"This is the origin of Lamborghini as we know it today - more than that, it's where the modern supercar begins. It's the first, the daddy... the Miura."
Richard Hammond, presenter of Top Gear, the BBC's flagship car programme, isn't exaggerating. Forty-four years after its unveiling at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the Lamborghini Miura is still regarded as the 'World's First Supercar'.
Designed by Marcello Gandini, the Miura P400 caused a sensation when it was unveiled before onlookers in Geneva, and promptly became the must-own supercar among those who could afford it.
The car's performance levels matched its eye-popping style; but there was a purpose behind the Miura's excellence. So the story goes, Ferruccio Lamborghini had been keen to impress Enzo Ferrari after the latter had voiced doubts about Lamborghini's abilities as a constructor.
The rest is history. The P400 boasted an elaborate chassis that was both rigid and lighter than a Ferrari's tubular chassis, and the engine's mid-mounted positioning (rear wheel drive) was also 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 that was initially designed by Giotto Bizzarrini, and already powered the 400 GT.
Every coachbuilder in Italy clamoured for the opportunity to clothe the Miura, with Bertone eventually winning the contract. The resulting bodywork was a marvellous as it was simple: a single piece cast in light alloy, and mounted on the car with high precision.
For this reason, each and every Miura was built manually, like a prototype.
Fastforward to 2010, and collectors have an opportunity to buy the world's first supercar, a 'definitive' Lamborghini Miura P400 SV, at Artcurial's sale of sport and GTS classic cars in Le Mans on July 9.
To coincide with the sale, in our Video of the Week the BBC's Richard Hammond takes the Miura out for a spin and looks how this most-incredible of collectible classic cars came to be among the all-time greats.
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