In the ever-expanding list of collectible cars, a few models stand out, such as the Alfa Romeo GTV6, Bugatti EB110, and Citroën 2CV. Still, of these incredible models, many car enthusiasts agree: the Lamborghini Miura is a cut above. A recent study ranked the Miura as the best classic car of all time. A single road test is all you need to know why this Lamborghini model is exceptional. So, if you’re unfamiliar, here’s what makes the Miura a certified classic.
A brief overview of the Lamborghini Miura
According to many auto historians, the Lamborghini Miura is the brand that first put Lamborghini on the map. A group of young auto designers had a vision of a streetcar with the automaker’s signature V12 engine, built in the image of a sports car. However, the Lamborghini V12 was long, so the designers mounted the engine transversely parallel to the rear axle. This design choice, which placed the engine behind the driver, was new for streetcars at the time.
While the still-unnamed Miura’s chassis and powertrain first debuted at the 1965 Turin Auto Show, a more finished (though still incomplete) version was shown at the 1966 Geneva Auto Show. The unique powertrain design and sleek exterior marked the new Lamborghini model (now known as the Miura or the P400) as the world’s first supercar, and its debut became the talk of the auto show.
The Miura S (or P400 S) made its debut at the Turin Motor Show two years later. This version added rider amenities, such as power windows, a locking glove box, and optional air conditioning. It also worked out some of the design kinks of the previous version, such as higher lift cams, bigger carburetors, and larger manifolds, which helped it generate more horsepower. A second variant, the SV, debuted in 1971 and included further engine and suspension upgrades.
However, by 1974, the Lamborghini Countach had supplanted the Miura as the automaker’s biggest sensation and seller. By then, only around 800 Miuras had been built. These surviving models are now among the most coveted classic cars around.
How much is a Lamborghini Miura?
To get your hands on a Lamborghini Miura today, expect to pay as much as $4 million or more at auction. In fact, according to Hagerty Insider, an SV Speciale model sold for approximately $4.25 million in 2020. That’s a far cry from its starting price of $20,000 back in the late 1960s. However, in today’s dollars, $20,000 is approximately $155,000, and Miuras have appreciated quite a bit since their debut.
IMSA notes that an “excellent” condition P400 is valued at $1 million, a P400 S at $1.2 million, and a P400 SV at $2.1 million. Those prices climb further if you’re talking about a Miura in “best-in-the-world” condition, with a top value P400 SV estimated at $2.45 million. IMS also notes that if the Miura sports the optional air conditioning or vented brakes, you can add 10% to that figure for each.
Most of this rare vehicle’s tremendous appreciation in value came over the last decade. The average value of a median condition Miura today is $1.2 million, but in 2010, it was just $367,000. Between 2011 to 2016 alone, the Miura saw 167% average value appreciation, with early models growing as much as 200% in value. Clearly, a new – and deep-pocketed – generation has rediscovered the Miura and driven its prices into the stratosphere.
Why is it called the Miura?
Its rarity, unique look, and groundbreaking design may fuel the Lamborghini Miura’s high cost, but its name gives it an unmistakable mystique. That’s ironic, given that Ferruccio Lamborghini didn’t initially believe his team should be in the business of making sportscars and left it unnamed even throughout its original debut in 1965.
However, given the buzz at Turin, Lamborghini did opt for the name “Miura” for what was then still more a concept than a car. He opted for Miura as it was the name of a famous Spanish bull breeder, Don Eduardo Miura. Lamborghini named this new powerful sportscar after the man himself, given Miura’s reputation for breeding fierce fighting bulls.
In fact, Lamborghini’s love of bullfighting is prominently reflected in the automaker’s choice of cars. As Road and Track notes, many of the carmaker’s most renowned models are named after bulls or bullfighters, including the Islero, Espada, Jalpa, Murcielago, and Reventon, among others. However, although many of those names belong to now-classic models, none match the status of the rare Lamborghini Miura.