There are some cars that journalists seem scared to put down in any way, shape or form: one of these is the legendary Lamborghini Miura.
Undoubtedly the car that spawned the supercar genre, and still one of the most beautiful examples of automotive sculpture ever designed, it is revered as a magnificent beast that offered stunning performance and amazing dynamics. A Miura may command a seven figure price these days, but it seems that all may not be as it seems.
As I have never had the pleasure of even sitting in a Miura – like most of us I guess – I tend to rely on magazine reviews and reports, but recently a letter in the best-selling UK magazine Classic & Sports Car dared to slate this venerable icons revered reputation.
The writer, a former owner of a Miura that he had painstakingly restored, describes the ergonomics as having serious problems: you can see nothing, the engine noise in intrusive, and the seating position horrible, and that’s before you get to the problem of the excessive heat in the cabin.
Surely, however, we can overlook these points in favor of the performance? The claimed top speed was 171mph; he asks ‘has anyone ever actually done that in one?’ It’s a good question, as there are myriad tales of alarming front end lift at 120mph, thus terrifying the driver. It would seem that, even now, it is sacrilege to put the Miura down, as there is a need to keep it at the forefront of the supercar revolution.
Let’s backtrack a little, and see if we can salvage this curvaceous beauty’s reputation (oh, did I mention the brakes which he describes as ‘worthy of a Morris Marina’ – for the uninitiated, the Marina was a truly terrible product of British Leyland – or the stiff and uncompromising suspension? Though it best to do so…).
For it is a beauty, and that much is accepted. It was also technologically a breakthrough, with a wonderful V12 engine mounted transversely and in the middle, a layout broadly copied by everyone from then on in.
It seems to me that the Miura was so widely anticipated when its concept was realized that it was hastily released, an underdeveloped and flawed car that wowed the public on looks alone.
It’s notable that few cars of this type are bought by people who can or have an inkling to exploit the intended performance, hence many will overlook the high speed lift and uncomfortable interior as they only partake of short journeys. That, I contend, was the saving grace of the Miura.
So, was it any good? As a glorious example of the designers art and for its stunning engine, yes, but as a well-developed grand touring supercar, you’d be better off with a Maserati Ghibli, and save a fortune in the process.