The Lamborghini Miura
The one that started it all.
With only 764 examples built over the years this cars certainly keeps its exclusivity as one of the first cars to have gone with a 2 seater mid engined rear wheel drive layout. The car was not only in the minds of many genesis for a great era but the car was also the fastest production car when it came out.
As a result of of some rebellion the engineering team at Lamboghini designed the Miura in their spare time away from the company Founder who did not seem to approve at that time of fast street racer. Ferruccio the founder of Lamborghini actually prefered a GT car which had power and decorum compared to the speed injection of the Miura. In 1965 when the car was unveiled to the world it was received very well and as much as its performance the car was also praised for its beauty in construction.
Development of the Miura
The Miura as stated earlier was designed behind the back of Lamborghini's the CEO and founder Ferruccio Lamborghini. The top three engineers at the company were the culprits who created the masterpiece that is the Miura , Dallara , Stanzani and Wallace dedicated their time and effort into the development of a prototype from which the final car was derived from. The whole design of the car was based on building a car that is able to compete on the track but was also able to be sold to enthusiasts as road going racer. After working on the car at night night for months the design was brought to Lamborghini who agreed for the design to be produced.
Due to the new layout and design of the car the engine was mounted in the middle of the of the car transversely as this was the only way to keep in the specification of the chassis. Mounting the engine in such a way also allowed the car to be well balanced and keep a very central low weight distribution. Although the car when unveiled did not even have a body , impressed enthusiasts made orders of the prototype despite this fact.
A decision was made that the designers at Bertone style the body of the highly anticipated Lamborghini which was going to be debuted at the Geneva Motor show. Although the body had been completed just in time for the show Lamborghini had a problem. The problem was that the no one had checked to see whether the body of the car was going to fit over the cars engine. At the motorshow express instruction was given so that the cars engine cover would not be opened. The press were not happy with their inability to see the cars power plant, however this was quickly masked by the beauty of the car and the buzz that it created, so much so that its designer Marcello Gandini became an instant star.
BBC Top Gear
Production and Production models of the Miura
The Miura was originally known as the P400 which was the name for the car when it was still a prototype. After the good response the company had at the Geneva Motor show they decided to put it into production the following year. The name of the car was changed and it was to be called the Miura, at the same time lamborghini decided to change the emblem of their vehicles to a badge which had an image derived for a type of fighting bull.
The first model as stated before was known in house as the P400 and it was powered by a massive 3.9 liter engine which was made specifically by Lamborghini. The power plant was mounted transversely for better weight distribution and to keep the car as small and nimble as possible. The car did very well for the company during the period which it was produced even though it held a very pricey retail tag of 20K (usd) around 100,000 dollars in today's money.
With the success of the P400 the P400S was announced into production at the motor show in Turin 1968. The car was only slightly modified from the original car although the improvements included some large steps in our views today. The improvements included power windows, new seats , a bigger intake for the engine and a better camshaft. These improvements added an extra 30bhp to the car and they also made the car easier to live with in relation to the older model.
Amongst other models one of the notables is the Miura concept car which was made in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the original car. In 2006 a retro styled concept was shown to the the public and put into the American Museum of Television & Radio. It is not clear what power plant the car used but it did feature a modern body which was low to the ground and as it was a one off vehicle the car was never put into production.
Although the car was never put into massive production, quite a number of these cars have been made compared to some of the other rare vehicles that started something. The Miura is a beacon for all gear heads and enthusiasts, it shows what was technically possible half a century ago. Those three engineers at lamborghini deserve the praise that they received for this car because it is a mechanical masterclass. Of course the car was not easy to drive, but how many super cars made in those day are and why should it be. The point of the car was speed and the ability to astound onlookers with its noise , poise and reckless abandonment for fuel.