On the occasion of the Shah's car collection on display in Iran, we thought we'd take a look at one of the old, dead dic's faves, which is also one of ours: his 1971 Lamborghini Miura SVJ.
The mid-engine Miura s curvaceously sexy geometry virtually leapt from the sketchpad of 25-year-old Bertone designer Marcello Gandini in 1967. Even standing still, the Miura had the look of an Italian Vogue model reclining on the Adriatic coast. Its magnificently intricate 4.0-liter V12, created by master engine builder Giotto Bizzarini, was said to sing arias under hard acceleration as it cranked out between 350 and 370hp. The Miura remained Lamborghini's ultimate supercar until 1972, when the wedge-shaped Countach became the bellwether for a more antiseptic style era.
The Shah's 1971 Lamborghini Miura SVJ
In around 1970, a single super high-performance version of the Miura, called the Jota (the "J" in SVJ), was built by Lamborghini engineer Bob Wallace as a test bed for technologies that would eventually show up on the Countach. The original Jota was sold to a dealer, who wrecked it, effectively sending the Jota to extinction. But after several influential customers requested Jota-spec models, the company relented. One of those included a 1971 version that belonged to the Shah of Iran. The Shah's SVJ, smuggled out of the country after the 1979 revolution, was purchased for $500,000 by actor Nicholas Cage. Cage sold to a collector in the UK for an undisclosed sum in 2004.
The Lamborghini Miura SVJ and customized Miuras [Lamborghini Cars]
Lamborghini Miura [Web Cars]
Cars We Love: 1970 Maserati Ghibli Spyder [internal]