Lamborghini Miura P400SV by Bertone

Car producer : 

Lamborghini

Model:

Miura P400SV by Bertone

Year:

1971-1972

Type:

Coupe



During 1965, Lamborghini's three top engineers, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace put their own time into developing a prototype car known as the P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree – one which could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three men worked on its design at night, hoping to convince Lamborghini such a vehicle would neither be too expensive nor distract from the company's focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini gave his engineers a free hand in the belief the P400 was a potentially valuable marketing tool, if nothing more.

The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars. The V12 was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the Turin Salon in 1965. Impressed showgoers placed orders for the car despite the lack of a body to go over the chassis.

Bertone was placed in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before its debut at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine fit inside its compartment. Committed to showing the car, they decided to fill the engine bay with ballast and keep the hood locked throughout the show, as they had three years earlier for the début of the 350GTV. Sales head Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see the P400's power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the highlight of the show, immediately boosting stylist Marcello Gandini's reputation.

The favourable reaction at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by the following year. The name "Miura", a type of fighting bull, was chosen, and featured in the company's newly created badge. The car gained the worldwide attention of automotive enthusiasts when it was chosen for the opening sequence of the original 1969 version of The Italian Job. In press interviews of the time company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini was reticent about his precise birth date, but stressed that he was born under the star sign Taurus the bull.

Early Miuras, known as P400s (for Posteriore 4 litri), were powered by a version of the 3.9 L Lamborghini V12 engine used in the 400GT at the time, only mounted transversely and producing 350 PS (260 kW; 350 hp). Exactly 275 P400 were produced between 1966 and 1969 - a success for Lamborghini despite its then-steep price of US$20,000 ($145,374 in 2015).

Taking a cue from the Morris Mini, Lamborghini formed the engine and gearbox in one casting. Its shared lubrication continued until the last 96 SVs, which used a limited slip differential and thus required appropriate oil in separate systems.

An unconfirmed claim holds the first 125 Miuras were built of 0.9mm steel and are therefore lighter than later cars. All cars had steel frames and doors, with aluminum front and rear skinned body sections. When leaving the factory they were originally fitted with Pirelli Cinturato 205VR15 tyres (CN72).

The P400S Miura, also known as the Miura S, made its introduction at the Turin Motorshow in November 1968, where the original chassis had been introduced 3 years earlier. It was slightly revised from the P400, with the addition of power windows, bright chrome trim around external windows and headlights, new overhead inline console with new rocker switches, engine intake manifolds made 2mm larger, different camshaft profiles, and notched trunk end panels (allowing for slightly more luggage space). Engine changes were reportedly good for an additional 20 PS (15 kW; 20 hp).

Other revisions were limited to creature comforts, such as a locking glovebox lid, a reversed position of the cigarette lighter and windshield wiper switch, and single release handles for front and rear body sections. Other interior improvements included the addition of power windows and optional air conditioning, available for US$800. About 338 P400S Miura were produced between December 1968 and March 1971. One S #4407 was owned by Frank Sinatra. Miles Davis also had one, which he crashed in October 1972 under the influence of cocaine, breaking both ankles.

The last and most famous Miura, the P400SV or Miura SV featured different cam timing and altered carburetors. These gave the engine an additional 15 PS (11 kW; 15 hp), to 385 PS (283 kW; 380 hp). The last 96 SV engines included a limited slip differential which required a split sump. The gearbox now had its lubrication system separate from the engine, which allowed the use of the appropriate types of oil for the gearbox and the engine. This also alleviated concerns that metal shavings from the gearbox could travel into the engine with disastrous and expensive results.

The SV can be distinguished from its predecessors from its lack of "eyelashes" around the headlamps, wider rear fenders to accommodate the new 9-inch-wide (230 mm) rear wheels and Pirelli Cinturato tires, and different taillights. 150 SVs were produced.

There was a misprint in the SV owners manual indicating bigger intake valves in English size (but correct size in metric). The intake and exhaust valves in all 4 liter V12 Lamborghini remained the same throughout all models. This intake size misprint carried forward into Espada 400GT and Countach LP 400/LP 400S owners manuals as well.

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