Lamborghini Miura (1966 – 1972)
If Ferrari hadn’t already received a wake up call, the arrival of Lamborghini Miura must have rattled Maranello’s rafters. When it first appeared in 1965 at the Turin Motor Show the Miura was just a bare chassis, but that didn’t stop wealthy aficionados putting down deposits without knowing precisely (or even vaguely) what form their purchase would eventually take. They felt the spectacular chassis spoke for itself, with layout derived from contemporary sports races with a transversely mounted V12 engine in the middle that simply shrieked performance.
Nobody asked for their money back when they saw the finished article at the Geneva Motor Show. The word “sensational” may be overused, but was entirely appropriate to describe the motoring word’s reception of the first true superstar.This was a young man’s dream machine, engineered by a team under Lamborghini’s brilliant 24-year old Giampaolo Dallara and designed by the equally youthful Marcello Gandini at Bertone.
The electrifying Miura was a slim, low two-seater coupe with a curving front end and aerodynamic rear, punctuated by businesslike vertical air scoops at the rear of the cabin. That tough steel chassis carried a flamboyant aluminium body that included unusual clamshell opening bonnet and boot (for access to the engine and a tinny luggage compartment).
The first Miuras to be built were designed as P400 (Posteriore 4 Litri) models. Although they were expensive by the standards of the day, P400s sold well. But the refined P400S was shown at Turin in November 1968, featuring some external trim modifications, electric windows, a tuned engine and various internal enhancements. Last but not least, in fact considered best of the best – the P400SV appeared in 1971, with an even more powerful engine and slip differential. If you can only afford to drive one Lamborghini Miura, make it a P400SV.
In keeping with an on-going Lamborghini theme, the Miura was symbolically named for the famous strain of Spanish fighting bulls reared at the ganaderia near Seville, established by Don Eduardo Miura (bulls so fearsome that lesser matadors ofted refuse to face them).