1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S BerlinettaCoachwork by Bertone
"Back in 1966, the supercar didn't really exist- until the Miura. Before it there were more simply high performance Gran Turismo and sports cars...Then came the Miura. Not only was the 'upstart' Lamborghini company offering a new car so soon after its baptism...but it was offering something so radical, so outrageous and doing it so seriously. Low, swoopy, cunning with a mid-mounted, transversely slung V12 under the rear window. Nothing like it had been seen before. It was the first supercar; a car on a different plane from those that had preceded it. The Miura might be described as the most significant production GT of that decade. From then on all had to follow." Lamborghini Miura by Pete Coltrin and Jean-François Marchet, 1982.
From its debut as a bare chassis in 1965 until the production version drove dramatically into Casino Square before the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix, in its early days the Miura attracted more than its fair share of comment and column inches among enthusiasts and in the motoring press. Its status as the world's first 'supercar' (the term hadn't yet been coined) was assured when French journalist José Rosinski achieved 288km/h (178mph) at the Miura's wheel during a magazine road test, although whether the front wheels were actually touching the ground at this speed has been a source of discussion ever since.
It's probably fair to say that whilst the Miura is the car that gave Lamborghini its name, the early cars were rushed into production to satisfy unexpected demand from the great and the good around the world: Ferruccio Lamborghini had anticipated making 10-15 Miuras a year so compromises had to be made, and chassis flex, high speed aerodynamic lift and occasionally disappointing build quality were inconveniences which wealthy owners had to put up with if they wanted to sample levels of performance on the road which had hereto been reserved exclusively for racing drivers in the higher formulae.
Addressing the Miura's shortcomings, the 'S' (for Spinto, or tuned) model appeared late in 1968 at the Turin Show and boasted new, low profile Pirelli tyres, more horsepower (a claimed 370bhp compared to the original's 350bhp), electric windows, optional leather upholstery (primitive air conditioning was also available on the late cars) plus redesigned interior switchgear, passenger grab handle and glove box lid. Externally the 'S' was recognizable by its chrome window and windscreen surrounds and rear badging. The last examples of the Miura 'S' also featured vented disc brakes in place of previously solid items.
The swansong SV replaced the S in 1971 (although the factory had initially announced that the two would be available concurrently), and remained in production until the last Miura was built in 1973, coinciding with Ferruccio Lamborghini relinquishing control of his company and the arrival of a radical new generation of Lamborghini, the Countach. The preceding seven years, though, remain those which established the company as an automotive icon.
Chassis '4668' is a rare example of a late production, right-hand drive Miura S and therefore features the ventilated disc brakes also used on the SV. Just eight RHD cars are listed in production records as having been supplied new with this specification. Invoiced by the factory to Lamborghini Concessionaires Ltd in Alie Street, London W1, on 25th August 1970, the sale price of Lire 7,111,125 included leather upholstery, right-hand drive steering and seat belts; the vivid orange coachwork (Arancio Miura) was complimented by a black interior. The car is recorded as having been sold on 30th September and registered 'ELB 421J', spending some time in Stockton-on-Tees in north eastern England where it was registered 'R 111’.
It was acquired by the owner of a west London-based garage when just four years old and with a mere 13,000 miles covered, but running poorly and in need of attention. This work was put on hold due to work commitments until the early 1980s, when the Miura was taken out of storage and fully rebuilt by the owner's Italian mechanic, original spares being sourced from the Lamborghini factory. Despite this, the car remained unused until 2006, when it was decided to re-commission the Miura again.
Completely overhauled 'in house' (by a small but specialist restoration team who also rebuilt the ex-Shah of Iran P400), the Miura was completed in 2007 and immediately acquired via Kidston SA by the present owner, an upcoming British collector whose tastes range from veterans to supercars. The car's only deviation from factory specification is its exterior colour, which is now Rosso Corsa. The upholstery is well preserved and strictly original, from leather to carpets, and the mechanical elements have all been either repaired, refurbished or replaced. The engine is running in and the car has done just one trip (some 300 miles from London to the new owner’s home) since acquisition. His message to us after arriving was: "An awesome drive back…A well put together piece of kit and runs like a dream. Many thanks." The sole reason for suddenly deciding to part with the Miura and other cars in the collection is the unexpected availability of another important (ie expensive) motor car requiring a pooling of resources.
Accompanying this handsome and very low mileage Miura S are copy factory invoice, 1975 purchase invoice, various old MoT certificates and factory parts invoice for the original rebuild. There are enthusiasts who rate the S above the SV, arguing that its purer lines and lesser weight offset the slight difference in power; whichever you prefer, there is no doubt that a 14,179 mile-from-new Lamborghini Miura S would be a highlight of any car collection or gathering of motoring enthusiasts. Taxed, registered and freshly MoT'd, it's ready to go.