The Lamborghini Miura, so-named after Don Eduardo Miura, the legendary breeder of fierce Spanish fighting bulls, was the very embodiment of the “supercar” moniker. Prior to the arrival of the Miura in 1967, many sports cars had certainly offered high levels of performance and handling. The Miura, however, was the first to be built around the criteria that define our modern concept of the supercar: tremendous speed and jaw-dropping design, coupled with technical innovation – together with a wallet-wilting price tag to which only the wealthiest could aspire.
By 1967, the latest version of the Lamborghini V12 engine, which by now had been enlarged to four liters, was used for the entirely new and radical Miura. First shown to a stunned public in March 1966 at the Geneva Salon, the Miura’s sinuous body was penned by Bertone designer Marcello Gandini, who was aged just 22 at the time. The Miura development team also included two brilliant engineers who would gain fame in their own right – Gian Paulo Dallara and Paolo Stanzini.
Under the guidance of New Zealander Bob Wallace, the Miura’s chassis was carefully tuned to deliver the handling levels needed to contain and exploit the prodigious amounts of available power. With a double-wishbone suspension at each corner, in the best racing tradition, the Miura’s technical specifications were very advanced for a road going car. The mid-mounted engine was fitted transversely to allow for a more compact overall layout. The Miura’s original design sketches also called for a glass engine cover and a three-seat layout with the driver in the middle and each of two passengers on either side. Although this latter feature never made it to the production Miura, it did re-emerge on future supercars, most notably the McLaren F1 of the 1990s.
While the glass engine cover was also never used, the rear window louvers that did appear on production models were an industry first. As the engine was no longer front-mounted but was rather “posteriore,” the first generation of Miuras were accordingly named P400s. This turned out to be a sensational, trendsetting decision. Almost immediately, the young Lamborghini marque leapfrogged to the head of the class, well ahead of both Ferrari and Maserati with this innovative mid-engine configuration.
The Miura’s technical specifications remain impressive even today: a lightweight frame, a fully independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and power provided by that well-proven, symphonic V12 engine, breathing deeply through four triple-choke Weber carburetors. Initially offered with 350 brake horsepower on tap, the Miura was capable of over 175 mph in the hands of the brave, which was more than a match for any other road going production car of the era.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
370 bhp, 3,929 cc transverse double overhead cam V12 engine, five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel double wishbone coil spring independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4"
Source: RM Auctions