With Countach prices going through the roof lately, this is a good time to give the Jalpa a second look. Its design, rarity (only 410 were produced), and wonderful V-8 are the ingredients of a future classic.

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Lamborghini Jalpa

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Lamborghini JalpaBODY

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One problem area for the Jalpa is rust, specifically in the fenders that help give the car its distinct origami envelope. Water pools in certain fender-well areas. Over time and miles, the moisture aggravated by stone and debris impact results in corrosion.

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BRAKES

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Thanks to a lack of cooling ducts, Jalpa brakes will overheat. Not “tend to” or “may;” they will overheat. Owners can either configure their own brake vents to cool them, or, you know, not drive too fast.

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ENGINE

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Check for blue smoke, indicating oil entering the combustion chambers via worn valve seals. On early U.S.-spec models, sealed airboxes make changing spark plugs very difficult, generally requiring engine removal. An access panel was added to later models as a fix. The engine is actually quite solid, thanks in part to its use of a timing chain in lieu of the fragile belts found on the earlier Urraco’s V-8. Engine mounts are a weak point. Carried over from the less-powerful Urraco, the brackets tend to fail on the torquier Jalpa.

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0–60-MPH ACCELERATION, SECONDS:
-C/D test results.

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0–60-mph acceleration

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ENGINE: 3.5-liter DOHC V-8
-255 hp @ 7000 rpm
-230 lb-ft @ 3250 RPM
-REDLINE: 7500 RPM
-0–60-MPH ACCELERATION: 5.8 sec
-QUARTER-MILE: 14.5 sec @ 93 mph
-C/D test results from June 1986.

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Estimated Used Value Range*

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According to Eric Lawrence, editor of the Black Book/CPI Collectible Vehicle Value Guide: “The current market on Jalpas runs from about $25,000 on the low side to $90,000 for a very nice car. Typical cars are around $50,000. I’d give a slight edge to the later cars that featured bumpers and other trim in body color, as opposed to black on the earlier ones. The vintage-exotic market is on fire right now, and as most of the true classics have skyrocketed out of reach, many collectors are moving down to the second-tier models. For example, Ferrari 308/328s have dramatically increased in value in the past year. Countachs, especially the early cars, are going crazy, and even Diablos are making pretty big gains. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say that the Jalpas have a pretty bright future, at least in the short term.”

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Lamborghini-Jalpa-estimated-used-value-r
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Estimated Repair Costs:
PARTS LABOR
Engine-mount bracket $150 $450
Wheel (each) $2500
Engine gaskets $900 $300
Clutch replacement $1500 $2900
Tires (set of four) $400–$650 $80–$100
Brake rotors and pads (front and rear) $900 $600
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*Values provided by Black Book (BlackBookUSA.com).
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ASK AN OWNER: JOHN Y., CALIFORNIA (1983 LAMBORGHINI JALPA, 52,195 MILES)

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C/D: How long have you owned yours?
-JY: About 30 years.

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C/D: Any issues?
-JY: Maintenance-wise, it’s pretty good—as long as you’ve got a good mechanic.

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C/D: Are parts available? Anything really expensive?
-JY: Well, most of the parts are available, especially now that the factory is supporting all the older cars. I’ve waited a few months sometimes for a part to come in, but general availability is better than it’s been in a long time. The front-suspension parts, if you want to go original, are thousands of dollars.

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C/D: Any common mods, for durability or usability’s sake?
-JY: Yeah, there are some. When we rebuilt the engine, the mechanics bored out some of the oil ports to improve lubrication after discussing it with some authorities who said it was better for the bearings. Engine mounts are a weak spot. Since beefier ones are available, I upgraded.

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C/D: Any online communities you can recommend?
-JY: I’m a member of the Lamborghini Club of America. There’s also a forum called the Vintage Lamborghini Garage (vintagelamborghini.com). It’s a good information source for the older cars.

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Lamborghini Jalpa Buyer’s Guide: What You Need to Know About Values, Problem Areas, and More

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