A 'definitive' Lamborghini Miura P400 SV will be offered in Artcurial's sale of sport and GTS classic cars in Le Mans on July 9.
The Miura P400, designed by Marcello Gandini, caused a sensation when it was released at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966 - and promptly became the must-own supercar among those who could afford it.
Under the bonnet, the car's performance levels matched its style with top-grade mechanical characteristics.
Apparently, Ferruccio Lamborghini had been keen to impress Enzo Ferrari after the latter had voiced doubts about Lamborghini's abilities as a constructor. Needless to say, the Miura P400 had the desired effect...
The P400 boasted an elaborate chassis that was both rigid and lighter than a Ferrari's tubular chassis. Meanwhile, the engine's mid-mounted positioning (rear wheel drive) proved a landmark feature.
As a result, the Miura's rack-and-pinion steering was also superior to its rivals', allowing better precision and response. This was bolstered by its 12-cylinder, 4-litre V/ACT engine which was initially designed by Giotto Bizzarrini and already powered the 400 GT.
For the Miura, the engine was upped to 350bhp in the standard version, and 430bhp in the Sprint Version which is selling at Artcurial.
At the time, the car's chassis was unlike anything anyone had seen before, with the transmission and V12 engine positioned just ahead of the rear wheels and sharing the same oil.
Every coachbuilder in Italy clamoured for the opportunity to clothe the Miura's innovative chassis. Bertone eventually won the contract.
The resulting bodywork remains a marvel of mechanical construction: a single piece cast in light alloy, uniting the cylinder blocks, sump and transaxle.
Its artful construction required high-precision machining and mounting. For this reason, each and every Miura was built manually, like a prototype.
After 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the rest is history as Lamborghini's Miura left Ferrari floundering in its wake.
Today regarded by many as the world's first supercar, the Miura remains an all-time great - and is often undervalued on the collectors' markets.
Artcurial isn't among those to underestimate its value, however. The Miura P400 SV (Chassis no 5104) will auction in Le Mans with an incredible estimate of €500,000-600,000.
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