Like seemingly every other high end car maker in the known universe, Lamborghini has gotten into the factory restoration business. They call it Lamborghini Polo Storico, and no, I have no idea what the Polo is about (I checked and it has nothing to do with Ralph Lauren). And I’ve got to say, good choice of cars to start with Lamborghini: A Miura SVR.
Lambo’s Miura needs no introduction for you cognoscenti out there. The Miura, named after a famous breeder of Spanish fighting bulls (indeed, it was a Miura, Isolero, that gored and killed the great Manolete in 1947); the “normal” ones are interesting enough: transverse mid-engine V12, glorious styling courtesy of Gandini, all that kind of stuff. Then Ferruccio tweaked it a little, and made the Miura P400, then the P400 S, then the P400 SV, the SV Jota (which should have been the final version) and at the top of the hill, performance and rarity-wise, the P400 SVR.
This particular Miura, chassis number 3781, engine number 2511, and body number 383, started out as an S version and was originally painted in Verde Miura with black interior, or green over black. It was originally delivered to the Lamborauto dealership in Turin, on November 30th 1968, after being displayed at the 50th Turin Motor Show. After changing hands a staggering eight times by 1974, it was bought by a German guy, Heinz Straber. Straber took it back to Sant’Agata to have it converted into an SVR race car.
This job was turned around after a rocket-fast 18 months of work (18!!).
Then the ownership trail got seriously odd. In 1976, the car was sold to a Japanese fella by the name of Hiromitsu Ito, who took it home to Japan. Lambo says that, once there, it caused “quite a sensation,” which is an understatement of the first order. The Miura SVR was the inspiration for the Circuit Wolf manga comic book series. The fabled Miura SVR, a race car evolution of the Jota, was developed by Lamborghini test driver Bob Wallace and, after Wallace totaled his Jota in an accident, ceaseless customer demand led Automobili Lamborghini to build a few Miura SVJ models and a single Miura SVR, which turned out to be chassis 3781.
Then 3781, which served as the “model” for the vehicle used in the Circuit Wolf comic book, was used as the reference model for the Kyosho toy version.
Which brings us up to more or less the present day, when Lambo got the thing back, returned to its former splendor by the Polo Storico specialists. Fittingly, it was then exhibited during an event organized in its honor at Nakayama Circuit in Japan.
“The full restoration took 19 months and required a different approach to the way we normally work,” explained Paolo Gabrielli, Director of the Polo Storico and Lamborghini Head of After Sales. “The original production sheet wasn’t of much help, as we relied mostly on the specifications from the 1974 modifications. The challenge for the Polo Storico team was even more daunting as the car arrived in Sant’Agata in pieces, although the parts were all there, and with considerable modifications.”
Handle With Care
Lamborghini Polo Storico, based at the company’s HQ in Sant’Agata Bolognese, is the specialized unit dedicated to the restoration and certification of Lamborghini models that have been out of production for at least 10 years. So it functions as Lambo’s version of Ferrari’s Classiche or Lancia/Abarth’s White Book programs.
Polo Storico will preserve archives and records, and manage the supply of original spare parts for classic cars, which comes as a sigh of relief for Diablo owners looking for fuel injection control computers (seriously, go look it up if you want a good laugh).
Expect to see more spectacularly-restored Lamborghinis emerging from the Polo Storico shops, but I have to say, it will be very hard to top this one.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz