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Boasting ideal proportions, abundant lines and generous curves created by the hands of Marcello Gandini of the Bertone studio, the Miura is coveted the world over. As testimony to Gandini’s skill, he would be made Chief Designer at Italdesign after Giorgetto Giugiaro who was named Car Designer of the Century in 2002.
The Miura’s first public appearance was made in chassis and engine form only at the 1965 Turin motor show.
While Ferrari, its eternal rival, struggled with old concepts and outdated dogma, Lamborghini pointed to the future by using a competition-inspired steel chassis and mounted its V12 engine in a mid-car position. It would be necessary to wait another six months for the aesthetics of the new Lamborghini, revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
Although the main highlight of the Miura was its body and performance figures, the use of a mid-mounted engine was a game-changer for road-going supercars. The solution was suggested to Ferruccio Lamborghini by Gian Paolo Dallara, the then director of the brand’s engineering department, who wanted to manufacture a racing car.
The first Lamborghini Miura, designated the P400, had a 60-degree V12 engine made entirely of aluminum. The 3929cc unit had four overhead camshafts and four triple-body Weber 46IDA 3C1 carburetors, it developed 350hp at 7000 revolutions per minute.
The transmission was a fully synchronised five-speed gearbox with a ZF self-locking differential. The wishbone suspension, also derived from competition was independent on all four wheels along with helical springs, telescopic dampers and torsion bars.
The first Miura was able to reach a top speed of 273 km/h, taking 4.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h and 11.7 seconds to reach 160 km/h.
Over the years, the Lamborghini Miura has benefited from some improvements, mainly on the engine, helping it to develop more power. Lamborghini also improved the build quality which increased somewhat the total weight of the car.
In 1969 the Miura P400 S appeared equipped with four triple body Weber 40IDL 3L carburetors, and a changed compression ratio to 10.7: 1, previously only 9.5: 1. The V12 engine developed 370hp at 7700 revolutions per minute, and although the car saw its weight rise considerably, the performance remained phenomenal. The top speed was now 277 km/h, taking just six seconds to reach 100 km/h and 15 seconds to reach 160 km/h.
The Lamborghini Miura achieved instant fame, being one of the most coveted sports cars at the time, even though its production numbers were never truly big. 474 units of the P400 (1966-69), were produced, while for the P400 S, (1969-71), the second series, only 140 units were produced. The last and most desired series was the P400 SV Miura (1971-72). Only 150 units of those were produced.
This latest evolution saw the power of its engine increase to 385hp at 7700 revolutions per minute, allowing a maximum speed of 290 km/h. In addition, it was much better behaved on the road and more reliable.
The Miura continued to receive improvements from the world of competition, such as a separate lubrication system for the engine and gearbox. The self-locking differential was another of the improvements, as was the completely revised suspension, which now worked in conjunction with the wider rear tyres. The wider tyres also forced Lamborghini to widen the body. The interior too received some attention being trimmed with leather.
The fabulous Lamborghini P400 SV Miura in the Museu do Caramulo rolled out of the Sant’Agata factory on April 22, 1971, as part of the final series of this supercar. In 1985, it returned to the Italian factory again to be completely overhauled, painted and reupholstered, leaving it in perfect condition.