When it comes to luxury cars manufactured in the late 1960s, there is one particular model that stands out above the rest. That model is the Lamborghini Miura, which was made by Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini from 1966 to 1973. The Miura was revolutionary for supercars, as it is the first that has a rear mid-engine two-seat layout, and this layout would become the standard for almost all supercars that are made after the Miura.
Even though it is popular from the day it was introduced at a motor show until today, the Miura wasn’t supposed to become a production model at first, as it was built by a team of engineers that intended to develop the vehicle as a side project at first. To know more, here is a brief history of the Lamborghini Miura.
Developing the Miura
In 1965, a group comprised of three engineers named Paolo Stanzani, Gian Paolo Dallara, and Bob Wallace created their own project to develop a prototype supercar that they called the “P400.” For this project, they wanted to create a road car that has race model specifications, which means that it can be used for driving on the road and on the race track. Because this is an independent project, they would usually work on their prototype model at night while they are busy developing projects for Lamborghini during the day.
After a few weeks, the engineers then presented their project to founder Ferruccio Lamborghini in hopes that they could convince him and the company to create a working prototype. Lamborghini was skeptical at first, as he believed that it would be too expensive to be put in production in the future, but he eventually approved of the project but under the belief that the P400 should only be used as a marketing tool for the company.
To help with the design of the product, the engineers hired Marcello Gandini, who worked as a car stylist for the Italian car company Bertone. However, just a few days before the P400’s debut at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the engineers found problems with the car’s engine, as it could not fit inside its compartment. To hide this problem, they filled the engine bay of the vehicle with ballast and kept the hood locked so that no one could see what’s inside the prototype during the show. The P400 was well-received at the convention because of its gorgeous design, and the praise for the prototype boosted Marcello Gandini’s career in the automobile industry.
Because of the great reception of the P400 at the Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini decided to make it a production model in 1967. Around the same time, the P400 was officially given the name “Miura,” which is derived from a Spanish fighting bull breeding line of the same name.
The Miura or P400 has received numerous tweaks and upgrades during its years in production. Because of the upgrades, Lamborghini gave names to newer versions of the Miura to emphasize that they are different from the initial model. Here are some of the popular production models of the Lamborghini Miura.
The first production model of the Miura is the P400, which features a 3.9-liter Lamborghini V12 engine that was also utilized for the 400GT in the late 60s to early 70s. According to reports, there were 275 Lamborghini P400s that were manufactured from 1966 to 1969, and each unit was priced at $20,000 (when adjusted to inflation in 2020, the price is at about $159,000). There were rumors that the first 125 P400s were lighter, as they were built of 0.9mm steel. As of 2020, the rumors still remain unaddressed.
The upgraded version of the P400, the P400S, was first shown at the Turin Motor Show in November 1968. It was also in the same show in 1965 where the chassis for the P400 prototype was introduced. The P400s features power windows and chrome trimming around the headlights and windows to give it an extra flair of elegance. In addition, the P400S also has new rocker switches for its overhead inline console, an improved camshaft profile, and an enhanced engine with better specs. There were 338 P400S units that were manufactured between 1968 and 1969. Famous owners of the P400S units include Frank Sinatra and Eddie Van Halen (who recorded himself revving up its engine for Van Halen’s song “Panama”).
The last production model released by Lamborghini for the Miura was the P400SV, which was introduced in 1971. The P400SV has a different cam timing compared to the P400S, as the P400SV runs much smoother thanks to the new camshaft and 4×3-barrel Weber carburetors. The engine for the P400SV also has extra power, and its gearbox features an independent lubrication system that is split from the engine. As for its design, the P400SV has wider rear fenders and redesigned headlights that don’t have the signature “eyelashes” seen in the previous Miura models. It was reported that there were only 150 P400SV produced from 1971 to 1973.
The Miura is considered one of the greatest cars ever made because of its revolutionary features and sophisticated design. All the production models of the Miura are regarded as collector’s items, as one P400 unit can fetch you $1 million to $3 million, depending on its condition. Lamborghini created tribute models of the Miura in 2006 and 2016, but they have no plans to put it back into production. So, the Miura would still remain rare and expensive in the automobile resale market.