Yet there are three members of the Miura family left to be discussed, starting with a one-off, the 1968 Miura Roadster #3498 designed by Gandini! This unique concept Roadster has no roof what so ever (not even a removable roof), it looks a bit like a targa-model. Bertone built the Roadster, based on a P400, as a show car. It made its debut at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show where it was exhibited on the Bertone stand. You can find some more Miura’s with this ‘targa’ roof, but this blue Bertone Miura, later named the ZN75, was the only Miura Roadster built by the Lamborghini Works.
Obviously the roof had gone but there were also other changes, like larger air intakes on the sides of the rollover hoop to capture more cool air for the V12 engine. The rollover hoop itself was lower than the standard Miura’s roof, for smoother air flow. The rear bodywork was reshaped, with different tail lights and a larger rear deck spoiler. The Miura’s characteristic slats were eliminated, exposing the 350 HP Lamborghini V12 engine, which gives a great view of the engine! Bertone strengthened the Miura Roadster’s box-section side members and roll hoop to make up for the open top structure.The Bertone Roadster was a stripped elemental open car designed for high speed, but it was still a roadster not at speedster…The code name ZN75, it gained, is a story in itself. After a busy show career the Roadster returned to the factory and was sold in 1969 to the ILZRO (International Lead Zinc Research Organization) in NYC. ILZRO used the Roaster as a demonstration project to show the many applications of lead and zinc in automobiles.While working closely with Bertone and Lamborghini, many components were rendered in lead, zinc or their alloys. These included the exterior trim, bumpers and mouldings, interior trim and steering wheel. The Weber carburetors were re-cast with zinc bodies and alloys were used to create engine and transmission covers, the oil pump, filter housings and even the carburetor velocity stacks. Lead sheet insulation was used in the passenger compartment.Next to the rendered components of the Roaster it was also painted golden-green with a tan leather interior, and there it was… the ZN75! The ZN75 was a big star as it was shown in several car manufacturing centres, motor and trade shows and private viewings for automobile designers. This must be one of the best known prototypes as it was shipped all over the world and has been seen by millions! It must be said that ILZRO did a great job making the ZN75 a big star, which was no mean feat as it was already a Lamborghini and Bertone design…!After a busy career and living out of the case, the Roaster settled down at its new owner in 2006. Famed restorer Gary Bobileff in San Diego brought ZN75 back to its original 1968 Brussels Show condition, no expenses spared (the invoices for Gary Bobileff’s restoration work amounted to a total of over $300,000)! The Miura Roadster was just as it had been designed by Marcello Gandini and Nuccio Bertone with bright light blue coachwork. The restoration was actually completed less than a week before the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and just in time to achieve second in the Lamborghini class, behind the first production 350GT. In its entire 40 year life this Miura has covered just 7,444km! Some consider this Roadster as the most important Lamborghini in existence, for sure it is the king of the Miuras. So that was the only factory-commissioned Lamborghini Miura Roadster by Carrozzeria Bertone, but there was also another one-off, the P400SVJ Spider…The SVJ Spider, chassis #4808, was presented at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show as a yellow Miura S. Later it was modified into a one-off pearl white concept Miura Spider with targa roof. It was displayed at the 1981 Geneva Motor Show next to the Jalpa and LM002, which were new Lamborghini models.Some characteristics of the Spider are the wide wheels and a wide rear wings. The SVJ Spider was constructed as a one-off show car on behalf by the Swiss Lamborghini Importers Lambomotor AG. As such was not an official factory modification, or indeed has any link with the factory, bar its original 1970 built production model. The Spider seemed to suit Swiss clients, as it was sold to Swiss Lamborghini collector Jean Wicki who later removed the wide rear wings and chin spoiler and repainted the car in silver.Lamborghini specialist Autodrome (France) purchased the car from Wicki and restored its bodywork and upholstery in partnership with Carrosserie Lecoq (Paris). Painted traditional Miura lime green, the car was eventually sold to a Parisian collector. This Spider has some stiffness issues and does not drive that well (as stated by the world-renowned Miura expert Joe Sackey) and it is not very well received by the general Miura cognoscenti. So just remember those two ‘open’ Miuras, all other ones are private modifications (of course those are still great cars…). As I mentioned in an earlier article, Lamborghini designed in 2006 a concept for a modern version of the Miura. It was Lamborghini’s design chief Walter de Silva who came up with this design. This concept was a way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original Miura, introduced in 1966 at the Geneva Motor Show. The 2006 Miura concept car was revealed at the North American International Auto Show. If this gives you hope for an upcoming new Miura, I have to disappoint you, because Lamborghini president and CEO Stefan Winkelmann said: “The Miura was a celebration of our history, but Lamborghini is about the future. Retro design is not what we are here for. So we won’t do the Miura”. I agree, I’d rather see the real Miura next to a futuristic new Lamborghini design than a sort of new Miura that isn’t a true Miura anymore, don’t you think?Next up some very famed coachbuilders, some masters who took coachbuilding to a different level! We should honor these masters as much as possible, so CHB will be doing just that!
Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos