Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Lamborghini Miura

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Yesterday, I was on my way home, smarting from an incident at a bank which just killed my day, when I suddenly thought about the Lamborghini Miura.

Just like that it pops into my mind and I remember how important it was for Lamborghini. It was the first time they dared to go against the Status Quo.

The tractor business was doing great, the oil crisis hadn’t hit, the economy was fine, then out jumps Ferrucio Lamborghini, with some new sportscar.

Lamborghini owes it existance to poor customer service.

As a wealthy agricultural machinery manufacturer, Ferruccio Lamborghini was able to take up some issues he was having with the clutch of his 250 GT directly with Enzo Ferarri.

Legend has it that Enzo was insulted that a man who made tractors could dare critique his fine motor cars. So like good Italians they got into a heated argument.

Lamborgini later had one of his mechanics fix the clutch. It turned out it was from the same manufacturer as some of the ones he used on his tractors.

So as a result of poor customer service, Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A was born.

But like most startups, after a while, things fell apart .

The thing is, he was trying to do it just like everyone else.

His first attempt at a sportscar, the 350 GTV wasn't warmly received by the motoring community. It looked exactly like any other Sportscar. Then he came up with the Miura.

The car was named after the Spanish Miura bull breeders, whose animals have a proverbial attack instinct. It was a complete departure from the design language of the day and its wedge shape can still be seen in most of todays sportscars.

At the time, sportcars basically looked like the Jaguar E-Type. They were curvy, they had long hoods and short rear overhangs. Today we look at the the E-types and Ferrari 250s and Mercedes 300SLs, and marvel at how graceful and elegant they look.

The Mercedes 300SL "Gullwing" the fastest production car at the time

But make no mistake, at the time they were just as radical as the supercars of today. The 1966-72 period the Miura was produced was the time of the Peugeot 404!!

Truth be told the Miura really owes its radical styling cues to another Ferarri basher, the Ford GT40.

However what caught the attention of the motoring public was what lay inside.

The Miura was powered by a 3.9L V12 engine transversely mounted in the middle of the car, right behind the passenger cell.

This unusual engine layout led to incredible interest in the vehicle. In fact, at the 1965 Turin Motor Show, only the chassis was shown, but multiple orders for the car were placed!

The car was not a commercial success, only 764 were built. But it placed Lamborghini firmly in the spotlight as a serious contender, a spot it occupies to this day.

In 2006 , A retro Lamborghini Miura concept car was presented. It was the first design by the then new Lamborghini chief, Walter de'Silva, and it commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1966 introduction of the original Miura in Geneva.

Lamborghini's president and CEO at the time, Stephan Winkelmann decided the concept would never be brought to production, saying

“The Miura was a celebration of our history, but Lamborghini is about the future. "

Those words ring true to this day.


digitalfemme said...

Hi Bobby! Wow, this was a great post. Loved how you tied in the Lamborghini story with startups.

carz said...

I think this is the steepest Lambo. It is exact the most legendary -).

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