My Car Quest

December 9, 2019

The Lamborghini Miura – The Facts And The Question

by Mike – 

Lamborghini beat out Ferrari in 1966 by producing the first mid-engine super car that was also a stunning design by Marcello Gandini of Bertone.

Lamborghini Miura

The transverse mid-mounted V12 engine required that the 5-speed manual transmission be mounted behind the engine and that the engine and transmission share the same oil.

Lamborghini Miura engine

In 1965 Lamborghini engineers Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace worked overtime on their own to develop the first version of the P400, which later was named the Miura.

The Miura P400 was introduced at the 1966 Geneva motor show and was received extremely well even though it was not a running car at the time of the show.

Lamborghini Miura

The P400 is a 4-liter V12 producing 350 hp. The P400S introduced in 1968 produced 370 hp and the P400SV introduced in 1971 made 380 hp. The SV version also separated the motor oil and the transmission oil, which improved reliability. Giotto Bizzarrini designed the V12 engine for Lamborghini with some modifications for practicality improvement by Dallara.

There were 465 P400 versions made between 1966 and 1969, 138 of the P400S variations were produced between 1969 and 1971 and finally 148 of the P400SV were made between 1971 and 1972.

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura

A one-off racecar version called the Jota, which was destroyed in a crash, led to the creation of an SV upgrade model called the SV/J. Five SV/J versions were made by Lamborghini.

Bertone also created a one-off roadster (targa) as a show car that was first shown at the 1968 Brussels Auto Show.

Lamborghini Miura Roadster

Lamborghini Miura Roadster

Lamborghini Miura Roadster

Lamborghini Miura Roadster

Miuras have appreciated in value over recent years and are widely considered one of the most beautiful cars ever produced.

This brings us to the Question. Did Marcello Gandini design the Miura all by himself without a little help from left over work by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the brilliant designer who had just left Bertone for Ghia?

Lamborghini Miura Interior

The Miura was the first design by Gandini and he really nailed it. Could he have done that all on his own? Gandini certainly is a great designer but he seems to have created more wedge shaped designs, like the Lamborghini Countach, the Alfa Romeo Carabo and the Lamborghini Marzal concept, which led to the Lamborghini Espada, than cars with the flowing style of the Miura.

Lamborghini Miura

There has been some speculation that Giugiaro started working on the Miura before he left Bertone and that the Bizzarrini P538 design was one of his concepts for the Miura. If you look at the Bizzarrini P538 and the Miura in profile (below) you can see that these two designs could have come from the same designer. And they could be different versions of the same design goal.

Lamborghini Miura Roadster and Bizzarrini P538

Lamborghini Miura Roadster (top) Bizzarrini P538 (bottom)

We may never know what actually happened and maybe it does not really matter. The Miura is a beautiful design that has stood the test of time and Marcello Gandini of Bertone is the designer of record.

Below is a video where you can hear the rumbling of the Lamborghini Miura SV V12 engine

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Lamborghini Miura Logo

The Bizzarrini P538 image is by David Rodriguez from the book “Bizzarrini P538” by Jack Koobs de Hartog.

Comments

  1. Grifo4me says

    I would say the first mid engined super car was the ATS, it was shown at the 1963 Paris show beating both Lamborghini and Ferrari by 3 years. Matra was early too.

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