We’re used to seeing sheets slid off new cars and concepts, but this unveiling was unusual. The metallic green (Verde Metallizzata) car that was revealed at the Amelia Island Concours was almost a half-century old and yet completely captivating. It happened to be the prototype Lamborghini Miura SV, and the car shined like a polished emerald.
Turns out there are two stories here. One, of course, is the car, but the other is how it got to be what is likely nicer than new.
To step back a bit, the Miura was launched 50 years ago with 350 hp from its V-12, and a few years later got a bump to 370 hp with the Miura S. At the 1971 Geneva auto show, as the Countach was being unveiled on Lambo’s stand, over at Bertone they were showing the new 385-hp Miura SV.
There were changes beyond just added horsepower. Solving a continuing problem, for instance, most of the SVs now had the the lubricants for the engine and transmission separated. Those so-sexy eyelashes were gone from the headlamps. The lower vents ahead of the rear wheels were different. Being the first SV- — chassis #4846 — the green machine seen here has its unique points. Like how they handled the new headlamp treatment and the size of the lower vents.
Only 150 SVs were made. Their 0-60-mph time clocked between 5.0-5.5 seconds, and the top speed was just over 170 mph. Incidentally, the “SV” stands for Super Veloce — super fast.
Needless to say, the owner of #4846 was delighted with the restoration, which gets us to the second part of the story. And a translation. Lamborghini has formed PoloStorico. Storico is Italian historical and, no, the entire name does mean they are restoring old polo ponies or cheap Euro VWs. Lamborghini explains that for this case polo means “hub” or “center.”
There has long been a small section of the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory where older Lambos could be refurbished, but now that function has been formalized. Ferrari has long done the same at its Classiche Department, though both services go well beyond rebuilding old cars.
To begin with, PoloStorico can certify a Lamborghini’s originality for owners, both the cars and their components. Do damage to your Miura, Countach, Diablo, etc., and PoloStorico can provide parts from stock, from original suppliers or, being Italy, find a proper source that can create that piece from the original drawings.
Backing up all this the Archivio Storico Lamborghini, which is an archive to document technicalities like colors, leathers… all those little critical details when it comes to restoring a car. Being the 21st century, all this is being digitized.
Enrico Maffeo from the Lamborghini Heritage side explains that more and more owners are asking for build sheets, and they have tracked down some 7,000 such documents. They are also gathering 45,000 technical drawings and most of the technical literature and spare parts manuals.
It has been a matter of piecing things together from some hectic periods. Remember that unlike Ferrari, Lamborghini has been through a number of owners, starting when Ferruccio sold the firm in 1974. There’s been a bankruptcy, the Mimran brothers, the Chrysler years, the Malaysian ownership, and finally the Italian automaker became part of Audi in 1998.
Currently PoloStorico has seven cars in for restoration and room for another 3-5. They have a large and growing stock of parts and knowledge. And even a human factor as Maffeo points out that some 95 percent of the early employees of Lamborghini lived within 6 miles of the factory, so that knowhow can be tapped.
Does all this sell new Lamborghinis? The firm’s U.S. COO, Alessandro Farmeschi, answers with a firm, “Yes.” He then adds, “Our successful company with successful products… all of this comes from what has been done in the past. We must give attention to the classic cars from our heritage because we come from there. It’s a continuous story.”