What It’s Like To Drive A Lamborghini Miura On Rural Italian Roads
Photography by Ted Gushue
How many of you can look yourself in the mirror and honestly say that you wouldn’t happily go out in a blaze of fire in a tunnel somewhere in the Italian Alps after your Miura met with a massive tractor?
There is no better way to die in my book, though of course the preferable alternative is that we get to keep on driving our low-slung V12 back to basecamp to pick up Twiggy and hit the casino. The fictionalized world of Miura ownership has allowed gearheads for generations to bask in the glory of what might one day be if they were ever to get behind the wheel of the Italian masterpiece. Personally, I fully expected to never once find myself in that position, notching my middle and ring finger into the pistol grip indentations of the leather-wrapped gearshift.
‘Til one day very recently when I did.
Parked in front of Automobili Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese was a stunning yellow SV that I assumed was to stay static for the day. The car was an all-original factory-kept example, and it looked to be going 200kph standing still. I was visiting the museum for the launch of PoloStorico, Lamborghini’s long-awaited historic center dedicated to keeping the legends alive. The day was packed to the gills with classic Bertone designs, red wine, and exceptionally hearty Bolognese cuisine.
Coming out of lunch in a cheese and cured meat stupor, I reached a point of divine bliss in my day. I was full, I was happy, and I was in Italy—nothing could possibly get better. That was until my Italian chaperones looked at me and my Prosciutto-stuffed cheeks and explained that now I was to drive the Miura.
Right, good one guys.
“Si! You drive!!”
Walking outside of the factory I found the very same SV from before being warmed up by a burly Italian man with a beaming grin on his face: “Isa thees-a your first time driving the Miiiuuuura?” he practically sang to me as he opened the door.
Of course it was my first time, and who in their right mind would ever let me drive their Miura SV, in any state, let alone after a massive Italian lunch. Oh, right, Lamborghini would.
Slipping my stupidly-lucky ass into the almost ground-level seat, I was immediately overcome by what I can only describe as the Miura placebo effect. No matter what could possibly come after, no matter how terrible the drive might be, no matter how difficult the seemingly synchro-less second gear would prove to be, I was in heaven. In my mind, in that moment, I was there.
Then I started it.
The large Italian man looked me in the eye from the front of the hood and kept making a stomping motion accompanied by explosion sign language, which I have now learned is the official Italian for “Rev the shit out of it.” And so I did, immediately summoning a symphony of twelve transversely-mounted demonic angels. He kept making explosion signs with his hands, which made sense considering the Miura has absolutely no interest in idling when even remotely cold.
I can’t overstate the sheer presence you feel inside the car. In terms of driving position, the seat would qualify as “Lay-Flat” on most airlines, and for all the visibility you get over the carburetors through the searingly hot rear window they might as well plaster it over with a Campari advertisement. It is, inside and out, Italian machismo defined.
Clicking into first gear felt like navigating a paintbrush through quickly drying cement. The gate guiding the shifter had the look of a metallic monster eager to remove my hand. It is, and I imagine always will be for anyone, an entirely intimidating car to roll out of a car park. Primarily because everyone and their brother has walked over from a quarter-mile away to digitally document you stalling it on the first go. Naturally, I obliged them.
Out onto open country roads however, the car came alive. Not in a “Wow this is a high performance machine that’s really dialed in” sort of way, but more of an Italian playboy on the third day of a supermodel bender in Ibiza sort of way: which is to say, completely unhinged. There’s roughly a half-second delay in the throttle response, which causes a bit of alarm when you find yourself coming up quick on a hay-bale-filled tractor trailer—no matter though, because you can just shift down into second to shave a bit of speed off… Oh wait! second doesn’t really have much of a synchro, and now you’re rev-matching a multimillion dollar Miura that belongs to a museum. The whole experience is absolutely mental.
But that’s what makes it great. All I can seem to do when talking about the Miura is speak in metaphor because the experience is really quite unlike any other I’ve had. You’re completely out of control, like a roman candle at a bachelor party. Stupidly dangerous, undeniably fun.
Doing 200kph on an Italian cattle path is like wrestling Brigitte Bardot on top of a speeding train while a Bond villain points a gun at your head. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and yet it is everything that has made Lamborghini what it is today.