Happy Birthday to the Lamborghini Miura
The Lamborghini Miura, the most famous high-performance car ever to be produced in Italy, is about to celebrate its 40th birthday. The celebrations will continue throughout 2006 with a series of events involving The House of Sant’Agata Bolognese, Lamborghini Clubs, and numerous customers and enthusiasts from all over the world.
The revolutionary concept of a supercar with a mid-engined V12 mounted transversely saw the light of day for the first time in the autumn of 1965 at the Turin Motor Show and it cemented the reputation of the Lamborghini name worldwide.
The chassis, complete with all mechanical parts and therefore the technical heart of what was to become the supercar par excellence, was presented to the public in Turin. With this chassis, its creators, the engineers Gianpaolo Stanzani and Gianpaolo Dallara, turned the accepted concept of a super sports car on its head.
The ‘TP400’ chassis (the abbreviation stands for ‘Trasversale Posteriore 4.0 litre’) was constructed from sheet steel which was bent, cut, welded and drilled in a more aeronautical rather than automotive style. This was a radical innovation compared to the standard solution of a circular or oval section tubular chassis.
This intricate structure in sheet steel provided the frame for the vehicle, the attachment points for the suspension, the central area for the cockpit and the space for the drivetrain, which was just as revolutionary.
The well-known, highly-rated V12 engine from Bologna, which had a cylinder capacity of 3,929cc and a maximum power of 350 hp, was modified by creating a new engine block into which the clutch, transmission and differential were incorporated. This single, light-alloy sculpture made sure that the principal mechanical parts of the TP400 were integrated into a unique, light, rigid and compact structure: ideal for use in a very high performance sports car. The fact that it was mounted immediately behind the cockpit and in front of the rear wheels, and therefore near the centre of gravity of the car, meant that weight distribution and the polar moment of inertia were particularly good.
This chassis met with extraordinary success at that Turin Motor Show. The interest shown by the great names in car design and styling, all interested in the possibility of building the bodywork for this new and exciting chassis, gave rise to a series of private meetings with Ferruccio Lamborghini.
After a few weeks, in the month of February 1966, Bertone was able to officially declare that it had been engaged by Lamborghini to create the bodywork for the chassis. The Head of Design of the Turin House, Marcello Gandini, actually already started work on this project at the end of 1965, immediately after the close of the Turin Motor Show.
The presentation of the final car came in a record time, only five months after that of the chassis, during the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966.
One of the great masterpieces of our time in terms of automotive design was born. It took its name from the most ferocious and feared breed of Spanish fighting bulls: the Miura.
Click to see all the Lamborghini Miuras for sale on Classic Driver
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter