The Lamborghini Miura Buying Guide – The first mid-engined supercar remains an utterly desirable Italian masterpiece

The stunning Lamborghini Miura created the mid-engined supercar class and while it may have long been in eclipsed in performance terms, those sensuous curves have secured its place amongst classic car royalty.

First shown at the 1965 Turin Auto Show as a rolling chassis displaying its mid-engined layout, the Lamborghini Miura was an instant hit and was to become a landmark car for the fledgling auto manufacturer in the years to come, yet few would have foreseen such a model coming out of Sant’Agata just two years after its inception. Founder Feruccio Lamborghini was more interested in luxurious grand tourers like the 350 GT, which it already sold, so the engineering team went about design their race car for the road in their own time, employing the talents of a very young Marcello Gandini (just 25 at the time) to sculpt the beautiful bodywork. The completed show car (aside from the engine) was finally unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show and the P400 went into production soon after.

Lamborghini Miura – First in its segment

The Miura marked a number of firsts in its segment. It was only the second ever rear mid-engined production car and the first to offer supercar levels of performance. The engine, transmission and differential were essentially one unit allowing for the Miura to have very compact dimensions. With 345bhp on tap from its 3.9-litre Bizzarrini-designed V12, the Miura was the fastest production car on the planet, although it took nerves of steel to push to its 170mph+ limits thanks to the front end lifting at these speeds.

The 400S arrived in 1968 and came with some modifications to tame the high-speed instability and added a few luxuries such as electric windows and optional air conditioning. Engine modifications pushed power up to 365bhp which kept the Miura at the pointy end of the supercar field. The 400 SV was the final iteration of the Miura platform and added another 15bhp, wider rear fenders and dropped the eyelash headlight surrounds of the earlier cars. A one-off roadster based on the P400 and a small handful of approximately six SV/J variants were also built. The SV/J cars reputedly had a number of race-inspired modifications carried out by Lamborghini test engineer, Bob Wallace and produced more power than the standard offerings, too. Production ended in 1972, by which time Lamborghini had proved that it could compete with its rival Ferrari not just in the grand tourer class but also in the hotly contested supercar segment.

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Polo Storico now offer certification, restoration and a vast range of spare parts for classic Lambos, their knowledge regarding older cars like the Miura can be invaluable when undertaking a restoration or refurbishment but there are also specialists out there that have decades of experience with these cars.

Lamborghini Miura Engine

The 3.9-litre engine was a development of the unit first seen in the 350 GT, regular fluid and filter changes are mandatory to keep it in good fettle. Some oil use between changes is normal although blue smoke out the tailpipes is obviously not a good sign. Setting up the four Webers is best left to a specialist, if not it can struggle to start and exhibit rough running characteristics. Many motors have been rebuilt so inspect the maintenance records to ensure any work carried out was done by an accredited specialist.

Lamborghini Miura Gearbox

All Miuras came fitted with a five-speed manual transmission, all except the final batch of SVs shared a lubricating system with the engine which could result in metal shavings entering the motor if the oil was not changed regularly. If you experience difficulty engaging gears or crunching due to worn synchros then it should be investigated without delay. Those last cars (approximately 96) had a split sump which removed the metal shaving issue and allowed the correct oil to be used for the gearbox.

Lamborghini Miura Suspension and Brakes

Shocks, rubber bushes and springs should all be thoroughly inspected, if the car feels wallowy or becomes unsettled under braking then at least one of these components will need replacing. The all-disc brakes are fine for road use but don’t expect modern day levels of retardation, seized calipers and corroded discs are common on unused cars.

Lamborghini Miura Bodywork and interior

The body frame and doors were constructed out of steel with certain body sections made of aluminium. Finding a car without a fresh coat of paint or two is rare and most have undergone a ground-up refurb by now. Rust can appear in a number of areas, some of which are difficult to see from a cursory inspection so having a specialist inspect the car is highly recommended.

While all three variants look broadly similar, the P400S added bright chrome trim finishes around the windows while the SVs did without the eyelash headlight surrounds of earlier cars.

The interior was subtly updated over the years and the P400S models added electric windows and a new overhead console with different switchgear. Retrims in leather are common but trim can be difficult to source if you are looking to buy an incomplete car. Check that the electrics work, sorting out wiring loom issues can be labour intensive.

Model History Of The Lamborghini Miura

1965:   Mid-engined rolling-chassis revealed at Turin Auto Show

1966:   Lamborghini Miura P400 revealed with Gandini designed bodywork-345bhp 3.9-litre V12 makes it fastest-ever production supercar

1968:   Miura P400S introduced, power up to 365bhp and interior receives luxury upgrades

1971:   Miura P400SV replaces P400S, power up to 380bhp and numerous detail changes carried out to interior, eyelash headlight surrounds replaced

1973:   Final year of production for Lamborghini Miura

 

Production numbers:

P400:               275

P400S:             338

P400SV:          150     

 

Which Lamborghini Miura To Buy

Values for the Miura largely depend on which variant you are interested in, the P400 is the ‘cheapest’ way into Miura ownership seeing as good examples fetch £1,000,000 at auction, 50% less than what you would pay for a P400S. The P400SV is the rarest and most desirable of the lot, pristine examples can cost up to three times as much as a P400.

Ground-up restorations and retrims are common, the youngest Miura is now close on six decades old after all. Low mileage ‘original’ cars that have been left languishing in garages for years may fetch big numbers at auction but the ones that see regular use are the cars that tend to be in the best mechanical condition.

Few owners these days will be pushing their Miura to the limit so you are unlikely to notice the subtle differences between the three models, rather focus on the maintenance and service history records as restoring a poor quality car is not for the faint-hearted.

Lamborghini Miura

Lamborghini Miura Specifications

3.9-litre V12 – P400

Power:             345bhp

Top speed:      172mph

0-60mph:        6.2sec

Economy:       13mpg

 

3.9-litre V12 – P400S

Power:             365bhp

Top speed:      168mph

0-60mph:        5.5sec

Economy:       13mpg

 

3.9-litre V12 – P400SV

Power:             380bhp

Top speed:      171mph

0-60mph:        5.3sec est.

Economy:       13mpg


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Text John Tallodi  Photos Newspress

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