A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £1,912,500
The first “supercar” from Lamborghini, and arguably the first supercar the world had ever seen, was the P400 Miura. When it was first unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Salon, its impact was nothing short of extraordinary. Simply stated, the Miura looked like no other car on the road, and it marked a paradigm shift in the design of high-performance cars. Its sensuous lines were undoubtedly indebted to the placement of its engine, which was mounted transversely, just behind the passenger compartment.
In common with a number of Lamborghinis, the Miura was named after a famously brave fighting bull and was the after-hours brainchild of seven young engineers including, Gian Paolo Dallara. While some name Bertone’s young Marcello Gandini as the designer of the Miura’s sinuous, lightweight aluminium body, others credit Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The specification is still impressive today: a lightweight frame, all-independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and an exotic DOHC 4 litre V-12 engine with Weber carburettors. Capable of nearly 180mph (remarkable in 1966 when people were still astonished that an E-Type could reach 150mph), the Miura continues to intoxicate today.
Constant evolution resulted in the ‘S’ (spinto or tuned) version in 1968, followed by the ultimate, 385 bhp SV (Spinto Veloce) that debuted at Geneva in 1971. The SV featured greatly improved suspension design and therefore handling, to rectify the concerns when driving previous models, the late 'S' model's ventilated disc brakes were carried over, nine-inch Campagnolo wheels, fat Pirelli tyres, aggressively purposeful body modifications and a leather-trimmed interior. During the autumn of 1971, an optional limited-slip ZF differential became available, and split-sump lubrication appeared. All told, the Miura SV was simply the fastest production vehicle on the planet. Just 147 were built and production ended in early 1973, although the last deliveries were made that autumn.
The SV was the final evolution and considered the most desirable Miura with only 147 manufactured within a total of 762 built. Of these 147, it is the final 94 cars supplied with the split-sump engine, such as this car, that is considered to be the absolute best.
Completed on the 31st of March 1972, Chassis 5036 was originally ordered via Italian concessionaire Interauto, produced to European specification and delivered new, in left-hand drive, to regular Lamborghini client Antonio Spada of Brescia. This important fact does allow any future owner the possibility to convert back to left-hand drive where there is a far larger worldwide market, should they so desire. Original features recorded include a Rosso Corsa exterior finish, optional factory-fitted air conditioning, limited-slip differential and a radio pack.
Latest research records that just nine right-drive SVs were originally commissioned and built new. The Australian Lamborghini importer was desperate to acquire two right-hand drive cars quickly for clients, so to avoid the inevitable delay in build time, the recently completed chassis 5036 and 5002 were purchased. They were both immediately, and clearly professionally, converted to right-hand drive, ahead of being shipped as effectively new, right-hand drive Miura SVs as, at the time, it was not permitted to bring a left-hand drive car into Australia. These cars, therefore, add two further examples to the tally of the original right-hand drive cars supplied worldwide.
For anyone lucky enough to have sat in or indeed driven a Miura, for taller people the tight space and close throttle pedal are immediately apparent, but amazingly this car's right-hand-drive set up allows noticeably more room and comfort.
According to the accompanying Build Log Slip, 5036 was Production Number 717, with the corresponding Bertone body number of 817, finished to European spec, fitted with Engine Number 30715 and, importantly is a split-sump car (1 of 94). It confirms the car still retains all it's original build details; finished in Rosso Corsa and Nero and was factory fitted with an LSD, air-conditioning, and a Radio Pack with roof aerial.
When it arrived in Australia in late 1972/early 1973, 5036 was acquired by Dennis/Laurie O’Neal of Sydney, a well-known enthusiast who almost immediately sold it to Peter Opie of Sydney, who retained it for a short while before selling it to Queensland businessman, Gerry Kent, in 1975. The Miura remained with Mr Kent for nearly 29 years, retaining the car until his passing in 2004. His wife sold the SV to Lamborghini Australia with an indicated mileage of 48,708km. In a 'well enjoyed' state at the time, 5036 was substantially re-commissioned by the official importer at great cost, with the works performed by Carle Rheinberger, a Lamborghini specialist in Queensland, with the fully detailed bills on file commencing on 26th April 2004 to 26th January 2005 and totalling AUD 80,424. The work included the removal of the fuel tank and all fuel lines, refurbishment of the fuel tank, a complete suspension refurbishment, and the cleaning and re-coating of the chassis. The engine was fully checked over, and the cylinder heads were overhauled with the camshafts reground. In addition, the air conditioner was overhauled and re-gassed, the brake lines were renewed, and new brake discs and pads were fitted.
The next owner was Rory Johnston, also of Sydney, who acquired 5036 directly from Lamborghini Sydney on 29th September 2006, actually selling his house to facilitate the purchase. The transaction was finalised on 20th October and the ownership change notified at 48,067 km (29,867 miles) that same day, with all documents on file. He reports that he enjoyed the Miura for a number of outings and events prior to, in May 2010, commissioning a Melbourne-based specialist to completely rebuild the engine at a cost of AUD 77,543. The original pistons were found to remain virtually perfect, so just new rings were fitted. The crankshaft was machined and reground, the cylinder heads were rebuilt, the engine bay received some detailing and the cooling system was refurbished. In addition, the air conditioning system was serviced and re-gassed, the ignition system was refurbished and properly set up and a set of new tyres were added. This work was carried out by Terzini Motore in Victoria at a mileage of 50,950km (31,658 miles) - so just 356 miles have been covered since.
In 2010, the Miura was imported to the UK and soon sold to one of the world's most significant collections. Later, the decision was made to strip off all the exterior paint, now showing it age and refinish the car in its original colour. In 2019, the current owner sent the car to respected expert Bob Houghton to check through and fully service.
Today the Miura SV remains in highly original and correctly-maintained condition, with its rare and highly desirable original specification including factory-fitted air conditioning, a limited-slip differential and a factory fitted radio with aerial. A repaint in the original Rosso Corsa has freshened the image, while the original interior remains hugely evocative.
With Kidston SA's long-awaited, limited edition "The Lamborghini MIURA Book" bound to create renewed interest in this icon and currently going to press, numbered edition '717' has already been reserved and will be supplied with this car. https://www.miurabook.com/
With this example having been chosen as the cover car for CAR Magazine’s ‘Celebration of the Supercar’ issue, the outrageous Italian supercar is celebrated as the one that set the template for almost every great automotive performance icon since.