1968 LAMBORGHINI MIURA P400
WORDS BY SAMUEL CUTHBERT with PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROMAN RÄTZKE FOR AUTO BILD
Lamborghini's famous badge proudly displays an image of a raging bull, and even if you didn't know the story behind it, it would seem quite fitting - the brand made a name for itself with aggressive design and performance after all. Still, I enjoy a good story, and the Lamborghini emblem tells a nice one in my opinion. Ferrucio Lamborghini had a bit of a thing for Spanish bullfighting legends, and fell in love with the acclaimed "Miura" ranch in Seville, who had a reputation for breeding the most ferocious of all bulls. Such was Ferrucio's desire to create a brand with the same reputation for power and aggression that he adopted the image of the raging bull as the company logo, named their groundbreaking supercar in homage to the Spanish breeders.
The designer (Marcello Gandini from Carrozzeria Bertone) went even further with this imagery, integrating a clever nod to the the Miura bulls by shaping the doors to resemble a pair of horns when opened. Marcello didn't get too carried away though, and this would be easy if you consider the specifications and that he was just 27 when he designed the Miura. 350hp from the 4.0-liter transversely mid-mounted V-12 engine, six Weber carburetors, a five speed open-gate manual transmission together with a lightweight frame covered in aluminium bodywork - it would be an obvious choice to pair such extreme performance into an overly aggressive design. Instead, Gandini showed great restraint, and instead successfully juxtaposed the brutish performance with a feminine grace in the lines of the car, perhaps a large part of why it has secured its place in automotive history.
Some reviewers criticized the driving experience as a little raw, and others praised it endlessly for the exact same reasons. It is a slightly mad driving position (my own 6"3 frame is quite assuredly ill-suited) that drivers find themselves contorting to adjust to, so it's no daily-driver, but a short time in its cabin on the move - the air reverberating with the throaty exhaust-note - is all many of us would need to convince ourselves that the physiotherapy bill is worth it to drive one of these icons. For a dream comparison of Lamborghini legends, check out this film from CAR Magazine where they drive the Miura and Countach and show us just why they are they are the stuff of automotive legend.