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Lamborghini Miura: Buying guide and review (1966-1972)

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If you were asked to name the most beautiful cars of all time, there’s a pretty good chance that the Lamborghini Miura would be somewhere in your top 10. Perhaps even in your top three. While its successor the Countach was brutal, the Miura was lithe, curvaceous, almost effete. 
 
Often regarded as the first production mid-engined road car (although both the Ford GT40 and the Bonnet Djet predated it), the Miura was a revolution in supercar packaging and dynamics. Sure the early ones were pretty compromised, but never before had a 12-cylinder supercar featured its powerplant in the middle – things would never be the same again. 
 
In fact, the structure beneath Gandini’s uplifting panelwork had been displayed at Turin in November 1965. It used all the components of the existing 350GT – a conventional Grand Tourer, in the mould of the car that Lamborghini would have had Ferrari build for him – only organised rather more radically, with a deep backbone and sills at the core of the structure, and Lamborghini’s V12 (originally designed with Formula 1 potential by former Ferrari 250 GTO engineer Giotto Bizzarrini, of Società Autostar) slung transversely behind the seats to keep overall length in check. 
 
Of course, the Miura’s achingly beautiful proportions would only become apparent four months later at Geneva, but it remains unusual among mid-engined cars in maintaining the classic long-nose/short-tail GT look. Thank the engine’s orientation for that.
 
But never mind the engineering or packaging – what really matters is those drop-dead gorgeous looks. Seductive from every angle, the Miura has one of those designs that really couldn’t be improved upon, so if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford one, why wouldn’t you buy your very own Miura? 
 

Which Miura to buy?

 
Just 764 Miuras were built and not all of them survive, so there are fewer of them about than you might think. Most have been restored or at least worked on in some way – there are few completely original cars left. That shouldn’t be a problem, but it can be, because most Miuras are bought by collectors as an investment rather than to drive, and to them originality – in terms of specification at least – is key. 
 
So before you buy any Miura, establish who has restored it and make sure there’s a full photographic record of any work done. There’s no shortage of companies happy to restore Miuras, but some have a better reputation than others – it’s important than anybody who has revived one of these cars has a track record in doing so. 
 
In terms of which edition to go for, the original P400 is sought after as it’s the first of the breed, while the SV is the most valuable because it’s the most highly developed. However, the P400 isn’t all that usable as the cabin gets hot and refinement is poor. 
 
Reliable production figures are hard to pin down, but in 2005 the factory disclosed that having gone through the build sheets and collated everything, 275 P400s were made, along with 338 Miura Ss and 150 Miura SVs. Many earlier cars have been converted to a later spec though, so check the chassis number against the factory records to make sure that you are buying what you think you’re buying. 
 

Performance and specs

 
Lamborghini Miura SV 
Engine 3929cc, V12
Power 385bhp @ 7850rpm
Torque 286lb ft @ 5500rpm
Top speed 172mph
0-60mph 6.7sec
Fuel consumption 13mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 

Common problems 

 
• You’re unlikely to find a Miura that’s corroded as such – although you could find one that’s full of filler. What’s more likely though is that you’ll find a car which has seen some bodywork repairs which are below-par, so look out for poor panel fit and sub-standard welding. 
 
• The Miura’s V12 is an absolutely fantastic piece of engineering, and is extremely strong and reliable - if looked after correctly. It was built to be used, and generally lasts well if the car is used how Ferruccio intended. Hard use is one thing, but the V12 doesn't take well to outright abuse, so regular specialist servicing is really the key to a healthy powerplant.
 
• Even basic maintenance is often a major undertaking, especially where the engine is concerned. Valve clearances need to be reset every 15,000 miles at least, but this is often left due to the fact it will take up to two days to complete, thanks to the fact you have to remove the carburettors.
 
• Oil changes should be undertaken every 5000 miles or so. If the engine is in good health, oil consumption won't be too high, and thanks to a 16-litre sump capacity you shouldn't need to top it up with semi-synthetic oil much between changes. As the gearbox on earlier models shares its oil with the engine, it's key to make sure good quality oil has been used since the last rebuild. 
 
• Despite the unconventional packaging (with the gearbox housing and engine block cast as one item), the transmission is usually fairly long-lived. Extreme use, either on track (which is fairly unlikely) or due to an unsympathetic driver, will cause premature wear. Even the best Miura will feature some transmission noise, but the biggest give-away to a worn 'box is an audible whine or rumbling bearings.
 
• Clutches are reasonably durable; some cars might last up to 40,000 miles before a change is required, but drive the car properly and you'll easily half that figure. Replacement is an engine-out job
 

Model history

 
 
1965: The mid-engined Miura chassis is shown at the Turin motor show. It’s unclothed, but causes a major stir.
1966: The production-ready Miura is unveiled at the Geneva motor show. Except Lamborghini isn’t ready quite yet... 
1967: The first Miura P400s are delivered to their owners. 
1969: The next iteration arrives: the Miura P400S. Air-con and electric windows are optional. 
1971: The final Miura goes on sale, the P400 SV. There are wider rear wings, revised lights front and rear, a bigger grille and those famous eyebrows have disappeared.
 

Summary and prices

 
It was only as recent as 2010 that we were discussing the idea of the world’s first £1m Miura – and that was a Jota! After years or soaring price rise, they have started to level off recently, and today the cheapest Miura could be around £400,000 – and that would be a P400 restoration project. Decent to good P400s range from around £650-750k, with the best commanding £800k. The P400S models are more desirable, costing around £100,000-150,000 more. The SV, save for the extremely rare Jota model, is the most desirable Miura, costing £850,000-£950,000 for good example. The exceptional cars can sell for £1.2m+. 
 
Words: Richard Dredge
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Last updated: 7th Sep 2016
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Lamborghini Miura cars for sale

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  • 1971 LAMBORGHINI Miura P400 S

    POA POA

    1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 S | Chassis no. 4827 Â In November 1968 the first Miura S was produced and made its first appearance at the 1968 Turin Motor Show. The Lamborghini Miura P400 S benefited from several improvments over the Miura P400 such as: reshaped combustion chambers, higher-lift cams and larger carburetors on fatter manifolds. Â Our car, chassis 4827, is one of the very last Miura S produced, also known as Miura S "Series II", and benefits from important improvments compared to the first Miura P400S such as: ventilated disk brakes, reinforced chassis, high profile camshafts and improved distribution timing. This Miura P400 S chassis 4827 was sold new by SOCARIA to its first owner in Belgium in January 1971. In 1980, it was purchased by its second Belgian owner who retained the car for the following 22 years before the car went back to its native country. The last owner purchased 4827 in 2012 and decided to repaint the car in Yellow Fly. At that time, all numbers appearing on the body (699) were checked and pictures. Â The car retains its original black leather interior and carpets which are in perfect condition. The odometer shows 26.085 Kms from new. Mechanically, th

    • Mileage: 26085 mi
    For sale
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  • Lamborghini Miura P 400 S Series II

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    We are proud to offer this Lamborghini Miura P 400 Series II which has been produced in the Lamborghini factory in mid 1970 and registered to its first Swiss owner on the 18th of May 1971. It was ordered by its first owner Carmine Mariangelo living in Lausanne in the more elegant colour scheme of argento with black seats with textile inserts. The second owner Roger Poinsot living nearby in Geneva fall in love with the Miura P 400 S only five years later when he registered the car on the 17th of May 1976. It changed hands for the last time before we have been able to purchase this Lamborghini icon on the 6th of March 1981 again to a Swiss citizen living in the north east part of the country. The last owner had it for no less than 34 years and decided to sell it last year. The car was part of a major classic car collection. It has been serviced nearly each year at the Swiiss based Lamborghini dealerships. The mileage today shows 66 895 km which is documented by its large history file full of Lamborghini service records going back to the late seventies. It might be more than difficult to find a true three owner from new Lamborghini Miura P 400 S which has been always perfectly maintai

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Lamborghini Miura P400 SV

    POA POA

    The Lamborghini P 400 SV has been originally delivered to the US being obviously the very first production SV coming into the country. From the very first day it carried its red colour with a contrasting black interior. Needless to say that it still has its original factory installed engine which certainly has been correctly stamped with its matching engine number. According to the Lamborghini factory paperwork it was sold new through Joe Marchetti, Chicago, Illinois to its first owner Eddie Weschler of Nashotah, Wisconsin. Ed was known as one of the early and fanatic Italian sports car enthusiasts in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Beside his love for Lamborghini he was as well known for his passion for Ferrari owning the main icons of Maranello like the Ferrari 250 Tour De France or Ferrari 250 GT SWB and lots of different early cars for the road and track. Ed kept his SV for nearly 20 years and it is told that he sold it with an extremely low and original mileage of only 12 000 mls in the beginning of the nineties. It was sold to Europe in 1992 finding its new home for another five years with a German collector near to Frankfurt/Germany. It came into the next and last owner

    • Year: 1971
    For sale
  • Lamborghini Miura

    POA POA

    "The Italian Job" Factory original 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400, chassis number 3586, finished in Arancio Miura (Miura Orange) with a fully original Pelle Bianco leather interior. Completed for delivery on 2nd July 1968 and just 5 owners from new. This stunning car is a "Second Series" P400 with the superior (less flexible) 1mm thick chassis. It has recorded 19,000km and is in show condition. This is a fantastically original and preserved car. A new engine block was fitted in 2011 (due to a hairline crack); the original matching-numbers block comes with the car. It also received a concours-standard paintwork refresh at the same time, but is in all other respects time-warp pristine original. This stunning Miura, one of only three "Arancio Miura" cars built in 1968, and the only one with a white leather interior, is now acknowledged to be the actual car used in the iconic opening sequence of the 1969 movie, "The Italian Job". It was driven by factory client manager Enzo Moruzzi to the Gran San Bernardo pass in Italy for 3 days' filming, returned to the factory and dispatched to the Lamborghini dealer Zani on 2nd July 1968. The car and the story of its recovery was featured in the May 2015 edition of the Octane magazine. It's first public appearance was at the London Classic Car show. Many thanks to UKTurtables for setting up a show-stopping display. Arguably, the most famous Lamborghini ever made, and a serious potential entrant into the worlds most prestigious 'preservation class' concours events.

    • Year: 1968
    • Mileage: 11800 mi
    For sale
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