“It’s the fastest car we’ve ever driven on the road,
at 168mph. There are others – the new Aston Martin DBSV8, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4
– that will give it some competition, but until we’ve driven these, we give it
the honour of Fastest on the Road” – Road & Track’s first
test of a Miura P400 S in April 1970
The definitive supercar of the Sixties, the Miura
needs little introduction and today remains the original supercar, the motoring
landmark that set the template and inspired all Latin exotica that followed. It
is frequently voted ‘sexiest car of all time’.
This 1970 Miura P400 S is almost unique. Having been
first delivered via Swiss agent Foitek in May 1970, it was bought by our
client’s father on 16 December 1977 with just 9,800km on the odometer.
After completing just a further c. 9,000km, never
restored yet carefully maintained with matching numbers and – importantly –
still having its charismatic Skay Nero/Senape interior, it is one of the
most original cars we have ever presented.
The Lamborghini P400 S
The Miura P400 that made its debut at Geneva in 1966
was an immediate hit, but early cars were very much ‘works in progress’. The
factory found that constant improvements and revisions needed to be made to
both productionise the car as well as make it more user-friendly, and in late
1968 Lamborghini offered an updated version, the 'S', for spinto, or
tuned, which appeared at the Turin Show.
The P400 S addressed the original Miura's
shortcomings, principally those of handling, build quality and cockpit comfort.
It had new Pirelli tyres and later in production the P400 S received ventilated
brakes. Inside, electric windows replaced wind-ups, the carpets and (optional)
leather interior were upgraded, some switchgear was redesigned and there was a
large passenger grab handle and new glovebox lid.
Most Miuras were still delivered with vinyl imitation
leather (‘Skay’) upholstery, usually with velour panels in mustard, grey or
navy. A P400 S can be recognised by its chrome window surrounds and ‘S’
badge on the boot.
Production of the P400 S ran to 338 examples, from
November 1968 to early 1971.
This Motor Car
Miura P400 S chassis 4542 was invoiced to Swiss
Lamborghini agent Garage Foitek on 14 April 1970. The copy of the factory
invoice that accompanies the car declares ‘4542’ was equipped with engine
number 30505 and, as a late-series P400 S, it was supplied with desirable
ventilated discs. The fattura for 6,581,125 lire states the car was
finished in Rosso Corsa with Senape.
Bertone – who actually built, painted and trimmed the
cars prior to final assembly in Sant’Agata, and produces the most definitive
records – lists chassis 4542 as Rosso Corsa with Beige and Nero.
It was a combination of the vibrant racing colour of Italy paired with a
classic Miura interior of black leatherette lightened by seat panels in Senape,
a mustard-beige velour.
Incredibly, together with original engine ‘30505’, the
car bears this interior and, quite possibly, much of its first paint today.
As country distributor, Garage Foitek subsequently
sold ‘4542’ to Grand Garage des Nations of Geneva, to whom on 12 May 1970 it
issued invoice 661 for 46,800 CHF. Nothing further is known about the car until
our client’s father bought it in 1977, when he was told it was a ‘one owner
car’. A receipt from Marcel Willemin’s Garage du Bout du Monde in Geneva
dated 16 December 1977 confirms the price paid was 42,000 CHF and distance
covered at that time was 9,800km.
Its new owner – a trained engineer, who knew how to
look after a high-performance car – was an organised man and immediately began
a diary of routine maintenance of his new acquisition, which he kept it until
1991. By August 1983 the car had completed 11,400km; at October 1986 12,129km;
October 1989 12,318km. In August 1991 the oil was changed once again – to his
preferred brand Agip SINT 2000 – and the odometer read 12,353km.
In recent years, chassis 4542 has been in the care of
French sports car specialist FB Motors of Saint-Jeoire, just over the border
from Geneva and well-versed in maintaining and restoring Miuras (they tend our
client’s other, orange car). The car has always been regularly serviced –
however low the mileage – and copies of invoices from FB record the following
annual odometer readings:
- 19 April 2011 yearly service, 13,207km
- 16 November 2011 yearly service, 13,894km
- 10 February 2012, spare parts only
- 28 May 2014 yearly service, 16,020km
- 21 September 2015 yearly service, 16,563km
- 28 July 2016 yearly service, 16,891km
- 7 August 2017 yearly service, 17,942km
- 13 October 2017 yearly service, 18,016km
- 27 July 2018 clutch overhaul, two new tyres,
All the while, the car has been lovingly preserved in
its original condition and a recent drive in it impressed us. It felt one of
the top five Miuras we have driven. Here was a genuine ‘time warp’ example,
carefully maintained, never restored and feeling as good as when it first
crossed into Switzerland via Ponte Tresa on 20 April 1970. We have rarely handled such an unspoilt car in totally correct driving condition before, a testament to the decades spent in one family’s careful ownership. For those searching for the ‘right Miura’, the waiting is over.