Bertone Lamborghini Miura Roadster

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 9, 2015

The 40-year wait is finally over as the one-off Lamborghini Miura Spyder – known as the ‘Lamborghini Bertone Miura Roadster’ -- makes a grand comeback. We received this confirmation from Joe Sackey, Miura expert and author of "The Lamborghini Miura Bible," which was published by Veloce Publishing Ltd. in November 2008.

Let us talk about a not-so-well-known important piece of history. In 1967, Marcello Gandini started to build a Spyder version of the Miura. This was a request from no other than Nuccio Bertone.

The project was meant purely to showcase its design and to sustain the demand for Lamborghini’s Miura. The ‘Lamborghini Bertone Miura Roadster’ had a light metallic blue finish and had been fitted with leather interior in off-white with a red carpet.

While the dashboard and steering stayed black, the steering wheel was actually the original avant-garde unit that was seen on the Marzal too. The distinguishing marks of this Miura concept include the chassis number 3498 (which isn’t listed in the factory’s original production chassis number register because it is a one-off prototype).

In addition, it carries the P400 engine number 1642. Bertone showed the Miura Spyder to Ferruccio Lamborghini during the January 1968 Salon de L’Automobile Bruxelles. The first time that Lamborghini had seen the show car was the day before during its preview.

Lamborghini was all praises for the showcar but before any plans could be made, Bertone declared that it can’t enter production because of problems with stress tolerance related to the chassis and its windscreen.

Many years later, Bertone told a GM stylist that the Miura concept was only meant to be a showcar. As soon as Bertone concluded his publicity role, the Spyder was delivered to Sant’Agata. Both Zagari and Coltrin took the opportunity to take photos of it.

When it was sent to the service department, it came with instructions to make it roadworthy so that it can be sold off as a highly coveted and costly one-off. But in 1968, a decision was made by Shrade Radtke, the CEO of the International Lead and Zinc Research Organisation (ILZRO), to buy a standard production Lamborghini Miura Berlinetta and build it with as many zinc-based components and trim as possible.

Radtke wanted to show off the zinc alloys, coating and plating systems that it was promoting for the big producers in Detroit and he believed that the best way to do it was with a radical vehicle. At Sant’Agata, a meeting with Paolo Stanzani was set. But Stanzani didn’t want to modify a production Miura.

He decided that the most convenient way to satisfy everyone was to offer the one-off Miura Roadster, which was at Sant’Agata for fettling. An agreement was quickly made. The "ZN75" was completed in May 1969. It received plenty of additional brightwork and it was painted a metallic green finish.

A private showing was set up by Bertone in Turin, attended by the top levels in the auto industry in Italy. Many photographs of Bertone with this car were taken that day. It was determined that it would be a waste for a vehicle such as this to be hidden away so it went on an international tour.

Here’s a list of the motor shows that it was displayed at: August 1969 – Detroit, Michigan; October 1969 –Montreal, Canada; November 1969 – Anaheim, California; January 1970 –Detroit, Michigan; January 1970 –Montreal, Canada; February 1970 –London, England and featured on BBC TV; April 1970 – Palmerton, Pennsylvania; July 1970 – Tokyo, Japan; August 1970 – Sydney, Australia; and November 1970 – Paris, France. It made a final appearance at the 1978 Detroit Motor Show.

In February 1981, Radtke sent the car to the Boston Museum of Transportation as a donation, entitling him to a tax deduction of about $200,000. Sometime in the 1980s, it was refurbished and its interior upholstery was replaced. The Portman Group bought it in 1989.

Since then, it has been making the rounds from various auction houses to temporary owners, likely because its complete history and relevance are not that famous. After it was auctioned, it was a part of a Japanese collection for several years. It went to the U.S. in 2002 and stayed there briefly before moving to France to a Ferrari collector.

A New York property developer acquired the Miura Roadster in December 2006. A huge amount of money was spent by this developer to return the car to its original 1968 Salon de L’Automobile Bruxelles specification. The Bobileff Motorcar Company, which was tasked with the conversion, completed the project in late August 2008.

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