Finally the Miura! This is one of my fave supercars, streamlined refinement at its best. Some say that this was the first supercar in history, I think that the Miura deserves that title, so THE first supercar in history it is!
There is so much to tell about this car so let’s start with the name. Miura is derived from the ferocious Miura bulls, an Andalusian breed of fighting bulls. These bulls were known as the strongest of all as well as the most intelligent and fiercest. Many matadors did not succeed in getting out of the arena alive when fighting against this breed of bull, the unmistakable gaze of the Miura… Like the bulls, the supercar is also not one to mess with!
Ferruccio Lamborghini was born as a true Taurus himself, maybe this is one of the reasons why he chose the symbol of a fighting bull for his brand next to his fascination for the belligerent bull-beasts. It was after a visit in 1962 to the Miura ranch that Ferruccio decided to use a fighting bull as the mascot for his company. Lamborghini’s first cars were given conventional numeric names, but his young team’s violent, dramatic, mid-engined supercar was named after Don Eduardo’s bulls, MIURA! The fourth V12 production model was presented to the rancher himself as you can see below.
During 1965, Lamborghini’s three top engineers, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace put their own time into developing a prototype car known as the Miura P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree, one which could win on the track and still be driven on the road by enthusiasts as well. Ferruccio approved the design of the road going race-supercar as a potentially valuable marketing tool. The P400 proved to be quite a bit more than just a marketing tool and grew into something most patrol heads dream of!
The first Miura model was produced from 1966 until 1969. During those early years 475 units of the Miura were produced. The rolling chassis was revealed earlier in 1965 at the Turin Auto Show (it was already so impressive that, despite it lacking a body, orders were placed). The two-seater concept made its debut at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. Bertone was in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before the the show.
Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine would really fit inside its compartment. Committed to showing the car, they decided to fill the engine bay with ballast and keep the hood locked throughout the show, as they had three years earlier for the début of the 350 GTV. Sales head Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see the P400’s power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the highlight of the show, immediately boosting stylist Marcello Gandini’s as well as Bertones reputation, who had designed the sleek Miura coachwork. He did a magnificent job making the revolutionary mid-engine really come alive as a true STAR!
Soon this sports car took over the whole world, it became the fastest production car on planet earth with its 350 HP! This is probably why it is said that the Miura is the first supercar ever… Statistics show that this might be true with a mind-blowing top speed of 280 kph and an acceleration from 0-100 kph in 6.7 sec. (in 1965!)
The P400 featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars. The V12 beast was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design.
Lamborghini’s flagship car, the Miura was such a success that periodic upgrades followed. The Miura S with 370 HP, the Miura SV with 385 HP… The later upgraded models were produced until 1973. From there Miura production ended due to tumultuous financial times for the company. Later the Countach entered production in 1974. I will come back to those later models in the next article!
As a final note I want to say that personally I don’t support animal abuse like bull fighting, but then I wasn’t born a Spanish girl.
Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos