Miura, Miura On The Wall…

Jeremy Taylor (Contributing Editor)
Is this the fairest car of them all? Jeremy Taylor travels to Italy to drive the iconic Lamborghini Miura…

Like climbing Everest, flying a Spitfire and dating a supermodel, driving a Lamborghini Miura should be on everybody’s bucket list.

The two-seater coupe was the beautiful blueprint for every supercar that followed – thanks to a mid-engine layout that put the balance of power in exactly the right place. Fitted with a 3.9-litre V12, it was the fastest production car in the world.

Less than 800 were hand-built between 1966 and 1973, all at the Lamborghini factory near Bologna. Earlier this month, 25 of them returned to Italy for the first Miura Tour, timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the car’s launch.

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Gian Dallara was Lamborghini’s chief designer on the project. He told Luxios: “There were a lot of wealthy people in Bologna who drove around the city in a Ferrari. Once our car appeared, everybody sold their Ferrari to buy a Miura!”

The Miura proved so successful that Lamborghini could barely keep up with demand from the wealthy buyers. Frank Sinatra owned a bright orange example, fitted with carpets to match those in his bathroom at home.

The car’s most famous moment came in 1969, when it was filmed for the opening credits of The Italian Job. The three-minute scene was accompanied by a Matt Munro soundtrack.

Dallara, now 79, went on to design racing cars for Frank Williams and several other F1 teams. He was guest of honour on the Miura Tour. Twenty-five Miuras may not sound many but just 400 are still believed to be in existence – if you own one then you are probably a millionaire as prices start at £800,000.

I’m at the wheel of a yellow Miura SV, the final and most powerful production model that dates back to 1971. Miuras were painted in a range of psychedelic colours because owners wanted to personalise their cars to make them stand out.

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Fifty years on and the Miura is quite a handful to drive. Both the brakes and steering are woefully inadequate, while the cabin is a greenhouse without air conditioning.

Then there’s the overheating issue. Lamborghini fitted the Miura with two cooling fans – one had to be manually operated via a switch on the roof when that V12 engine got all hot and bothered in traffic.

Consequently, I’d driving the SV monitoring the water temperature gauge, rather than the speedo. I’ve been told to pull over quick if we hit heavy traffic, which may explain why our police escort is so keen to clear a path at every junction.

Fortunately, the Miura has a sweet spot at around 75mph when everything comes together. The five-speed gearbox isn’t grumbling and there’s enough air passing around the engine bay to keep it cool.

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Don’t expect much seat adjustment either, the clutch action is high and all Miuras are incredibly noisy. So what is the appeal? “I’ve owned mine for 38 years,” explains Chris Wood, from London. “An aunt left me some money to invest and I bought a Lamborghini – I was almost disowned by the family.

“The Miura is a very special car because it’s so beautiful and was the blueprint for all mid-engined supercars. I own an uprated E-Type too. The Lamborghini is my wife and the Jaguar is my mistress.”

Iain Tyrrell, from Chester, buys and sells classics. One of his ‘several’ Miuras was filmed in the opening scenes of The Italian Job and is currently for sale at £3 million. “I’ve been passionate about cars since I was ten-years-old.

“I heard the sound of a V12 Espada driving past and I was hooked on Lamborghinis. I still get as much of a buzz from the Miura today as the first time I drove it. It left everything for dead – it was so far ahead of its time.”

Make an Enquiry about the Lamborghini Muira Tour HERE

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