Monday, April 25, 2011

Car Of The Day: April 25, 2011

Today's car of the day comes from Firehawk73's collection and is Matchbox's 1969 Lamborghini Miura P 400S.

The Lamborghini Miura is a sports car produced by Italian automaker Lamborghini between 1966 and 1972. The car is widely considered to have begun the trend of high performance, two-seater, mid-engined sports cars. While the mid-engined layout had been used successfully in competition in cars such as the Ford GT40 and Ferrari 250 LM at Le Mans, the Miura was the first viable road car sporting the layout.

The Miura was originally conceived by Lamborghini's engineering team, who designed the car in their spare time against the wishes of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, who showed a preference towards producing powerful yet sedate grand touring cars, rather than the racecar-derived machines produced by local rival Ferrari. When its rolling chassis was presented at the 1965 Turin auto show, and the prototype P400 debuted at the 1966 Geneva show, the car received a stellar reception from showgoers and motoring press alike, who were impressed by Marcelo Gandini's sleek styling as well as the car's revolutionary design.
As Lamborghini's halo car, the Miura received periodic updates and remained in production until 1972, and was not replaced in the automaker's lineup until the Countach entered production in 1974, amidst tumultuous financial times for the company.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Lamborghini Miura P400S

Yesterday's Countach replaced this car in the Lamborghini line-up.  Matchbox had done a Miura when the real car was still in showrooms, and this brand new for 2011 casting is their modern take on this now classic automobile.

The P400S Miura, also known as the Miura S, made its introduction at the Turin Motorshow in November 1968, where the original chassis had been introduced 3 years earlier. It was slightly revised from the P400, including newly added power windows, bright chrome trim around external windows and headlights, new overhead inline console with new rocker switches, engine intake manifolds made 2mm larger, different camshaft profiles, and notched trunk end panels (allowing for slightly more luggage space). Engine changes were reportedly good for an additional 20 PS (15 kW; 20 hp). Other revisions were limited to creature comforts, such as a locking glovebox lid, reversed position of cigarette lighter and windshield wiper switch, and single release handles for front and rear body sections. Other interior improvements included the addition of power windows and optional air conditioning, available for $800. About 140 P400S Miura were produced between December 1968 and March 1971. One S #4407 was owned by Frank Sinatra.

During 1965, Lamborghini's three top engineers, Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace put their own time into the development of a prototype car known as the P400. The engineers envisioned a road car with racing pedigree; a car which could win on the track and be driven on the road by enthusiasts. The three men worked on the car's design at night, hoping to sway Lamborghini from the opinion that such a vehicle would be too expensive and would distract from the company's focus. When finally brought aboard, Lamborghini allowed his engineers to go ahead, deciding that the P400 was a potential marketing tool, if nothing more.

The car featured a transversely-mounted mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Lamborghini cars; the V12 was also unusual in that it was effectively merged with the transmission and differential, reflecting a lack of space in the tightly-wrapped design. The rolling chassis was displayed at the Turin Salon in 1965; impressed showgoers placed orders for the car despite the lack of a body to go over the chassis.
Bertone was placed in charge of styling the prototype, which was finished just days before its début at the 1966 Geneva motor show. Curiously, none of the engineers had found time to check if the engine fit inside its compartment; committed to showing the car, they decided to fill the engine bay with ballast, and keep the hood locked throughout the show, as they had three years earlier for the début of the 350GTV. Sales boss Sgarzi was forced to turn away members of the motoring press who wanted to see the P400's power plant. Despite this setback, the car was the star of the show, making stylist Marcello Gandini a star in his own right.
The favourable reaction at Geneva meant the P400 was to go into production by next year, under a different name, Miura. The name along with the company's newly created trade-mark badge were taken from a type of fighting bull. The Miura gained a worldwide audience of car nuts when it was chosen for the opening sequence of The Italian Job (original 1969 version). In press interviews of the time company boss Ferruccio Lamborghini was reticent about his precise birth date, but stressed that he was born under the star sign Taurus.

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