Featured: What It’s Like To Drive A Lamborghini Miura On Rural Italian Roads

What It’s Like To Drive A Lamborghini Miura On Rural Italian Roads

By Ted Gushue
March 2, 2017

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?

Exactly, none.

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.

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Mirko Cocco
Mirko Cocco(@fb_534464734)
4 years ago

Find out about the life and works of Ferruccio Lamborghini by his son and grandson at their family museum and driving the one and only Ferruccio’s Miura https://www.cinecars.nl/en/nato-sotto-il-segno-del-toro/

4 years ago

Brilliantly evocative piece, Mr. Gushue. I’m planning to drive my Aston Martin to the Ferrari factory next year… might that qualify me to drive my favourite car, the Miura at Sant’Agata?

Elena K
Elena K(@elena-k)
4 years ago

In the past, I couldn’t care less about cars made before I was born. Today, it has all changed. There is a lot to love about classic cars, but I won’t be getting into details now.

Glad you got to take this Italian supercar for a ride. Jealous even. Those 200kph on an Italian cattle path must have felt exhilarating. Miura is a car made for driving! And definitely, the one that eagerly lends itself to the flights of fancy.

P.S. Is it that exact same Miura that participated in the rally around Italy to commemorate its 50th birthday?

Al Cortina
Al Cortina
4 years ago

My father & I looked at a Miura back in the early/mid seventies that a local Chevy dealer had for sale..They wanted around$14,000.00 at the time..I remember it being Orange or red with gold wheels..I wasn’t even a teenager yet but, it is still a recent memory to me 40 +years later. Dad didn’t buy it since he had purchased a 74′ Dino Spyder right around the same time (Another great car)..I sat in it for a moment and knew this was a great car…I’ll never forget that day, especially since dad is gone now…..& YES, I’m jealous that your driving a yellow Miura in Italy

James Boniface
James Boniface(@jeboniface)
4 years ago

We had an early Miura in our family collection in the 80’s. I was in college and spent the summers at home working on and driving all matter of 60’s and 70′ Italian cars. Ferraris, Alfas, Lancias, Maseratis and Fiats. The Miura was a beast. At first I didn’t like it, absolute crude compared to, say a 275 GTB or Dayatona. But once I understood how it needed to be drive, it was one of my favorites. I describe the needed attitude as “brute finesse”. The massive gated shifter had to be muscled with precision. The car, when driven aggressively, came to life. Unfortunately I could only do that for about 30 minutes before exhaustion set in! What fun.

Dieut et mon Droit
Dieut et mon Droit(@dieut-et-mon-droit)
4 years ago

I can’t help wishing for Davide Cironi being on the drive and commentary and Ted on the cold-cuts..

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer(@jack-straw)
4 years ago

Mr. Gushue,,
OK, a bright giallo Miura in Italy????????????
You’re an easy guy to hate, ‘cept you have so much fun. FORZA LAMBO.

Ted Gushue
Ted Gushue(@tedgushue)
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill Meyer

Haha thanks Bill!!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
4 years ago

Funny in light of the fact that all bets are my driving skills [ and experience ] somewhat surpass yours good sir that my experiences with the Miura have been the polar opposite of yours . In all honesty as much an icon as the car is and as much as I adore the design aesthetics driving the damn things is comparable to manhandling an over powered under weight truck with barely a touch more
handling . Not to mention the damn things are flat out dangerous . More so the more skill you have cause you’ll be more tempted to take the thing right into the steely grasp of the Sausage Creature . The fact is the only classic icon I’ve found more disappointing than the Miura to date has been the ubiquitous 911 RS .

Suffice it to say the Miura is one of the few classic cars I’d say is better left in a collection never to be driven again . Ciao …

4 years ago

It’d be pretty funny if the article just said:
Not sure that’d break the minimum character limit, though…

Robert Fyles
Robert Fyles(@robert_fyles)
4 years ago

A classic piece of writing. Thank you very much. I live my life vicariously through these fine articles…… then I go out and thrash the shit out of my VW CC.

Ted Gushue
Ted Gushue(@tedgushue)
4 years ago
Reply to  Robert Fyles

My pleasure Robert!

Charles Michelet
Charles Michelet(@cmichelet)
4 years ago

You bastard. You lucky, lucky bastard. Well done.

4 years ago

Fabulously entertaining piece of writing! Desire, thy name is Miura.

4 years ago

I have zero experience driving anything exotic, and very little that’s even particularly exciting. The author totally nailed what I imagine the experience would be like. Kudos.