The price may have looked high for the U.K., but it equates to about 400k
euros. It would be hard to find a nicer LHD car in Europe for the same money


"But step back for a minute and work out what makes the Miura so special. In 1966 there was nothing like it. Only racing cars and the obscure little French Bonnet/Matra Djet had mid-mounted engines. Ferrari's road-going mainstay was the traditional front-engined 275 GTB. So when tractor magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini stole the attention of the Geneva Salon crowd with the Miura, people were shocked as much by its audacious mechanical layout as they were by its era-defining and stunningly gorgeous styling." -Classic Cars, July 2004.

Ferruccio Lamborghini's bold challenge to Ferrari had begun in 1964 with the 350 GT, but it was the arrival of the Miura-arguably the founder of the supercar class-that established Lamborghini as a major manufacturer of luxury sporting cars. Prior to the model's official debut at the 1966 Geneva Salon, Lamborghini cars were respected for their impressive mechanical specifications, but they somehow lacked a distinctive persona. All this changed with the arrival of the Miura, named after Don Eduardo Miura, a famous breeder of fighting bulls.

The Miura project first surfaced as a rolling chassis displayed at the 1965 Turin Motor Show, but was not expected to become a production reality. Nevertheless, by the time of the Geneva Salon the following year, the first completed car was ready for unveiling to an awestruck press and public.

The Lamborghini Miura's technical specification was breathtaking in its sophistication and complexity. Designed by Gianpaolo Dallara, the Miura chassis carried its transversely mounted engine amidships in a box-section platform chassis, the latter clothed in stunning coupe coachwork styled by Bertone's Marcello Gandini. Like the contemporary 400 GT, the Miura used the 4-liter version of Lamborghini's Giotto Bizzarrini-designed 4-cam V12. With 350 hp available, the Miura was capable of shattering performance, a top speed of 180 mph being claimed. Production examples were independently tested at more than 170 mph, confirming that the Lamborghini Miura was the world's fastest production car.

Initial Miura development concentrated on chassis strengthening, these and other improvements being consolidated in the "S" version introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1968. Produced from January 1969, the Miura P400 S featured a more powerful (370 hp) engine and was outwardly distinguishable from the preceding model by its wider tires. Other improvements included a quieter transmission, electric windows, better quality interior fittings, leather trim and a rerouted exhaust system that left room for a larger luggage compartment. Later, Series II examples benefited from ventilated brake discs that markedly reduced fade. Around 140 were built before the introduction of the SV version in 1971.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Lamborghini Miura P400S
Number Produced:300 approx.
Original List Price:$19,250
Tune Up Cost:$375
Distributor Caps:$500 (two required)
Chassis Number Location:Front crossmember, behind radiator
Engine Number Location:Inside vee on top of engine
Club Info:Lamborghini Club America PO Box 649 Orinda, CA 94563
Alternatives:1970 DeTomaso Mangusta, 1971 Maserati Ghibli SS, 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

This 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400S sold for $585,170, including buyer’s premium, at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in Sussex, England, on July 3, 2009.

A German-market car supplied new by the Swiss Garage Foitek on February 26, 1970, it remained with the original owner until 2002, when the second owner purchased it and embarked upon a lengthy restoration. It has since covered only 700 km.

Though chassis 4455 climbed over its bottom estimate, at first glance this appeared quite a steep price for a Miura p400S in England. But, as usual, exchange rates skew the way the market looks, and it was bang-on for a good left-hand-drive car in Europe. The S, or “Spinto” (meaning “pushed,” or tuned) model has thicker (1 mm rather than 0.9 mm) chassis rails, plus rear suspension revisions to suit 70-series Pirelli Cinturato rubber-daringly low profile in its day. As well as the other changes, the S had a leather steering wheel instead of wood, a passenger grab handle, and the toggle switches were replaced with rockers so they could be sold in the U.S. Factory records show that nearer 300 Ss were made than the often-quoted 140, but this Miura pre-dates by 25 cars the ventilated discs that arrived some time in 1970.

The result of the five-year restoration leaves the 1970 P400S in super original-spec order. The body fit is good, and all trim is present and correct. The chassis and wishbones are flat and smooth in satin black, and the perforated crossmembers nice and straight, when often they are dinged. The calipers and suspension have been rebuilt, new pipes abound, and there is tidy new wiring to the scuttle-mounted fusebox.

The engine is dry and clean, though some castings are painted silver, when a natural finish would look more authentic. It retains its original distributor cover, plus black plastic battery cover and metal strap, which are often missing, though it’s not clear whether a spare wheel and strap were included with the car. It wears wider rear wheels, probably from an SV, and these are shod in older Pirelli P7000s that presumably date from when the car last ran in anger, with newish P4000s up front.

Cloth insert seats rare and probably irreplaceable

The interior is near perfect, with rare cloth-insert seats that are unworn and probably original, as the material is unavailable. Only a few cracks in the inlay next to the speedo (now reading 58,216 km) detract.

Miura authority and SV owner Simon Kidston, whose definitive history of the model will be published later in the year, says: “This was the ideal color combination, and the cloth-insert seats are rare. It’s a shame someone has put wider rear wheels on, as it loses its dainty original looks and the top speed will be down, although owners don’t drive them that way. This was a very nice, above-average car, not quite up to Pebble Beach standards but good for a European owner who wants to drive it. Twenty years ago, right-hand-drive cars used to be sought-after, but now left-handers are easier to sell.”

The Miura S sits around $150,000 further up the scale than the preceding P400, of which similar numbers were made and, though this one made healthy money, in fact the hammer price didn’t quite hit its original reserve-before the sale the German seller dropped $16,300 on what he’d accept, and the top bid just about matched that minimum-but it was a close thing. “The price might have looked high for the U.K.,” says Kidston, “but that equates to about 400,000 euros, and it would be hard to find as nice a left-hand-drive car as this in Europe for the same.”

So, though the seller was being realistic, it looks here that the English buyer got a reasonable deal on a very nice, no-stories car. As the function of the auctioneer is to bring buyers and sellers to meet in the middle, you can call that fair both ways.

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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