They are the stuff of dreams, the instigators of boyhood fantasies that refuse to dim with age. Hot, fast and sticky, the Lamborghini Miura is without question one of the sexiest cars ever made, a car so far ahead of its time it still remains a formidable force on modern highways.
The final Miura model-the SV-made its debut in March 1971 at the Geneva Auto Salon. "SV" was short for Sprint Veloce or "tuned fast." The improvements from the previous four iterations were many and went a long way toward delivering the true potential of the design. Nobody argues that an SV is not the ultimate Miura, and the marketplace confirms this: There's a giant jump in the price of currently available Miura SVs over their predecessors. Contributing to the situation is the fact that only (approximately) 150 Miura SVs were built.
Although the SV appears largely the same as its earlier siblings, it received substantial upgrades beneath the skin. Many of these alterations were tested on the rare Jota "laboratory" vehicle, with stellar results-the SV had the honor of being the fastest car of its time.
Upgrades included a wider rear track, wider rear wheels and the larger fenders needed to accommodate them. The 9.0-in. wheels were shod with new (for the era) 60-series Pirelli tires. The suspension geometry went from a basic triangular arrangement to quadrilaterals for the lower arms The results were twofold: a more aggressive appearance and less twitchy, more predictable handling.
Subtle changes in the nose, the bumper and the turn signals were part of the change from the Miura S to the SV. The most significant change, in terms of styling, was the elimination of the controversial headlight surround "eyelashes" and more prominent blacked-out areas. The taillights were upgraded to include back-up illumination.
Modified cam timing, changes to the four Weber carburetors and enlarged intakes boosted the engine output to 385 bhp at 7850 rpm. More rigidity was designed into the front and rear portions of the chassis; similar changes are often incorporated when older Miuras are restored.
Some (but not all, as is often thought) of the SVs received the valuable "split sump" treatment, separating the lube system between the transmission and the engine, and a few SVs were equipped with a limited-slip differential.
Lamborghini ended production of the Miura SV when it shipped s/n 5110 on January 15, 1973. Just over 750 Miuras were built.
Most car models end their production run when demand ceases, but this was not the case with the Miura. By all accounts Lamborghini could have kept on selling it, because buyers were still eager. But Lamborghini had a worthy successor waiting with the Countach, and limited manufacturing facilities could not accommodate two models. The Countach continued the Miura tradition by also becoming an exotic car benchmark, setting new standards in styling and technology. It further revolutionized drivetrain systems with a mid-engine layout (this time inline) with the transmission in front of the engine. The Countach succeeded wildly, becoming the high-end icon of the '80s, but it wouldn't have happened without the Miura leading the way.
For more details on this spectacular SV example, visit:
European Car also would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to car owner Joe Sackey for making this gorgeous Miura available to our crew. While many owners of important cars rarely let them see the light of day, Joe bravely drove his Miura over miles of unpaved roads in order to appease photographer Les Bidrawn.
Miura SV Specifications
Engine: V12 (60) inboard transverse rear engine in unit with differential and gearbox; seven main bearing crankshaft; light alloy block and cylinder heads; four overhead cams
Capacity: 3929cc (240 cu in.)
Bore x stroke: 82 x 62mm (3.22x2.40 in.)
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Transmission: Lamborghini five-speed all-synchromesh gearbox
Fuel system: Four triple-body Weber carbs
Ignition: Two-coil system
Cooling: Forward-mounted radiator with
dual thermostatically controlled fans
Max power: 385 bhp @ 7700 rpm
Max torque: 292 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
Chassis: All-steel bodywork of monocoque construction
Suspension: Independent front and rear, double transverse wishbones with coil springs, telescopic Koni dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars
Brakes: Girling ventilated discs
Wheel: 7x15-in. magnesium
Wheelbase: 2504mm (98.5 in.)
Track front and rear: 1412mm (55.6 in.)
Length: 4390mm (172.8 in.)
Width: 1780 mm (70 in.)
Height: 1100 mm (43.3 in.)
Curb weight: 1,245kg (2,744 lb)
Performance (Road and Track, April 1970)
Top speed: 168 mph
0 to 60 mph: 5.5 sec.0 to 100 mph: 12.3 sec.
Standing 1/4 mile: 13.9 sec.
Fuel consumption: 13.9 mpg