Automobiles of London

27 October 2010

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Lot 194

1969 Lamborghini Islero GTS

  • Chassis no. 6432

Sold for £106,400

350 hp, 3,939 cc DOHC alloy V-12 engine, six Weber carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear suspension by unequal length A-arms with coil springs, adjustable shocks and anti-roll bars, hydraulic disc brakes front and rear. Wheelbase: 100.4"

- Sir Roger Moore’s car in the movie The Man Who Haunted Himself
- One of 100 Islero GT “S” models and one of only five RHD examples
- 38,000 original miles

One of the least-known Lamborghini models, the Islero GT is generally agreed to be the company’s hidden gem. Only 226 were built – including 100 of the powerful “S” editions – and the model was named after the legendary bull that killed Manolete, the best matador in the world. Ferruccio Lamborghini himself even drove an Islero.

A revision of the quirky 400GT by ex-Touring designer Mario Marazzi, this conservative notchback coupé with hidden headlights was overshadowed by the glamorous Espada at the 1968 Geneva Auto Show launch of both models. In today’s market, however, the Islero is widely considered to be more desirable.

A fine dark blue Islero owned by automotive journalist Donald Osborne brought a record $203,500 at auction in Monterey in 2008, and while it was an original low-mileage example, it was not an “S" model, did not have this car’s celebrity connection and had not been restored at a cost of nearly £100 000.

Once again carrying its original registration YLR 11G, this car was driven by Sir Roger Moore in the 1970 cult thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself. It was Moore’s last movie before taking over from Sean Connery for seven James Bond movies, and he considers it his best work. He played the dual role of a conservative city businessman and his doppelganger, a suave Bond-like figure, who drove this car. It was positioned as a powerful representation of the hero’s alter ego throughout the movie, including the climactic chase.

Moore was recently reunited with this Islero in Knightsbridge and autographed the sun visor, the original driver’s handbook and a special plaque. These come with the car, along with an impressive collection of documents, including the original factory invoice, a photographic record of the restoration and a letter from Valentino Balboni, the legendary Lamborghini test driver, confirming this is the actual movie car.

YLR 11G was invoiced by the factory on 31 March, 1969 and shown as being RHD, metallic azzurro blue with gray Connolly leather interior. The UK invoice dated 18 April, 1969 showed a total of £8 440, or $20,256, including $480 for the sprint engine and $600 for air conditioning. The first owner was Clifford Johnson, who sold it to racing driver Paul Weldon shortly after the movie was made. Next it went to war hero Phillip Richards, who owned the car for 13 years. In 1986 Brian Power bought #6432 and had it restored by Gantspeed, regardless of cost. Power decided to mirror Lamborghini’s own personal Islero, and #6432 was repainted in silver and trimmed with burgundy leather. The next owner was a wealthy collector who stored it in a climate-controlled building for 20 years before selling it in 2007, when it was re-commissioned by Brian Classic.

Martin Buckley of Classic and Sportscar magazine drove this Islero in 2008 and proclaimed it “the best Lambo of the lot.” His story can be found in the July 2008 issue of the magazine.
We believe this is the best Lamborghini Islero we have ever seen. The powerful four-litre “Sprint” engine is matched with a five-speed, full-synchromesh gearbox for an exhilarating experience. Modern adjustable shock absorbers and the superlight Campagnolo magnesium wheels ensure an excellent ride. The clutch is light, the throttle is smooth and progressive, and the gearshift has a precise, short throw.

The “S” version includes side vents, suspension and braking improvements and more power. The redesigned cabin features air conditioning and higher-backed, more comfortable seats, as well as improved instruments and switchgear. The original Blaupunkt Blue Spot radio still works well, and the rich leather interior is superb. This is a beautifully restored, low-mileage, matching-numbers example with the additional uniqueness of being a car driven by James Bond himself, Sir Roger Moore. If life is all about the journey, why not travel in style?


Alexander Weaver

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