RM Sotheby’s Arizona: 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV by Bertone
ANATOMY OF A RAGING BULL
The Spanish bull referred to as the Miura may have first entered the pop culture lexicon with the publication of Ernest Hemingway’s enduring 1926 classic The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway’s disaffected expatriates travel to Spain to watch the bullfights, and there they are impressed by the brutal capabilities of the Miura, a creature that is muscular, powerful, lithe, and menacing.
Forty years later, Ferruccio Lamborghini introduced his automotive interpretation of the Miura, and in every way the new model lived up to the values of its namesake. Replete with all the grace and power of Pamplona’s bulls, the Miura P400 was a revolutionary sports car in every sense, from its transversely positioned mid/rear-mounted V-12 engine, to the sinewy and voluptuous coachwork designed by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini.
After progressing through the P400 S iteration unveiled at the Geneva Salon in March 1970, the Miura underwent one final development introduced in Geneva a year later. The resulting Miura P400 SV was available by special order only, and the SV (or Spinto Veloce) nomenclature instantly clarified that this was the most mechanically advanced Miura to emerge from Sant’ Agata Bolognese.
To accommodate fiercer performance, the chassis was reinforced and the rear suspension was improved with larger wishbones. In combination with the fitting of larger wheels, this resulted in a wider rear track that necessitated sculpting wider rear fenders, adding further muscular character to Gandini’s original design. The proprietary Lamborghini V-12 was further tuned to develop 385 horsepower, a dividend of an additional 15 horsepower over the concurrent P400 S.
Among a combined output of approximately 900 total examples built, the P400 SV was built in a relatively modest quantity of 150 examples, making it the rarest of the three Miura variants. To this day the model remains prized by discerning collectors for its uprated performance and elevated cosmetics, signifiers of the most highly developed and advanced version of Lamborghini’s legendary bull.
CHASSIS NUMBER 4926
Desirably equipped and benefitting from a comprehensive restoration by one of the marque’s most respected specialists and retaining its numbers-matching components, this beautifully presented Miura is one of the finest examples of the P400 SV to be offered in recent memory. According to Simon Kidston’s authoritative Miura registry, chassis number 4926 completed factory assembly in November 1971, finished in Giallo Sole paint and upholstered with Nero leather. The car was desirably equipped with the split-sump lubrication system common to later examples, and there is a strong chance that the currently fitted air-conditioning system was originally installed by the factory.
While there is currently no corroborative documentary evidence, it is believed that this Lamborghini was originally distributed to the Rome-based dealer Carpanelli for sale to an Italian client named Cervini residing in Louisiana. After passing through collections in Idaho and Florida, the Miura was eventually sold in 1990 to Bill Young of Arizona, the owner of one of the most respected suppliers of parts for vintage Italian performance cars. The P400 SV was acquired in 2001 by the well-known dealer/film producer Randy Simon, and he soon commissioned a full refurbishment by the Bobileff Motorcar Company in San Diego, one of the foremost restorers of classic Lamborghinis.
The four-year restoration reportedly addressed every mechanical and cosmetic aspect of the car, including a complete rebuild of the V-12 engine by Bob Wallace, the former racing driver and Lamborghini factory test driver/engineer. The exquisite coachwork was repainted in the lovely shade of Blu Notte (midnight blue), while the interior was retrimmed in light gray leather with complementary dark blue carpeting, combining to create a very handsome color scheme.
Following completion of the work, the Miura was presented at several concours, winning its class at the 2005 Concorso Italiano and at the 2007 Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance, where it was also awarded Best in Show and Most Elegant. The SV was also exhibited at the 2007 La Bella Macchina d’Italia and won another class award at the Lamborghini Club of America’s National Meet in Monterey, California.
Sold to the current owner in January 2011, the Lamborghini was treated to a host of measures through 2013 as indicated by invoices on file, including a rebuild of the transmission, carburetors, and master cylinder. The engine and carburetors were tuned, the wiring system was repaired, a Tubi Style exhaust was installed, and the air conditioning was charged. Since then, the Miura has largely remained in climate-controlled storage, although in preparation for the current offering the car underwent a fluid service in November 2022 to ensure basic operating condition.
As the beneficiary of a full restoration by one of America’s leading Lamborghini specialists, the quality of which has been confirmed by the car’s impressive show record, this striking P400 SV would make a fabulous acquisition for any marque enthusiast or collector of iconic sports cars. It is also worth noting that the car bears mechanical stampings that indicate it retains its numbers-matching chassis, engine, and body.
Beautifully finished and powerfully specified, this rare example of the last batch of a special breed exemplifies all the remarkable traits for which the Miura is so celebrated, perpetuating the model’s myth in a fashion that even the noted sportsman Hemingway could hardly match.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale, kicking off the 2023 collector car auction calendar 26 January. View more and register to bid online at rmsothebys.com today.