It is fair to say that before the Miura, Lamborghini produced some outstanding Grand Touring cars which, despite their superlative mechanical specifications, somehow lacked a definable persona. All this changed on 10 March, 1966 when the Geneva Salon opened its doors to the public. Sitting proudly on the Lamborghini stand was the very fist Miura. Completed only days before and finished in a striking orange hue, the car caused a sensation. Its mid-engined V12 layout was in itself highly innovative, but it was the extraordinarily flamboyant body by Marcello Gandini of Bertone that provided the masterly final touch. With 350bhp on tap the car was capable of nearly 180mph in the hands of the brave, which was more than a match for any other road going production car.
The Miura quickly made a name for itself among pop stars, racing drivers, young heads of state and other wealthy playboys. This was the car in which to be seen in the late 1960s, the very last word in style, speed and outright sexiness; the sort of car which made children weak kneed, women swoon and traffic stop in all directions when it passed. Today, if one is asked to call to mind an automotive icon from the Swinging Sixties, then surely it would have to be a Pistachio Green Miura.
A process of evolution and improvement continued throughout the life of the Miura, and in 1968 the “S” (for Spinto, or tuned) version appeared boasting 370 bhp, revised tires, electric windows and stiffer chassis. Jus 140 of these cars were built before the final SV version was introduced at the 1971 Geneva Salon. The SV acquired fatter rear wheel arches and an extra 200kg while losing its characteristic headlight eyelashes, making the Miura S arguably the best combination of performance and purity of line, not to mention the rarest Miura variant.
The example pictured here may well be one of the Miura S’s in the world. Originally built in 1968 as a left hand drive P400 with build number 248, it was returned to the factory in 1970 and completely reconstructed as a right hand drive P400S with air conditioning, gaining a new build number (526) and thus acquiring the status of a new car. This was regular practice for these hand-built masterpieces.
It has recently returned to the factory again, where it has undergone a total ground-up restoration at a cost of more than $200,000, since when a mere five hundred miles have been covered. Thus it is truly “as new.” Total mileage is said to be only 15,000.
Once owned by Justin de Villeneuve, manager and partner of ’60s supermodel Twiggy, and having appeared with them in advertisements and magazine features, the car is famous in its own right.
Bills and photographic record of the restoration at Lamborghini’s factory and some correspondence are all supplied.