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The Lamborghini Miura: History, Specifications, Variants

All things Lamborghini Miura on Automobile.

Rory JurneckaWriterRM Sotheby'sPhotographer

Lamborghini Miura Essential History

By 1965, Italian industrialist Ferruccio Lamborghini was well on his way as an established automaker; he had founded Automobili Lamborghini in Sant'Agata Bolognese and was well into production with the 350 GT and 400 GT coupes. Ferrucio was wealthy, but unhappy with the comparative prestige of Enzo Ferrari's offerings in nearby Modena. Lamborghini's design and engineering team was young, all in their late 20s, and chief engineer Gian Paolo Dallara was desperate to create a groundbreaking new car that Lamborghini could use to build some competition heritage. For that reason, the new car had to have a mid-mounted engine, be low-slung, and offer sensational looks from Bertone stylist Marcello Gandini.

Miura P400

The result was the all-new Lamborghini Miura which launched at the 1966 Geneva motor show with a transversely mounted, Bizzarrini-designed 350-hp, 4.0-liter V-12 engine. The aluminum front and rear decks opened clamshell-style. Inside, steeply raked, fixed-back seats sat behind a stylish two-pod instrument panel with ancillary gauges arranged on the center sack. The Miura P400 was born.

Miura P400S, Miura SV

Development continued with a Miura P400S model in 1968, with improved interior quality, revised rear suspension, and 20 more horsepower, bringing total output to 370 horsepower.

In 1971, the Miura P400SV launched, originally as a special-order car. Flared rear fenders to fit fatter 15-inch wheels and tires, revised taillights, a new nose design, the deletion of the "eyelashes" around the pop-up headlamps, and another power bump (to 385 hp) were all part of the package. A wider rear track, along with structural chassis reinforcements made the Miura SV the most capable yet, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of some 180 mph - true supercar figures for the day.

Production of the Miura ended in 1973, with the radical new Countach arriving in final form the year after.

Lamborghini Miura Highlights

While Ferruccio Lamborghini never signed off on racing the Miura, famed test driver Bob Wallace did help to develop the Miura P400 Jota, a prototype that would conform to FIA motorsports regulations. The Jota's chassis and body were made entirely of aluminum for significant weight savings, and the V-12 engine was tuned to over 400 hp at nearly 9,000 rpm. Body add-ons included a front spoiler, fixed front headlights with fairings, and significant modifications were made to the suspension. With no plans to enter the car in competition, the prototype was sold to a well-connected Lamborghini client and subsequently crashed and burned. Word got out about this factory hot rod, however, and six Lamborghini customers ordered cars in the Jota spirit, which were called Miura SV/J from the factory. After production ended, it is said that several more Miuras were later converted to SV/J specification by Lamborghini. There is also a single Miura Roadster prototype, a Bertone concept car, that is still in existence.

Lamborghini Miura Buying Tips

Generally speaking, Lamborghini Miuras today are worth between $1 million and $3 million dollars and while not as rare as some other cars in that price range, there are generally only a select few on the market at any given time. Later S and SV cars are more desirable than early P400 Miuras for their improved driving dynamics and aesthetics; the best SV models can bring as much as double what a standard car will earn.

Because Miuras were often used hard and had somewhat tricky handling at the limit, several have been crashed heavily and rebuilt, so you'll want to research any car you're offered, preferably with expert assistance. Miuras can be somewhat difficult both to drive and to see out of, as well as having somewhat tight quarters in the cabin. If you want a Miura to actually drive, rather than just show or display, be sure you physically fit in the car and enjoy the driving experience. Specialist brokers and auction houses will be your best bet in locating examples for sale.

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Lamborghini Miura Quick Facts

  • First year of production: 1966
  • Last year of production: 1973
  • Total sold: 765
  • Original price (base): $20,000
  • Characteristic feature: Widely acknowledged as the first true supercar, the                        Lamborghini Miura remains a hugely desirable and exotic classic Italian car.

Lamborghini Miura FAQ

How fast is the Lamborghini Miura?

The top speed of a Lamborghini Miura is around 180 mph for the SV model.

What is a Miura?

A Miura is a particular breed of Spanish fighting bull, which the Lamborghini Miura was named after, in classic Lamborghini tradition.

How much does a Miura cost?

A Lamborghini Miura typically costs anywhere from $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 at auction.

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV Specifications
ENGINE: 4.0L DOHC 48-valve V-12/385 hp @ 7,850 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
LAYOUT: 2-door, 2-passenger, mid-engine, RWD coupe
L x W x H: 172.0 x 70.0 x 42 in
WHEELBASE: 98.0 in
WEIGHT: 2,800-2,950 lb
0-60 MPH: 5.8 sec
TOP SPEED 180 mph