Few car manufacturers can hold their ground against the notorious reputation of Lamborghini. Though Ferruccio Lamborghini founded his supercar-building company in the 60s, he quickly managed to surpass his nemesis, Enzo Ferrari, in introducing jaw-dropping cars to the market.
The story about how Lamborghini supercars came to be is quite interesting. Ferruccio Lamborghini, who owned a Tractor-making factory, was not satisfied with his Ferrari 250 GTO. After having an argument with Enzo Ferrari over the 250 GTO’s malfunctioning clutch, Lamborghini decided to make his own supercar and show Ferrari how it’s done. Not long after, Ferruccio founded Automobili Lamborghini and built a reputation as one of the most famous carmakers in the world.
Most of Lamborghini’s reputation is thanks to the legendary Miura. Although Lamborghini’s first production car, the 350 GTV, attracted a lot of attention, it was the Miura that made everyone fall in love with the Italian bull. Let’s take a look at what made the Lamborghini Miura a revolutionary supercar.
How The Miura Came To Be
The year is 1965, and Lamborghini’s three top engineers are cooking up a prototype car known as the P400. Their goal is to give birth to a road-legal car that comes with a racing spirit.
The company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini, was reluctant towards the engineers’ vision. Ferruccio never wanted to build racing cars; his main goal was to combine luxury with performance to make the best touring cars, more importantly, better touring cars than Ferraris.
However, the engineers convinced Ferruccio that building such a car would neither end up too expensive nor derail from the company’s goals. Lamborghini Put the Bertone Group, an Italian car company specializing in car styling, in charge of shaping the P400’s body.
Bertone finished styling the P400 just a day before its debut at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show; the engineers didn’t find the time to check if the engine could fit inside the body. Still, Lamborghini was committed to showcasing the car to the world. At last, they presented the P400 at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show but locked the hood through the whole thing, not letting anyone see the P400’s engine.
Despite all of that, the P400 was the star of the show and turned all the eyes on itself. This gave the green light to Lamborghini for turning the prototype P400 into a production car. By the following year, Lamborghini started the P400’s production under the name "Miura," a breed of Spanish fighting bulls.
The Miura’s Mid-Engine Layout Changed The Automotive World
The wonders of the Miura’s design were many, but what stood out the most was its transversely-mounted mid-engine platform. Miura was the first car ever to put the engine in front of the rear axle and behind the seats. Thanks to all the performance advantages the mid-engine layout brought to the Miura, it soon became the standard for most other supercars to come.
The first advantage of a mid-engine layout is enhancements in weight distribution, which results in increased stability and better handling. What’s more, the traction is superior compared to front-engine configurations.
A mid-engine layout ensures a more comfortable and smoother ride. Last but not least, this layout vastly improves the breaks and reduces the likelihood of sliding or spinning out.
Prior to Miura, performance-oriented cars primarily featured either rear-engine or front-engine layouts. However, with all the mid-engined Miura's advantages, many other supercars implemented the same design. The Chevrolet Corvette, the Dodge Viper, the Audi R8, and the Bugatti Veyron are prime examples of modern supercars with mid-engine configurations.
The Miura Was The Fastest Road Car Of Its Time
Perhaps Miura’s second most revolutionary feature was how quick it was. When Lamborghini introduced the Miura to the market in 1966, no other car could come close to it in terms of top speed.
With the 4.0L V12 mounted under its hood, the Miura cranked out 345 horsepower and had a top speed of 180 miles per hour.
The Lamborghini Miura effortlessly put its rivals to shame on the road. With a magnificent design, a revolutionary engine layout, and a crazy top speed, the Miura moved the limits of what a supercar can be.
Later on, Lamborghini used the same formula for the Countach. Lamborghini’s V12 layout was so successful that it thrived for about half a century. It wasn’t until the Aventador that Lamborghini redesigned the entirety of their V12 masterpiece.