Lamborghini Miura P400 Spinto Veloce (SV)

Article by Andrew Christian, on October 22, 2015

If you consider yourself a true car aficionado, you may recognize the Miura from Lamborghini as the first supercar in the world. But have you heard about the Miura Spinto Veloce (SV)? It is relevant as it is regarded as the last and most advanced model from this supercar range.

It also boasted a sleek profile and exceptional specs that fit the image of this brand more than any of its other supercars. The Miura is even considered by many as the first-ever modern supercar – which came after the Mercedes 300 SL and Ferrari 275 GTB.

It was at the 1963 Turin Motor Show that the first Lamborghini prototype was first presented. During the F1 week at Monaco in 1966, a Miura number 1 was seen parked on the Place du Casino. If you’re wondering, the car’s name is taken from Seville’s fighting bulls.

It made a mark on anyone who saw it because it was very different from Ferrari’s vehicles.

At the 1965 Turin Motor Show, visitors were treated to a display of its final design. This bare chassis featured quite an unusual layout and people got excited over how the final product would appear.

Many had looked at the chassis design on the Miura and concluded that it was a race chassis. However, Ferruccio had been totally against racing. A provision in the company’s bylaws banned racing. That’s why the Miura came to be created and known as a road car of the topmost quality.

Exterior Design

During the Turin show, the body of the Miura was still undetermined. Towards the end, Nuccio Bertone was given the role because he was the perfect man to oversee production at Carrozzeria Bertone SpA. Giorgetto Guigiario believed that he was tasked with coming up with a design for the new Bizzarrini.

He had laid out the first sketches of this model. But he soon left the company and the work fell in the lap of Marcello Gandini who put in a lower nose that changed the position of the front radiator. Gandini was asked to go on a leisurely trip while Bertone put the last touches on the design before it was given to Lamborghini.

The Miura was put together so well by these three men that it was perfection in itself. At a later period, the job of producing the Miura bodies and interiors on chassis made by Marchersi was given to Carrozzeria Bertone.

At Lamborghini's plant in Santa'Agata Bolognese, the team finished the last few steps of installing the engine, transmission and suspension. Orange paint was used on the first prototype. Bertone himself drove it to the 1966 Geneva Motor Show where it made such a splash that the launch of the Ferrari 330GTC was relegated to the side.

A claim from its press release that stated that it delivers 198mph made everyone sit up and focus on this model. For that F1 weekend, the Miura took the trip to Monte Carlo where it received plenty of applause.

There were more orders than anticipated and so, the company became concerned with its production. It built a number of pre-production prototypes and subjected them to testing. These vehicles didn’t have many differences from the final production specification.

Subtle changes were implemented over time but in 1971, the brand undertook a major update that it referred to as the SV, beginning with chassis 4758. The SV’s main element was a new rear suspension that caused the car to have a significantly bigger width.

It became longer by 1.5 inches because it was given extensive wishbones. In addition, it had bigger Campagnolo cast magnesium wheels that were covered by even wider Pirelli Cintaurato tires. Chief test driver Bob Wallace experienced first-hand these modifications, together with Claudio Zampolli.

As a result, the Miura offered a much better handling. Adjustments became necessary because of the new setup so Bertone was given the first SV chassis, leaving Gandini to revise the design of its wider rear bodywork.

The Miura received additional features like Fiat Dino Spyder rear lights, smooth headlight surrounds, and improved front signals. After all these modifications, it became clear that what they built was a highly aggressive car that put the focus on its rear-engine power.

Buyers were given the option of Borletti air conditioning for the first time. Cars sent to the U.S. already had this feature as standard. However, just 30 units were installed with this basic equipment.

Production ended with only 148 SV Miuras made. The first 52 were built with a shared sump lubrication system for the transmission and engine. Meanwhile, the later cars had split systems to make them more reliable. Modena Racing Car Co. imported 21 Miuras to the U.S.

All of these had side marker lights, a smog device, and air conditioning. It was in 1973 that the Miura stopped production after having completed almost 150 cars. Apparently, the company was worried about the impact of the oil crisis and its ensuing lack of demand.

As of this point, the Countach underwent further redevelopment. The first time the Countach was seen in public was in 1971. By April 1972, Ferruccio had made the decision to sell off his controlling shares. We could only guess that it was due to Ferruccio’s feeling that he had done everything he could have done for the Miura. For more information, please go to

Powertrain

Founder Ferruccio Lamborghini had said that the Miura is intended for the “keenest” driver who wants only the best when it comes to performance and appearance.

Ferruccio had been dead set on competing with Ferrari and to do that, he built a range of top-quality grand tourers that he had named the 350 GT and 400 GT. These tourers paved the way for the Miura, which was powered by the V12 engine created by former Ferrari engineer Giotto Bizzarrini.

At the time, this engine held the record for producing the highest possible horsepower. At the start, this high-revving, 3.5-liter V12 engine was capable of a top output of 360 bhp at 9800 rpm. It was later given a boost on the SV to 3929cc to attain 385 bhp.

This engine on the Miura was built from one aluminum casting that put together the cylinder blocks, transmission, and crankcase. Bizzarrini's V12 engine was encased in a steel tub chassis that put it right at the back of the driver and set in a transverse location.

This steel tub chassis was the product of Gian Paolo Dallara and Paolo Stanzani. Inspiration came from two vehicles. The first – the Lola GT – is a race car designed by Eric Broadley that had a chassis tub design, which was later shared with the Ford GT.

The second is the Austin Mini, which had a transverse engine with a common crankcase for its engine and transmission.

Performance-wise, the Miura SV was amazing. According to Lamborghini, it generated 380 bhp and it can reach a top speed of 180 mph. However, it is believed that these figures were exaggerated. The truth is that a standard SV engine can produce about 350 bhp and its top speed is lower compared to the P400S model because it had bigger tires.

The company had claimed that a Miura that has been tuned well is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 in 5.5 to 6.0 seconds, and have a terminal velocity of about 170 mph if the conditions are ideal. 

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