Two years later, both the Jslero 400 GT executive model and the bizarrely flattened but roomy and beautiful Espada four-seater V12 sports cars, by Gandini for Bertone production, were introduced. The unibody-construction Espada went on to become one of the most popular designs in the company's short history. The Jslero proved to be a target for the Italian automotive media, and Lamborghini changed it substantially the following year, with flared wheelwells, hot air exhaust vents in the fenders, fixed vent windows, more power, a tuned-up interior, a tweaked suspension and a new name, Jslero GTS.
Lamborghini Jslero. Production: 225 (includes Jslero S).
Lamborghini Espada. Production: 1,226 (includes GT, GTE, GTS)
The first year of the critical '70s saw a new and improved Miura sports car, the P400S, with a heavier steel body, ventilated disc brakes, revised suspension geometry, and a new engine with bigger carburetors, new cylinder heads and higher-lift camshafts. That same year, Lamborghini offered the brand new Jarama, designed by Bertone and built by Marazzi, built on a completely new unibody floorpan derived from the old Espada. A P400 SV version of the Miura by Bertone followed in 1971, with new front and rear suspension, and bigger tires and wheels that required pushed-out fender flares.
Lamborghini Countach. Production: 1,999 (includes LP 400, LP 400S. 25. 4V, LP 5000S
But there was one more card to play in 1971, when designer Marcello Gandini and engineer Paolo Stanzani collaborated on a new car for the Geneva motor show: the completely outrageous LP500, also known as the Countach. Nothing like it had ever been seen before, and its aggressive flying-wedge shape captivated the imaginations of millions of fans around the world. The show prototype was updated continuously for more than two seasons until the production car's design would be settled, and the car went into series production in 1974.
The Countach reigned for 25 years as the most coveted sports car in the world. It posed in advertising of all kinds, all over the world, for more than 2 decades, because it said quick, fast, aerodynamic, modern, angry and hard to get. Its scissor doors, 3.9-liter V12 and 43-in. overall height simply muscled Ferrari's, and everyone else's, sports cars out of the limelight and into the shade.
Lamborghini Urraco. Production: 795 (includes P300, P200, P250, P250S)
But Ferruccio Lamborghini was in trouble. With the GTs, the Miura, the Espada, the Jslero and the Countach prototype behind him, only disaster lay ahead. Sales were down, there was a recession going on, and rumors of worldwide crude oil shortages raged through the summer. After only 9 years in the sports car business, in order to stay in business, Lamborghini had to sell control of his company in 1972 to a Swiss banker, Georges-Henri Rossetti. It would be the first of many, many financial entanglements to follow.
The Urraco V8 sports car came in 1974, coincident with the sale of the remaining 49% of the company to Rossetti's partner, Rene Leimer. These two were the first pair of owners who steered the company toward the tube, unwilling to invest in what they already owned, and unwilling to pay the bills for materials they had already bought.