Classic Driver Marktplatz
|Lamborghini Miura P400|
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|"Back in 1966, the supercar didn't really exist- until the Miura. Before it there were more simply high performance Gran Turismo and sports cars...Then came the Miura. Not only was the 'upstart' Lamborghini company offering a new car so soon after its baptism...but it was offering something so radical, so outrageous and doing it so seriously. Low, swoopy, cunning with a mid-mounted, transversely slung V12 under the rear window. Nothing like it had been seen before. It was the first supercar; a car on a different plane from those that had preceded it. The Miura might be described as the most significant production GT of that decade. From then on all had to follow." Lamborghini Miura by Pete Coltrin and Jean-Francois Marchet, 1982.|
From its debut as a bare chassis in 1965 until the production version drove dramatically into Casino Square before the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, in its early days the Miura attracted more than its fair share of comment and column inches among enthusiasts and in the motoring press. Its status as the world's first 'supercar' (the term hadn't yet been coined) was assured when French journalist JosÃ© Rosinski achieved 288km/h (178mph) at the Miura's wheel during a magazine road test, although whether the front wheels were actually touching the ground at this speed has been a source of discussion ever since.
The original Miura- or P400 (posteriore 4 litri) to give it its full title- is the car that made Lamborghiniï¿½s name. The very first ones were rushed into production to satisfy unexpected demand from the great and the good around the world: Ferruccio Lamborghini had anticipated making 10-15 Miuras a year so compromises had to be made, and chassis flex, high speed aerodynamic lift and occasionally disappointing build quality were inconveniences which wealthy owners had to put up with if they wanted to sample levels of performance on the road which had hereto been reserved exclusively for racing drivers in the higher formulae.
As Miura production got into its stride, various changes were made, some cosmetic, others practical. Early during P400 production the chassis thickness was increased. The Miura S of late 1968 saw black exterior metal trim replaced by chrome, lower profile tyres and a claimed 20bhp hike in power, whilst electric windows and air conditioning were offered as options. The swansong SV built from March 1971 was recognizable by its flared rear arches with wider wheels, revised rear suspension and deleted front headlamp 'eyelashes', whilst power was now claimed to peak at 385bhp, although the debate continues as to whether Lamborghini increased power simply by reprinting the sales brochure.
Today Lamborghini has come of age as an automotive marque of historic significance and the Miura is without question the most highly sought-after of all Lamborghinis. Every Miura has its fans; there are those who love the purity of the original P400, others who prefer the subtle tweaks of the S and many who worship the ultimate evolution, the SV. The revised production totals, as released in the factory's 2003 anniversary brochure (compiled by respected historian Stefano Pasini) are: P400, 275 cars; P400 S, 338 cars; P400 SV, 150 cars.
This Miura is an example of the definitive P400 model, as coveted by playboy princes, captains of industry and showbusiness stars when it hit the scene in the late 1960s. The factory build records we hold show two alternative colour schemes and destinations for chassis '3583'; the commonly available list gives the livery as Rosso Alfa Acrilico with mustard vinyl trim, and the supplying dealer as Righetti near Vicenza, in north eastern Italy, on 28th June 1968, whilst an internal register suggests the car was Giallo Fly with black trim and was destined for Milan dealer Achilli Motors. From our research for the Miura book we know that sales director Ubaldo Sgarzi was frequently taking over orders for cars placed by his staff in order to satisfy his own customers. Either way, '3583' was supplied to the home market.
Little further is known of the car's history until it was converted to right-hand drive, supposedly by the factory, before export to Australia in the early 1970s. It returned to Europe in the hands of young London property developer Anton Bilton during the 1980s classic car boom and was sold at auction by him on 14th February 1990, its consignment handled by Simon Kidston. The catalogue at the time read: "In 1974 the car was purchased by an Australian, who had it converted to RHD at the Lamborghini factory; there is full documentation to support this. The car remained in Australia until recently, whereupon it was returned to this country with all UK taxes and duties being paid."
"Recent work has included the overhauling of all chassis components some 5,000km ago, the powder coating of most metal components, the overhauling of the engine and gearbox under 5,000km ago and the attending to of any minor defects...The car will have had a full service with Portman Lamborghini by the time of sale."
The successful bidder was an old school British entrepreneur and long term classic car collector who had admired the Miura since its heyday. The reality soon dawned on him, however, that this was not really his sort of car: too impractical, too noisy and generally too extreme, so it has spent the past 20 years in gentle slumber in his motor house, attended to by a faithful mechanic and barely venturing out other than for its annual MoT test.
We are advised that everything works correctly, the only fault noted being a scratched drivers side window glass, and the car has a new MoT certificate. It is priced fairly and, given the current exchange rate, makes sense for either a British buyer or an enthusiast based overseas for whom conversion back to LHD would also be worthwhile. It is UK registered so may be imported to any other EU country without further taxes being due.