Vintage ‘Car’ Review: Lamborghini Miura – The First (and only) Modern Transverse 12 Cylinder Supercar


In the February 1966 issue of ROAD & TRACK, writer Henry N. Manney, III, in describing the 47th Turin Auto Show, wrote, “The prize for the poker hand was reserved for Comm. Lamborghini who not only showed up with a shortened Touring-bodied convertible but also the wild new transverse-engine chassis.”  There was no reference to the name “Miura”, since the new chassis and car were, as yet,  not named.  Only later would the Lamborghini tradition of naming cars after Spanish fighting bulls or breeders of those bulls begin.  Soon appeared the first name, also acknowledging the Zodiac sign under which the Company founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, was born.  Lamborghini’s birth sign was Taurus, one of the reasons that he adopted the charging bull insignia for his cars.

Miura chassis 1965 Turin Auto Show

Like many Italian Emilians, Ferruccio, a true classic Emilian born in Renazza di Cento in the province of Bologna, had the stubborn trait of refusing to grow old and “to do it his way”.  During a visit to Spain, he became a fan, an aficionado, of the Corida (the bullfight and its pageantry).  Later, during a subsequent trip, he visited the breeding ranch of patron Don Eduardo Miura near Seville.  This famous ranch had then a greater than a century tradition of breeding Spain’s most famous, fearless fighting bulls.  Senor Miura and the ranch had widespread fame throughout Spain.  Interestingly that meeting with patron Senor Miura occurred after the car had already been named.  The Miura.

Inspired by the Ford GT40, according to to the Lamborghini developmental test driver, and later Lamborghini restoration expert, New Zealander, Bob Wallace (on left), the Miura ultimately became “the template” for the future of exotic  cars, later called “supercars”, mid-engined, but not necessarily transverse, so much so, that even Enzo Ferari reluctantly, with the encouragement of Pinin Farina, followed “the template” of a mid-engine exotic for his Ferrari Boxer (first the 365GT4 BB, then the 512BB, and finally the 512BBi).

The following is the Miura article first published in the British publication, “CAR”, February 1981