The Lamborghini Miura – The First Supercar

a bright green Miura
The beautiful Miura – photo by Alexandre Prevot

There isn’t an angle in which the Lamborghini Miura doesn’t look incredible. The headlights have bold, black eyelashes, and the doors are equally beautiful, forming the shape of bull horns when opened. It gets even better from the side with low, swoopy lines, unlike anything Lamborghini produces before or since. The gorgeous Bertone wheels made our list of the best factory rims of all-time. The hood and trunk open like a clamshell showing off all the cars’ internal beauty. Moving to the rear shows off the wide rear tires, the striking Miura badge, and the black louvers over the back window. It also has a honeycombed rear grill, which automakers still copy to this day. Even without an engine, the design alone is enough to make this one of the best cars ever.

The Origin Story

a yellow Miura SV
The Lamborghini Miura SV – photo by Maurizio Cefariello

One of the more incredible aspects of the Miura’s life is that Ferruccio Lamborghini never actually wanted it. He preferred high powered Grand Touring cars like their previous 350 GT. Lamborghini engineers had other plans. They looked at the racing world and realized that many of the race cars, including Formula 1, ran a mid-engine layout. They would design a mid-engine Lamborghini to blow the socks off of Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari felt that his customers were not talented enough to handle mid-engined cars, so he kept his engines in the front. The Miura would offer a transversely mounted V12 consolidating weight in the center. The engineers and designers, most in their mid-twenties, got to work and debuted the car at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. The Miura instantly blew people away.

At the time of its debut, the Miura was the first rear mid-engined, two-seat supercar in the world. It was also the fastest hitting 180 miles per hour. That is still good today! The Miura is the first Lamborghini to be named after a bull. The Miura takes its name appropriately from a famous Spanish bull breeder since it was the first to don the bull badge. Presales starting coming in for what was the equivalent of a nearly $160,000 car. Lamborghini accomplished what they wanted, they were now a serious competitor to Ferrari, and they were winning!

Lamborghini Miura P400

A red Miura P400
The base model 1968 P400 – photo by Herranderssvensson

The Miura P400 was the first trim level produced between 1966-1969. Lamborghini only made 275 Miuras, but it was already their most successful car to date. The 400 referenced the displacement, which was near as makes no difference 4,000 cubic centimeters. Lamborghini mounted the V12 sideways behind the seats and produced 345 horsepower from the engine. They saved weight wherever possible, even drilling the frame to reduce weight. The replaced the plexiglass cover over the engine with louvers after running into cooling issues. The car weighed a scant 2,480 pounds and would hit 60 miles per hour in just 7 seconds. Not bad for a car company only on their third car.

Lamborghini Miura P400S

an orange Miura S
1969 Miura S – photo by Daniel Stocker

Lamborghini was not one to rest on their laurels. They introduced the Miura S at the 1968 Turin Motor Show with a bevy of new additions. Unfortunately, most of these were cosmetic, including the addition of chrome trim, air conditioning, an overhead console, and power windows. They did revise the rear suspension and were able to find 20 more horsepower. Built between 1968 and 1971, the Miura S quickly became their best selling car hitting 338 models sold. Not exactly Ford Taurus numbers but not bad for the early supercar days. Hagerty states that the average price for a 1969 Miura S hovers just under the $1 million range.

Lamborghini Miura P400SV

a wide Miura SV
1971 Miura SV with the wider hips – photo by Rex Gray

The Miura SV or Super Veloce was the top trim level available as a special-order only. When demand grew, Lamborghini decided to make it an actual trim-level. Power was up to 380 horsepower propelling the car to a 180 mph top speed and high 5 seconds 0-60. Lamborghini removed the eyelashes above the headlights and integrated the bumper with the body. The car was wider to accommodate for the wider rear tires. Lamborghini only made 150 Miura SVs making them exceedingly rare. Hagerty prices the Miura SV in the $1.75 million range. The Miura would end production in 1973 for what would become their styling icon for decades to come, the Countach.

Conclusion

a white Lamborghini Miura
1967 Lamborghini Miura – photo by Eric Manesse

The Lamborghini Miura is one of the most significant cars ever created. Automakers would copy the mid-engine two-seat layout for decades to come. It showed the world exactly what a supercar should be, exceedingly beautiful and blazingly fast. In spite of the beauty of the Miura, Lamborghini never really went back to the style. What I find peculiar is Lamborghini never went back to this style. When you look at their lineup now, the influence comes from the Countach. Almost all vehicles in their lineup afterward can trace their looks to the Countach or the early GT cars.

Maybe that’s part of what makes it so unique. It just came from nowhere, and nothing has quite been like it since. Lamborghini did produce a Miura concept to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the car in 2006 but made it clear they wouldn’t build it. Maybe more car companies will get some twenty-year-olds together in a room and turn them loose instead of design by committee.

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