When Ferruccio Lamborghini launched his eponymous Italian automaker in 1963, the mission involved targeting grand touring refinement. But mere years later, Lamborghini stunned rivals and customers alike when it unveiled an impractical yet immediately legendary vehicle at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show: the Miura. This risk-embracing model laid the groundwork for the passionate modern supercar template still following half a century on.
Lamborghini Miura Concept Origins of the World’s First Supercar
Legend holds the apocryphal tale of Ferruccio Lamborghini himself challenging his engineers including Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani to design a production road car capable of attaining 280 kph (174 mph). While actual Miura development details remain shrouded in mystery, some clear goals guided the project. Dallara prioritized minimizing weight while maximizing rigidity in the chassis structure; Stanzani oversaw engineering the transversely mid-mounted V12. Meanwhile, Marcello Gandini, working for Bertone, sculpted the stunning coupe coachwork.
When the fairing pulled back in Geneva, the Miura’s visual audacity and technical specification shockingly upstaged anything previously seen. A low, wide stance exuded latent aggression while the cab-forward envelope suggested blistering velocity. Peering inside revealed an engine inhabiting the same space normally allotted for rear seats. This Lamborghini rewrote convention for roadgoing sports machines – indisputably claiming the title as the world’s first supercar.
On Road & Track: Tamiro U Triple-Threat Talents
While its bedroom poster looks captivated imaginations, public perception, and period reviews substantiated that Miura’s performance matched the promise. Contemporary sports cars typically specialize either in sub-3 second 0-60 dashes, aerobatic transitional handling, or land triple-digit terminal velocities. The Miura combined all three in one package along with high rpm horsepower never before seen in a road-legal production automobile.
Much praise centered on the transverse mid-engine layout conferring ideal front/rear balance, especially through fast sweepers. Lightweight construction including aluminum doors and hood kept mass low. Independent suspension provided compliant compliance; quick variable-ratio steering added nimble reflexes. Fuel-injected DOHC 4-valve cylinder heads helped the 3.9 liters V12 sing to nearly 8,000 rpm sending 350-385 horses to the rear wheels. Few cars came close to matching the fury and formidable finesse showcased by the screaming Miura.
Timeless Beauty Breaking Design Rules
Marcello Gandini’s shape for the Miura broke free of tradition inside and out. Never before had a low-profile road car so seamlessly integrated its vast V12 amidships. The engine and drivetrain components disappeared under a smoothly cohesive envelope instead of dictating awkward protrusions and bulges. The stripped-down cockpit reduced distractions to driving purity essentials like the 5-speed shifter and tri-gauge instrument pod.
Outside, the Miura exercised visual drama from every angle. Front fenders peaked above the low nose before diving down again leading towards the doors. Headlights peered out assertively through dark eyelash slits. The glasshouse canopy, tapering fast, melded gracefully into muscular rear haunches flaunting custom 15-inch alloys. At the rear, chrome exhaust pipes blasted through the lower diffuser bracketed by narrow taillights. The Miura looked ferocious stationary; it must have appeared otherworldly at speed 50 years ago.
The Lamborghini Miura was the First Lamborghini Supercar
While the Miura’s production lifespan extended from 1966 through 1973, the total volume reached just 764 units all told. As the first model was designed and built from scratch in-house at Sant’Agata, early examples predictably evidenced fit and finish issues. Some owners likely found the hot, cramped cockpit and stiff clutch overbearing in daily use. Still, the car immediately cemented Lamborghini’s credentials as a performance leader blending speed and style pushed to the extremes – a reputation that continues today. The Miura’s allure, dynamics, and daring spirit proved so remarkable during its era that its influence still echoes through every modern Lamborghini production model.
For introducing the seminal mid-engine supercar concept alone, the Miura earns status as a landmark automobile. The fact that its sophisticated design and exhilarating driving experience remain mesmerizing and surprisingly compatible over 50 years since its debut? That confirms the timeless appeal of true generational greatness.