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Before the Lamborghini Miura, the Term “Supercar” Didn’t Exist

A ’71 Miura P400 SV is being sold at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction.

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Three years after the Raging Bull was founded just to stick it to Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini’s muscular marque rolled out what many consider to be the first modern supercar, the Miura.

Unlike Lamborghini’s first production, the 350GT, the Miura was not a grand touring coupe with a V12 engine up front. Instead, Lamborghini mounted the Miura’s four-liter V12 behind the driver in the middle of the car, a style which had previously only been used in race cars, not production models.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

The car’s innovative mid-engine chassis led attendees at the Turin Auto Show where it was first unveiled in 1965 to assume Lambo was working on a race car instead of a production vehicle. When the complete car was revealed the following year at the Geneva Motor Show, the car was a quick hit.

That can also be taken quite literally because, with a top speed of about 170 miles per hour and a 0-60 time in the six-second range, the Miura became the fastest car in the world.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

Created by Bertone protege Marcello Gandini when he was in his twenties, the Miura’s stunning design was nearly as powerful as its engine and the car became an instant success with buyers.

So much of one that the Miura line, which was originally going to be limited to only 30 units, was extended in both breadth and scope as Lamborghini went on to build more than 750 models of the car including variants such as the P400, P400 S, and P400 SV.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

The last of those, the P400 SV, commenced production in 1971 and was limited to a run of about 150, approximately 20 percent of the Miura’s entire production run.

Packing 385 ponies, the P400 SV was slightly swifter than the standard Miura with a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph. Also, it had the option to be outfitted with Borletti air conditioning for $555.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

One such P400 SV, chassis No. 4912, was finished in a bleu medio when it was shipped new to the U.S. in ’71, the only Miura SV to be decked out in that particular shade.

A Texas resident until the late ’70s, chassis No. 4912 stayed stateside until the early ’90s when it was shipped to Japan and placed in storage for the better part of two decades.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

Resold in 2011 and brought back to the U.S., chassis No. 4912 underwent a full cosmetic restoration and also had some mechanical work done.

Since completion, the car has been shown for display, not judging, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the San Marino Motor Classic, and at the Father’s Day show on Rodeo Drive.

The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)
The 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone which is being sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction. (RM Sotheby’s)

Being offered by RM Sotheby’s at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction on December 8, the car is expected to fetch anywhere from $2.1 to $2.5 million when it crosses the block.

“Without the Miura, it can be argued that Lamborghini might not even exist as a company today,” according to RM Sotheby’s. “Its importance to the automotive world simply cannot be overstated. Chassis no. 4912 is an excellent driver’s Miura and would surely put a smile on the faces of any driver and passenger at speed.”

Bidders for chassis No. 4912 are encouraged to attend or register to bid by telephone as internet bidding is not available for this lot.