The internal number P140 was used for the successor of the Jalpa, whose production had been halted in 1988.
The P140, probably named 'Cala', was designed with one goal in mind, superior styling, the engine and chassis were made inferior to the exterior styling of this car.
At that time, the German and Japanese cars were in the same price-range as a small Ferrari or the new 'little' Lamborghini, that was the reason why Lamborghini had to rely so much on its styling. Because both the German BMW's and Mercedes, and the Japanese cars were very fast and reliable.
Not only did the Lamborghini had to be different in style, but it also needed to be supported by state of the art mechanics. The P140 would take the styling ideas of the Miura, the Countach and the all-new Diablo, and used it to make it recognizable as a pure Lamborghini.
The P140 had to grab your attention and never let it go again, it had to express speed from every angle, the design had to be absolutely fresh and original, and in no way could it resemble another car.
The P140 had to be unique and unmistakably a Lamborghini, which offered roominess, visibility, safety, quality, aerodynamics and, of course, Lamborghini-style mechanics. The P140 was not created by just boosting the horsepower rating of a Jalpa V8 engine, a good new sports car had to be balanced, because otherwise, it would become too hard to drive, and it was a known fact that these high-performance cars almost never ended up in the hands of experienced and expert drivers.
For the design of the P140, Lamborghini contacted Carrozzeria Bertone, Chrysler Design Center and Marcello Gandini. A few scale models were shown to the Lamborghini sales network, but all these models were preliminary, because at that time the designers were still working on the look. Nevertheless, it was already known the P140 should have a targa top like the Jalpa, or even a full speedster configuration.
The exterior styling was still open, but it was already known that the new Lamborghini would use an all-new V-10 QuattroValvole engine with an electronic fuel-injection system. The Lamborghini engineers created this engine in only seven months, and it was extremely modern, light and compact.
At that time, the decision was not taken yet to use something else than the 'usual' tubular space frame chassis and unitized body, because the P140 had to be completely new, the research was oriented toward weight and structure to create something noble.
By 1992, the P140 was put aside to concentrate on the Lamborghini Diablo, the Diablo VT, and in 1994 the Diablo 30Th Anniversary Special Edition. However, on the 1995 Geneva Auto Show, a totally new Lamborghini CALA was shown, designed by ItalDesign and powered by a similar V-10 engine with a power rating of over 400 bhp, mounted in a rear central position, in an all-aluminum chassis.
At that time Automobili Lamborghini SpA officially announced the Cala as the prototype for the Jalpa successor, including the Targa roof configuration … we later discovered that unfortunately the Cala would never be produced and it took many years before the Gallardo was introduced as the ‘Baby Lamborghini’ using a totally different V10 engine.