The Miura was first show to the public at the November 1965 Turin Auto Show. At the time, it did not have a body. It was just a rolling-chassis. The design was mid-engined, very revolutionary at the time. Bertone was chosen to body the vehicle. Nuccio Bertone gave the project to Marcello Gandini. In early 1966 the Bertone body and the chassis designed by Giampaolo Dallara were assembled into one unit. In completed form, it was show to the public at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show and dubbed the Miura. The name coming from a breed of Spanish fighting bulls.
The vehicle was instantly popular with demand overshadowing the supply. Ferrucio Lamborghini had originally planned the Miura to be a low production, flagship vehicle with production set to around 30 models. The demand for the vehicle eventually changed the plan for the vehicle and throughout its lifespan, three series of the Miura were produced, the P400, S, and the SV. Each series brought with it mechanical and aesthetical changes through either fixed problems from the prior series or brought about new developmental improvements.
The P400 was the first series, the 'P' stood for Posteriore, the location of the engine. The 400 represented the engine size, or 4.0 liters. The four-liter engine was capable of producing 350 horsepower to the rear wheels. The spot-welded chassis was made from steel and the steering was a rack-and-pinion unit built and designed by Lamborghini. The front and rear hoods were both 'clamshell' design. There were two small compartments in the rear allowing a small amount of luggage or storage space.
Since the vehicle had been initially intended to be a temporary vehicle, it was poorly assembled and lacked quality. Another major problem was the lack of materials available. The builders of the vehicle rarely had the parts and resources they needed to keep up with demand. As time progressed, so did the quality.
Production began in March of 1967 and offered at a price of nearly $20,000 US dollars with 108 units being constructed. The Miura S series appeared in December of 1968. It was debuted to the public at the 1968 Turin Auto Show. The 'S' stood for 'Spinto' meaning 'Pushed' or 'Tuned'. Horsepower had been increased to 370, thanks in part through the use of a new combustion chamber and larger intakes. The later 'S' series models were given ventilated disc brakes and a modified rear suspension. Air conditioning was available for an extra cost.
In March of 1971, the final version of the Miura, the SV, was displayed at the Geneva Auto Show. The SV was the pinnacle of performance in regards to the Miura series. The rear suspension received modifications including a wider track. Wider tires were placed increasing the performance and handling. The headlights, turn signals, bumper and tail lights received changes. A carburetor change and larger intakes brought the horsepower rating to 385. During its production lifespan only 142 examples of the Miura SV were created. The acronym 'SV' represented 'Sprint Veloce'.
750 examples of the Miuras were built, the last being constructed on October 12, 1973. Production would have continued but Lamborghini was preparing to introduce its successor, the Countach. Since Lamborghini was a small shop, it could only handle the production of one model.By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2006