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

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