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Lot 157

2013   |   Pebble Beach Auctions 2013

1965 Lamborghini Miura P400 Prototype Chassis

SOLD $473,000

Estimate

$450,000 - $600,000

Engine

0293

Car Highlights

The Legendary Miura Rolling Chassis Shown at the 1965 Turin Auto Salon
The Very First Transversely Mounted Mid-Engined Road-Car Design
Personally Built by Chassis Genius Gianpaolo Dallara
Documented Chain of Just Three Owners
One Owner for 30 Years
Sympathetic Restoration by a Marque Expert Completed in 2010
Genuine and Unique Benchmark of the Original Supercar

Technical Specs

3,929 CC DOHC V-12 Engine
Four Weber 40 IDL 3C Carburetors
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
4-Wheel Independent Suspension

Saleroom Addendum

*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.

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This Chassis

Much has been written of the brilliance of Lamborghini’s Miura, which is often considered to be the first true supercar. While Marcello Gandini’s achingly beautiful coachwork is the model’s obvious strength from a visual standpoint, the Miura’s groundbreaking chassis was every bit as significant, utilizing a brand-new design by the great Gianpaolo Dallara. After his stint with Lamborghini, Dallara went on to have one of the most successful careers in race car chassis design, and Dallara Automobili business continues to this day.

Despite the lofty heights of appreciation the Miura now enjoys, the model began life with much less fanfare. It actually started as a chassis experiment that was Dallara’s personal project, well under way before Ferruccio Lamborghini was even aware of the exercise. Perhaps the most innovative aspect of Dallara’s new design was the mid-rear placement of the engine in a transverse position to accommodate a lower profile.

Unlike the succeeding Miura production chassis that were built by Marchesi in Modena, this prototype was personally constructed by Dallara himself at Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata factory. Following official approval of the model, which hadn’t even been named yet, the world was introduced to the Miura with the display of this chassis at Lamborghini’s stand at the 1965 Turin Auto Salon. In retrospect, this debut represents what has since become a longstanding tradition in the marque’s history of introducing new models with a rolling chassis, a practice that included the 350GTV and the Aventador chassis shown at Pebble Beach in 2011.

When Dallara mounted engine number 0293 to this chassis in the transverse mid-rear position, it became the first Lamborghini V-12 ever fitted this way, making it the first in a long line of celebrated production. The midrear- mounted architecture would go on to be widely copied by competing premium sports car manufacturers, eventually becoming one of the supercar segment’s defining characteristics. In this respect, Dallara’s rolling Miura chassis can be viewed as the origin of a great modern automotive tradition, and a historic piece of great significance.

This chassis was displayed at the Turin Auto Salon in December 1965. Legend holds that while on display, its true purpose was the subject of much debate among the amazed onlookers. Some were certain that the chassis was proof of Lamborghini’s plans to pursue competition victories; while others, including many of Italy’s top designers, visualized a groundbreaking road car. It wasn’t until the conclusion of the show that Nuccio Bertone quietly arrived, took in the silhouette of the exotic chassis, and began designing in his head. When Ferruccio Lamborghini spotted the designer, he asked why he had waited so long to view the car, and if he was disinterested in the project. Mr. Bertone, unsure if he had offended Mr. Lamborghini, assured him that he very much wished to design the car. After an on-the-spot conversation, a deal was agreed upon, and the rest is history.

Following the chassis’ display at Turin in December 1965, it was returned to Lamborghini headquarters. Eventually relegated to a corner of the factory, the highly influential chassis remained in storage for the next 12 years until spotted by the visiting Marios Kritikos, official Lamborghini importer to Cyprus. Intrigued by the display piece, Mr. Kritikos arranged for a purchase of the chassis and returned on April 7, 1978, to pick up his acquisition in a Range Rover-towed open trailer. Mr. Kritikos returned the car to Cyprus, where it remained in his possession for approximately 30 years, essentially removed from the public eye.

In late 2008 while considering retirement, Mr. Kritikos decided it was time to find a new home for the chassis, and he reached out to Lamborghini expert Joe Sackey, the author of The Lamborghini Miura Bible. Mr. Sackey located a purchaser, and after a transaction was arranged, the car was shipped directly to Gary Bobileff’s shop in San Diego for restoration. Bobileff Motorcar Company specializes in the service and repair of high-line Italian sports cars, and Mr. Bobileff has conducted numerous high-level Lamborghini restorations.

Mr. Bobileff immediately began a sympathetic restoration that specifically focused on cosmetic aspects of the chassis. As a nonfunctioning vehicle, the chassis had obviously not endured any actual wear to its motor, brakes, or suspension, so a sympathetic rebuild and proper finishing was considered the best restoration route. Sourcing period photos of the chassis taken by the renowned Peter Coltrin, Mr. Bobileff was able to identify precise color and textural needs for the refinishing, as the chassis had developed a healthy patina that somewhat disguised the original surface.

The steering wheel and gearshift were expertly reconditioned, leaving only one “interior” aspect to address. At some point earlier in its life, the original seat had been removed. Mr. Sackey notes that this component was not a prototype of the eventual Miura production seat, but a specially built one that more closely resembled those of the earlier cars. To reproduce the unusual seat, Mr. Bobileff built a new unit from scratch to the original show chassis appearance, trimming it in proper leather upholstery.

After restoration was completed in early 2010, the chassis was displayed in the owner’s private airplane hangar, where it sat in the company of a 1968 Lamborghini Islero that was once owned by Ferruccio Lamborghini himself until it was acquired by the consignor in 2013. The chassis has never been publicly shown since restoration, and its current offering marks the first time in history that it has ever been available on the open market.

Accompanied by the original 1978 sales invoice, this unique and incredibly important Miura chassis is truly a must-have for serious Lamborghini collectors and supercar enthusiasts alike. This historic chassis – the genesis of the modern supercar and the very first example of the legendary Miura – represents a singular opportunity worthy of serious consideration.