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The Roundabout Blog

Top-off one-off: the Lamborghini Miura Roadster

About the author

After careers as a classroom teacher, preschool director and fiction writing professor, Brett now writes about the two subjects on which people are least interested in receiving advice from a childless gay man: kids and cars. Visit him at brettberk.com or follow him on Twitter at @StickShift_VF.

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The Lamborghini Miura is an automobile that inspires obsession.

If you have ever seen one, you understand. Mid-engined road cars are inherently well balanced physically, but they often suffer from awkward, flounder-like proportions: a plucky but stunted head, backed by a wide, flattened-out body. Not so for the Miura, which somehow disguises its everything-in-the-middle powertrain with an improbably long hood, an impossibly low stance and a delicately tapered deck. Also, unreasonable beauty.

Cognoscenti argue over which series in the model’s six-year, 764-car run — the various S-, V- and J-suffixed iterations — are most ideal: those with or without the delicate headlamp eyelashes, with more or fewer creature comforts, with thicker or thinner steel body panels, or with more or less power churning from the 3.9-litre V12. But despite their kit-car build quality, irredeemable ergonomics and irritating tendency to catch fire, a connoisseur would not deflect their advances.

Yet in the pantheon of Miura beauty and rarity, the genuinely obsessed would be likeliest to choose the Miura Roadster. A one-of-one show car designed, built and factory-sanctioned by the coachbuilder Stile Bertone for the 1968 Brussels auto show, the Miura Roadster is gorgeous, if something of a misnomer — it’s kind of a targa, right?

Featuring a go-go-boot white leather interior, a subtly bespoilered rear deck and revamped air intakes high in the pelvis, the car is finished in thick-flake metallic aquamarine that would not look out of place on the world’s largest March birthstone ring – which is fitting, because the car made an appearance this past gorgeous March weekend at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance as part of Lamborghini’s ongoing 50th birthday celebration.

During a walk-around of the vehicle, Michael Lock, a Lamborghini of America executive, described the car as the manifestation of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini’s personal obsession with not only making the best sports car in the world, but with achieving the automotive holy grail of creating a mid-engined, V12-powered car with an open top. “This was as good as it gets,” Lock said. “The nirvana of motoring.” 

Sadly, the car never saw production – or, maybe not so sadly. “Everybody knows that when you make a convertible, you make a pact with the devil,” Lock said. “If you put a great big, heavy, powerful engine in the middle of the car, and you take an integral part of the chassis away, then you create a bit of a nightmare.” Lock gestured at the gorgeous blue chimera. “This was a powerful car, with” – he paused, considering his words before continuing – “probably a somewhat flexible chassis.”

This was as good as it gets — the nirvana of motoring. — Michael Lock, Lamborghini