Collection of Morrie’s Classic Cars, LLC, Long Lake, Minnesota

Sponsored by: Dodie and Carl George

Lamborghini shocked Ferrari and the Gran Turismo (GT) world at the Salone di Torino in 1965 when they presented the chassis for the radical P400 Miura. Coachbuilder Nuccio Bertone reportedly saw the Turin show chassis and told Ferruccio Lamborghini, “I am the one who can make the shoe to fit your foot.” Marcello Gandini had succeeded Giorgetto Giugiaro as chief of styling at Bertone in 1965. Bertone had hired Gandini from Marazzi, a small Milanese carrozzeria. Gandini’s early sketches for the Miura electrified Lamborghini’s engineers.

Named for the legendary Spanish fighting bulls originally bred by Don Eduardo Miura Fernández, the low-slung Miura berlinetta shocked onlookers in Monaco when it first appeared. Overnight, the P400 made everything in the Ferrari road-going car lineup obsolete. It would be years before Ferrari built a full-sized mid-engine sports car for the road. Compared to a bulky Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, the slender Miura resembled a stiletto on cast magnesium wheels. The four-liter, 350-bhp, six-carburetor V-12 was transversely mounted, directly behind the seats, as the youthful engineering trio had proposed.

The Miura put Lamborghini firmly on the map as a serious competitor to hitherto unassailable Ferrari and Maserati. It was a technical tour de force, and its styling still looks contemporary. Lamborghini never planned to race these cars, although a few owners tried. Successors such as the Countach, Diablo, and Murciélago were even more outrageous, but the Miura represents Lamborghini in its purest iteration. Today, commanding seven-figure prices, the Miura remains the definitive Lamborghini and the premier sports car of its era.

—Adapted from the exhibition catalogue essay by Ken Gross

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