It is said the reason Ferruccio Lamborghini created the orginal Miura in 1966, was because he did not like Enzo Ferrari. Apparently Lamborghini owned a Ferrari and complained that the gearbox was noisy. Enzo allegedly responded by suggesting he stick to making tractors – which had made him a millionaire – and leave the manufacture of sportscars to Ferrari. Ferrucio was a tad miffed so decided to have a go himself….
Whatever his motives may have been, it’s a great story, an amazing car and it rewrote the rule book for supercars for ever. Sure, GT’s can have engines at the front, but to be a sportscar the motor has to be in the middle. OK, or the back in the case of the 911, but that really is the exception that proves the rule.
In dazzling orange or lime green, the original Miura epitomised the swinging Sixties, with black eyelashes around its headlamps matching the false lashes of skinny, white-faced models. Twiggy’s manager, Justin de Velleneuve, bought the one above (with her money) to squire her around London’s night spots. One of my friends bought said car a couple of years ago as an investment. I could barely get in – god knows how you would actually drive one – let alone park it, it was awful. But it looked amazing.
The Muira also set the standards in scary supercar handling. Super-fast, its screaming quad-cam V12 engine was mounted across the back; that mass would pull the car into lurid oversteer if you lifted off in a corner and the sharp nose would lift at speed as air got underneath it.
And now, as retro is the new new, it is being reborn. This new version sports a barrage of aerodynamic splitters and winglets to keep it on the ground. So will it be less scary than the old model? Bentley’s chief engineer, Uli Eichhorn, thought so. “I don’t think we know how to make a car that handles that badly any more,” he grinned.
True, but you still know how to make them gorgeous!
I think I need another lottery ticket. Or two.