THE ONE, TWO PUNCH
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Jan 11, 2006
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
THE ONE, TWO PUNCH
By JOHN GRAFMAN Photos by ZORAN SEGINA
How often does Lamborghini present a new offering? Typically, not often enough. Each and every new product or concept that does make it from drawing board to reality is greeted with enthusiasm, confirming the heart and soul of this sports car company still beats strong. Just one day prior at the LA Auto Show, Lamborghini celebrated the arrival of the new Gallardo Spyder. An unveiling before the automotive media with the entire Lamborghini product lineup and a bevy of beautiful models is a tough act to follow.
Barely more than 24 hours later, Lamborghini pulls the wraps off the rumored Miura Concept for the first time in public. The invitation-only crowd at the Museum of Radio and Television in Beverly Hills is a mix of media and celebrities as well as potential customers. Even with a few well-known stars in attendance, it is clear that nobody will be stealing the limelight tonight from this gleaming concept car.
This really couldn't be better orchestrated. In the heart of Beverly Hills, where exotic automobiles are perhaps just a little less exotic, hundreds pass the corner of Beverly and Santa Monica, catching just a glimpse of various Lamborghinis positioned in front of the museum. On this evening, even the skies cooperate with a climate that feels more akin to summer than January. While Lamborghini might not have been able to coordinate the weather, it did make for a night unlike any other.
After a short emotion-filled speech, the cover was peeled off the slippery car underneath. The museum lobby is filled to the brim with people awash in oohs and aahs. Certainly, this is an exciting moment on the 40th anniversary of the original Miura, which was unveiled to the public back at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966 by Ferruccio Lamborghini and Nuccio Bertone.
To say we are Impressed is an understatement. We watch as even Jay Leno is snapping pictures on his cell phone. Jay has a vast assortment of sports cars, and while one more is not a necessity, you can tell he is taking a liking to this modern interpretation of the original.
The head of design at Lamborghini, Walter de' Silva, has kept faithful to the original purposeful package. Earlier that day at the Design Los Angeles event held at the convention center (in conjunction with the LA Auto Show), Tom Matano, former head of design for Mazda and currently Director of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art, spoke on the importance of being true to the package in producing a good design. His thoughts come to life with the Miura, as the body flows and follows the dimensions established by the layout of a powerful engine, an interior accommodating strictly two, and twenty-inch wheels that would dwarf the originals back in '66. If only Tom had this to point to in his discussion earlier in the day!
Billy Gibbons (of ZZ Top fame) has his own method of establishing what makes a good-looking auto. In discussing this with him, I realize everyone has his or her own criteria. Billy takes a few good walks around the car, soaking up every line and curve carefully. And then he looks at it from a low angle all around the car. With that he can get a handle on if this sinks or swims. It's sort of like everyone's favorite definition of pornography; I know it when I see it. Likewise, Billy knows an exceptional car when he sees it. Judging by his expression, I would say the Miura makes the cut.
I did hear a rumbling regarding the blatant use of the original design. There is no denying it, but that's the charm in this project. If Lamborghini goes ahead with production, one can capture all of the magic of the original car along with all of the possibilities that are only available in modern times. Power management and reliability are just two that jump to mind that can make a modern supercar a joy to own.
Two cars in two days, one is in production and the other is a maybe. Lamborghini isn't pulling any punches. This is clearly a warning to its competition, both from Italy as well as elsewhere that regardless of the condition of its parent company (VW-Audi), this Italian sports car company is not one you'll expect to see on the ropes anytime soon.
For more information go to www.lamborghini.com