Lamborghini Polo Storico Certifies The Identity Of The Miura P400 Used In The Italian Job
W all know the seminal film “The Italian Job”, which was released in 1969 and became a hit the world over thanks to the daring antics of Charlie Croker and his band of criminal misfits. Its popularity was further aided by a long list of desirable vehicles that played pivotal roles throughout the caper, not least the orange (Arancia) Lamborghini Miura P400 that appeared briefly at the beginning of the film. Piloted by actor Rossano Brazzi across the Great St Bernard Pass to the backdrop of Matt Monro’s “On Days Like These”, the Miura and its driver meet an untimely demise as they barrel headlong into a strategically placed bulldozer in a darkened tunnel.
A few years after the film’s release it came to light that the car destroyed on-screen was in-fact an already wrecked model and another had been used for the driving scenes. What followed was a five-decade-long hunt to unearth the identity of this elusive Arancio Miura. In 2014, Miura specialist Iain Tyrrell, then of Cheshire Classic Cars, announced that he’d identified the car in question, chassis #3586, tracing its history and using film stills to compare unique features of the hand-made interior with that of #3586. This identification was widely accepted but to silence any doubters the car’s current owner, the Kaiser Collection of Vaduz, decided to consult Lamborghini Polo Storico in an attempt to give, once and for all, a chassis number to the Miura driven by Brazzi. After much investigation and verification, it has been confirmed by Polo Storico that chassis #3586 was indeed the car used on set.
Former Lamborghini employee Enzo Moruzzi was the man who delivered the car to the set and drove it in all the shots. He recalls, “There was a Miura P400 almost ready on the production line, in the right color, left-hand drive and with white leather interior. It was aesthetically identical to the damaged one and we decided to use it for the film. The only thing worrying us was the elegant white leather seats, given that car had to get back to Sant’Agata in perfect condition. So, I asked for them to be taken out, replacing them with a set of black leather seats that we used for testing. The giveaway was the headrests, which on the Miura are attached to the dividing glass between the driver compartment and the engine compartment, and which couldn’t be replaced in time. In the film, you can see the original white headrests.”
Polo Storico is a relatively new department at Lamborghini dedicated to preserving the heritage of its cars and thanks to a vast collection of company archives and access to current and past employees such as Moruzzi, has finally been able to verify this car’s identity with certainty. The contributions of other enthusiasts over the years should not be underestimated though, especially the in-depth work carried out by UK-based Cheshire Classic Cars when they acquired this very car back in 2013, a year before Polo Storico was founded. Their comprehensive research led them to the same conclusion, and it is heartening to see their findings officially confirmed by Lamborghini themselves.
Images courtesy of Lamborghini