London

8 September 2014

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Lot 130

1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 by Bertone

  • Chassis no. 3640
  • Engine no. 2145

Sold for £649,600


350 bhp, 3,929 cc DOHC transverse V-12 engine with six Weber carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel double-wishbone coil-spring independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,499 mm

  • Restored in its original Miura Green over Black
  • Originally owned by a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family
  • An Octane magazine cover and feature car
  • Just 28,000 original kilometres and four owners from new
  • An outstanding example in all respects


The Miura was the brainchild of seven young engineers that were working after hours at Lamborghini on a radical new sports car. Credit for the design goes to Marcello Gandini at Carrozzeria Bertone, who was only 27 at the time! The mid-mounted engine was fitted transversely to allow for a more compact overall design, which was an engineering solution inspired by the Austin Mini. As the four-litre engine was not front-mounted but rather posterior, the first generation of Miuras were named P400s. This in itself was a break from tradition and a trendsetting decision, as earlier sports cars generally had front-mounted engines.

As with future models, the Miura was inspired by bullfighting legends, and in this case, it shared its name with the renowned Spanish ranch that bred exceptional bulls known for their ferocity. In keeping with this theme, the doors were designed to resemble bullhorns when fully opened. Whilst the Miura’s low-slung design was very aggressive, the headlight surrounds were intended to resemble the eyelashes of a woman, and along with the car’s gracious curves, they provided for a very voluptuous and sexy impression. It was this juxtaposition of brute aggression and feminine beauty that gave the Miura its unmatched presence.

Likewise, the Miura’s specifications are still impressive to this day, and they include a lightweight frame covered in aluminium body panels, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and a more powerful version of the 400 GT’s four-litre, V-12 engine. The Miura’s powerplant breathed through six Weber carburettors and produced an impressive 350 horsepower. Whilst the new Lamborghini’s design and powerplant were widely praised, its imperfect driving manners were lauded by some and criticised by others. The car was a pure-bred sports car, and whilst it was ill-suited for daily driving, the throaty exhaust note and blistering acceleration provided unapologetic, visceral driving thrills.

This Miura P400, chassis number 3640, was completed on 16 July 1968 and originally finished in Verde Miura over Nero. It was delivered new through the Grand Garage des Nations, of Switzerland, and its first owner was Sheikh Ahmed S.S. Al Sabah, a member of the royal family of Kuwait. The Sheikh used his Miura sparingly, as he covered just 11,000 kilometres between 1968 and November 1981, when it was flown to the Lamborghini factory for a comprehensive service and check-up. It was flown back to Kuwait in 1982, and it remained in the ownership of the Sheikh until 1989, by which time mileage was 19,100 kilometres.

The car’s second owner had it flown to Heathrow, where it was picked up by representatives of Portman Lamborghini, and it is reported to have been fully serviced at a cost of over £5,000. At this time, it remained incredibly original, authentic, and complete, and it was registered in London as KRX 297 H, until its sale to the third owner in France in early 1994.

In 2005, the car was purchased by its fourth and present owner, who commissioned its full restoration in its original colours by Cheshire Classic Cars. At its completion, it was reported to be one of the most original fully restored Miuras known to survive, as it still featured 95 per cent of its original factory parts. Unsurprisingly, such an excellent car was honoured with appearances at both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival; in the latter, it was awarded a third prize in the Most Beautiful Car in the World competition, as voted by the public. It appeared on the cover of the 100th issue of Octane magazine and was also the subject of an 11-page feature article and full photo shoot within.

Today, chassis number 3640 remains in excellent condition and freshly finished in every respect. It is one of few early Miuras to have been continually kept in such excellent, authentic condition and with such low original mileage, which was showing just under 28,000 kilometres at the time of cataloguing. Not many have enjoyed such a fascinating original ownership, and it is one of even fewer Miuras to have been painted this incredibly desirable and iconic colour. In sum, this is one of the finest early Miuras known to survive, and it will be an iconic “must-have” addition to any collection of supercars.

Photos: Roman Rätzke

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more