My Car Quest

April 19, 2024

The Lamborghini Miura – The Facts And The Question Again

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

Lamborghini Miura Logo

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

The Lamborghini Miura - The Facts And The Question Again
Article Name
The Lamborghini Miura - The Facts And The Question Again
Who really designed the Lamborghini Miura?


  1. Mark C Williamson says

    While Lambo did beat Ferrari, Ford beat both in producing a mid-engine supercar. And also won Le Mans with it, ending Ferrari’s reign there.

  2. Chris Lackner says

    I have always subscribed to the view that Giugiaro had more to do with the design of the Miura than he is usually credited for. We know for sure that he designed the Iso Grifo, and if you compare the two cars, the similarities are striking. Look at the two cars in profile, and the wing lines are virtually identical, as are the wheel arch shapes, including the arch lip profile. Look from the front and the front wings are very similar in shape, the way they curve up from the hood aperture to the angle where they start descending. Look at the way the doors are cut into the wing around the windscreen, less pronounced on Miura than the Grifo. The row of vents on the Miura roof are obviously made on the same tooling as that used for the vents behind the side windows on the Grifo. Plus, there are the various bits of hardware the two cars have in common – exterior/interior door handles, for instance. Unless there was simply a “house style” that Gandini adhered to, I find it very difficult to believe that Giugiaro did not have a major hand in the design of the Miura.

    • Chris, I agree and if you look at the 1963 Giugiaro designed Chevrolet Testudo you can see many of the Miura elements. The headlights, engine vents and nose to name a few. Looking at the Testudo there is very little doubt Gandini borrowed from Giugiaro.

      • I think that we shouldn’t forget that the cars you’re comparing are firstly Bertone cars, and many and many cars of Nuccio Bertone have common elements and solutions: it’s normal, and probably was done intentionally. Also in the Fiat 850 Spider there were parts used in the Miura, like the lights!

  3. wallace wyss says

    You didn’t discuss the downside of the Miura. I was told that the carburetors were the same as used on the 911 at the time and they weren’t designed to be used transversely so when you accelerate a Miura hard with the air filter off there’s a chance some gas will slosh over onto, guess what, the hot exhausts. Maybe the only safe Miura is one converted to fuel injection?

    • I don’t know if it was fuel sloshing that caused fires. We have had issues with fuel boiling in the bowls on the front bank. The carbs sit right above the exhaust manifold and right against the firewall. If the car is moving there is usually enough air flowing to keep everything cool. After stopping, the fuel in the bowls will boil and bubble up past the throttle plates and down on the hot exhaust. The solution is to shut the pump off when you’re a few blocks from home and run the bowls dry…

  4. Read one article suggesting that GG had penned a body design for the bare chassis before he left- also that while new designer Gandini was working on the Miura, Mr Bertone was unhappy with the design. Rumour has it that Gandini took a short holiday, during the clay modelling process. So Mr Bertone made some alterations. What these were, we can only guess. On Gandini’s return to work, the Miura model was already painted and finished.

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