The magnificent Lamborghini Miura celebrates its 55th birthday in 2021 and the luminous automotive silhouette looks sharper than ever…
Capable of a blistering 170mph, albeit without the comfort and control we expect from anything sporty nowadays, the illustrious Lamborghini Miura was admired and desired by oil sheikhs, pop stars, heads of state and just about every wealthy philanderer who took themselves seriously around the world.
It was produced some 55 years ago between 1966 – 1973 and the Italian rear mid-engined supercar was quick to blaze the trail of high-performance supercars that were doing their best to hang on to stylish Italian’s high powered tyre tracks. Launched by Ferruccio Lamborghini, the often colourful icon became the fastest production road car and was aptly named after a breed of ‘toro’ reared since the 19th century by the Miura family in Andalucia, southern Spain.
Synonymous with masculinity, strength and power, the unmistakable Lamborghini proudly displays its now instantly recognisable macho bull on the hood that requires little if any explanation. Following a rolling chassis presentation at the 1965 Turin Auto Show, the P400 prototype was given its successful debut at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show where it received rapturous applause from gobsmacked press and onlookers.
Its ostentatious Bertone-crafted design was penned by Marcello Gandini who worked closely with a skilled development team which included three outstanding engineers that were privileged enough to work on the Miura at the start of their long careers, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani and Bob Wallace who was himself responsible for the Miura’s horsepower.
Following the P400, 1968 witnessed the introduction of an updated Miura: the P400 S and retained the same Bertone design and featured the ongoing updates that were applied over the course of the production run of the original Miura P400. Visually, what differentiated the P400 S from the P400 were the headlight bezels, less “eyelashes,” and chrome-plated exterior window trim, as well as the addition of an S badge to the rear.
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Inside, the cockpit was given an updated and higher-quality trim which included a revised instrument layout with power windows. Powertrain changes included four thirsty Weber 40IDL-3L carburettors and an additional 20hp pulled from the 4.0-litre V-12 which gave the hungry Italian an eye-watering 370hp.
The P400 S was fast, very fast. Road & Track tested a new Miura for their April 1970 issue and clocked a 5.5-second 0–60 mph time, as well as a top speed of 168 mph, while a later test by Autocar magazine that August cited a top speed of 172 mph.
To many, the Lamborghini Miura remains the world’s first supercar, pushing the boundaries of what was thought to be possible in designing an automobile. Not only did it push the boundaries of performance to the limit, but its sensuous form also gave automobile aesthetics a new direction. The classic Italian is now the most recognisable and perfect automotive silhouette to this day.
Prices remain buoyant with a recent 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Speciale selling in London for a remarkable £3,935,000.