Often cited as the world’s first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura mixed a low, smooth body with the power of a mid-mounted V12 engine to create what went on to be a sensation. The Countach, the Diablo, the Aventador, all of these Lamborghini’s as well as other magnificent modern supercars owe their existence to the pioneering design of this humble little machine.
The Miura was actually conceived of not by a room full of designers and planners, but instead by Lamborghini’s engineering team on their lunch break! Although company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini had preference to the sedate grand tourers like the Ferrari 275, the engineering team went ahead and built the car against his wishes and presented the P400 prototype at the 1966 Geneva Motorshow to unprecedented critical acclaim. Its fame was largely attributed to the low, smooth design coined by Marcello Gandini, and the revolutionary mid-engine setup with 50/50 weight distribution for better performance.
The car was powered by a 3929cc V12, producing a mind boggling 350hp and a top speed of 171mph, with a 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds, which even today is very good. At the time this performance made it the fastest production road car in the world.
After 764 examples were built and with minimal changes to the design, the Miura was eventually axed in 1973 when Lamborghini prepared to present their next magnificent sculpture of automotive art, the Countach, which has now come to define the modern sports car with its wedge shape.
Even though many people forget the Miura and recognise the Countach much more easily, you can’t escape the fact that it is a seriously sexy little number, and has appeared in many great movies over the years. One of its most prominent roles was in the 1969 film The Italian Job, where it opens up the movie driving through the Italian Alps to the soundtrack of Matt Monro’s ‘On Days Like These’…
…before smashing headlong into a Bulldozer and being thrown off a cliff into a river…
…like all great movie cars!
Actually the car thrown off the cliff was a spare chassis with a composite body built on top of it, notable due to the fact that there’s no seats, no engine and no supporting frame. It had to be, no way anyone was going to destroy a real Miura and hope to have any respect for it afterwards!
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