"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 Lamborghini P400 S
In original P400 form, the Lamborghini Miura left its rivals for dead in terms of styling, handling and overall performance. It was the original and definitive supercar of the Sixties, the motoring landmark that set the template and inspired all Latin exotica that followed, and it is frequently voted ‘sexiest car of all time’.
The prototype Miura P400 made its debut at the March 1966 Geneva Salon and was the sensation of the week. The orders rolled in for the world’s first mid- engined series production ‘supercar’, but early Miuras 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. From 1966 to 1968 Lamborghini delivered a total of 275 P400s, with the bulk of P400 production in 1968.
Late that year Lamborghini offered an updated version, the ‘S’, for spinto, or tuned, which appeared at the ’68 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 its engine was further improved, with extensive work on the cylinder heads. The factory quoted an additional 20bhp, to 370bhp. 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 passenger grab handle and glovebox lid. Simple air-conditioning was available on the last cars. Most Miuras were still delivered with leatherette (‘Skay’) upholstery. 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
Italian dealer Eugenio Ferranti of Foligno, Perugia handled the sale of chassis 3832, and according to factory and Bertone records it was delivered in vibrant Rosso Corsa with Skay Nero interior and blue cloth seat inserts – the configuration in which it is presented today. As a very early car it was fitted with solid disc brakes.
The original Italian certificate of approval, normally surrendered upon registration, remains with the car and is dated 29 November 1968: the first month of S production. The first bill of sale, stamped and notarised as was Italian practice for decades, shows that Ferranti sold the new car to Mrs Maria Germagnoli of Piacenza for the considerable sum of Lire 6,920,368. It is not difficult to see that the then 66-year-old Signora, whose occupation was described as ‘housewife’, was acting as an intermediary: a pencil note in the margin instructs the bill of sale to be sent, upon receipt of a cheque for payment, to the Autosalone Piacenza, a dealer whose partners are listed as Refetti and… Germagnoli. As a footnote, the tax affairs of ladies in 1960s Italy were not normally subject to investigation.
A second, notarised bill of sale documents ownership passing from Mrs Germagnoli to Giulio Vignale, nephew of coachbuilder Alfredo Vignale, resident in Turin. To all intents and purposes, Vignale bought a brand-new Miura S. It was kept in his collection, unseen and undriven, until at least 8 July 2008. Copies of documents accompanying the car reveal that on that day Giulio Vignale of via Campobasso, 26, Turin gave a sale mandate for the car to veteran Italian dealer Corrado Cupellini. Vignale died on 28 July 2010, aged 72.
The ‘Vignale car’ enjoyed a mysterious reputation in Miura circles, but despite speaking with Mr Vignale over the years we were never able to see it. Instead, unexpectedly, we received a call from a German dealer early in 2014. He had just bought the car and we had 24 hours to decide if we wanted it. We knew a client who did and a deal was done.
It was untouched, largely unused and unique. Detailed inspection with the help of Valentino Balboni suggested it deserved partial restoration, but what also marked ‘3832’ out as a significant car was the treasure trove of original documentation – in almost ‘as new’ condition – that came with it, and its total originality with so many details such as period stickers, badges and switches that normally go missing in action.
Included with the car are the original:
• Certificato di Origine. Dated 21-11-68. The 1968 document that certifies the authenticity of chassis 3832.
• Certificato di assistenza in garanzia, with Tagliando A, B and C. The factory guarantee form and three white dockets for 3,000km 8,000km and 15,000km service intervals. These are perforated for tear-off by the service agent, but amazingly are still intact.
• Certificato di Approvazione. Dated 29-11-68. Certificate of roadworthiness.
• Declarations of sale. Two typed and notarised letters confirming the sale of the car first from Lamborghini dealership Ferranti (Foligno, Perugia) to Maria Germagnoli (Piacenza), then from Mrs Germagnoli to Giulio Vignale (Turin).
• Owner’s manual. Original yellow-cover owner’s manual for the Miura P400 S.
Under the careful supervision of Kidston SA, award-winning Italian restorer Top Motors, run by ex-Lamborghini foreman Orazio Salvioli and his son Luca, carried out a sympathetic mechanical restoration of ‘3832’ that included a suspension and engine rebuild. All body and paintwork were entrusted to another Modenese workshop with countless concours prizes to its credit, Carrozzeria Cremonini, while a partial re-trim was completed by nearby Ferrara-based Lamborghini specialists Alessandro Bussolari and Andrea Barbieri. The project lasted from 2014 until 2016 and no expense whatsoever was spared.
In addition to the period documentation, restoration invoices totalling in excess of €220,000 and detailed professional photographs of the work accompany the car.
During the restoration, it soon became apparent that although nearly five decades had passed since it was first delivered to Eugenio Ferranti, ‘3832’ still showed a wealth of original detail. The experienced restoration team was surprised at the almost ‘time- warp’ condition of the car, and has done everything possible to keep these details intact, all the while working to a brief to recreate the car’s condition ‘as delivered’.
For example, Top Motors’ experienced team found that the factory-designed, triangular chassis reinforcement was executed in period, and not
as a later addition. As a result, the location of the Fiamm air horns and washer bottle was exactly as delivered. Even small items, such as some of the fuse covers and the clutch fluid reservoir cap date from 1968. The chromed Ducellier electric window switches – so often replaced to match those in the roof headlining – are original. The exhaust is to a factory pattern, not a remanufactured system, and the exhaust tips are the correct ‘trumpet’ style. Even the carburettor air filters bear engravings, not stickers denoting their manufacturer – another seldom-seen feature.
The odometer currently displays 6,393km that we are sure, and evidence suggests, is the total mileage covered by the Miura from new. It was first registered in 2017.
In recent years the car has been meticulously maintained and kept in storage in the UK. Prepared to concours standards, this P400 S represents an almost unique opportunity to buy a highly original Miura with interesting ownership history accompanied by a raft of rare period documentation.
Chassis 3832, resplendent in blazing Rosso Corsa with its elegant interior of black/navy, is without doubt the finest Miura P400 S we have ever come across.