Lamborghini Miura 1966–73 764 built Designer: Marcello Gandini at Bertone
The Lamborghini Miura is a sports car produced by Italian automaker Lamborghini between 1966 and 1973. The car pioneered the mid-engined two-seat layout, the standard for high-performance sports and supercars since. When released, it was the fastest production road car made.
The Miura was originally conceived by Lamborghini's engineering team, which designed the car in its spare time against the wishes of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, who preferred powerful yet sedate grand touring cars over the race car-derived machines produced by local rival Ferrari.
The Miura's rolling chassis was presented at the 1965 Turin auto show, and the prototype P400 debuted at the 1966 Geneva show. It received stellar receptions from showgoers and the motoring press alike, each impressed by Marcello Gandini's sleek styling and the car's revolutionary mid-engine design.
Lamborghini's flagship, the Miura received periodic updates and remained in production until 1973. A year later the extreme Countach entered the automaker's lineup, amid tumultuous financial times for the company.
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 P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree – one which could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three men worked on its design at night, hoping to convince company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini such a vehicle would neither be too expensive nor distract from the company's focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini gave his engineers a free hand in the belief the P400 was a potentially valuable marketing tool, if nothing more.
The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars. The V12 was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the Turin Salon in 1965. Impressed showgoers placed orders for the car despite the lack of a body to go over the chassis.
Bertone was placed in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before its debut at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine 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 350GTV. 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 reputation.
The favourable reaction at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by the following year. The name "Miura", a famous type of fighting bull, was chosen, and featured in the company's newly created badge. The car gained the worldwide attention of automotive enthusiasts when it was chosen for the opening sequence of the original 1969 version of The Italian Job. In press interviews of the time Ferruccio Lamborghini was reticent about his precise birth date, but stressed that he was born under the star sign Taurus the bull.
The earliest model of the Miura was known as the P400 (for Posteriore 4 litri). It was powered by a version of the 3.9 L Lamborghini V12 engine used in the 400GT at the time. The engine was mounted transversely and produced 350 PS (257 kW; 345 hp). Exactly 275 P400 were produced between 1966 and 1969.