In East Asia, Lamborghini’s most recognized model may well be the Miura SVR, a one-off creation built by the factory for a German customer and later imported into Japan. There, it rose to fame starring in the manga (comic) Circuit Wolf, and was later immortalized by model maker Kyosho as a 1:18-scale die-cast. Following a 19-month restoration by Lamborghini Polo Storico, the Miura SVR recently made its re-debut at Japan’s Nakayama Circuit.
The genesis of the Miura SVR was another one-of-one creation, the Miura Jota, created under the guidance of Lamborghini test driver Bob Wallace. Essentially an experiment to create a competitive racing car compliant with FIA Appendix J regulations, the Miura Jota was a lightened and widened Miura, with improved aerodynamics (such as enclosed headlamps, a front air dam and vented bodywork) and a more powerful 4.0-liter V-12 engine. Following its completion and testing by the factory, the project was abandoned and the Miura Jota purchased by a dealer in Turin, Italy. As LamboCars.com relates, while testing the car on the outskirts of the city, a mechanic was involved in a crash, and the Miura Jota was destroyed in the resulting fire.
Intrigued by the Miura Jota’s looks and promise of increased performance, Lamborghini owners petitioned the factory to produce a special variant of the Miura, and the result was the SV/J. A total of six examples were built during the Miura’s production run from 1966 to 1972, including five conversions from existing Miura SVs and a single from-new example.
For German Lamborghini owner Heinz Straber, even a Miura SV/J wouldn’t do. Instead, he petitioned the factory to convert his Miura, chassis #3781, into a one-off creation representing the ultimate track-focused example, perhaps in a nod to the Jota’s original design purpose. His Miura SVR received widened bodywork, including a rear clip broad enough to cover 345/35-R15 tires on lightweight BBS center lock wheels. Brakes were Girling discs, borrowed from the Porsche 917, but perhaps the most notable feature was the massive rear wing, mounted at the front of the rear bodywork instead of on the tail.
Straber’s Miura SVR was completed by the factory in 1976, and shortly after taking delivery, he sold it to Hiromitsu Ito in Japan for a reported $550,000, then a truly remarkable amount of money. Under Ito’s ownership, the car became a pop culture star in his home country, though in December 2015 the Miura SVR was offered for sale by Japanese dealer Bingo Sports World.
Enter Lamborghini Polo Storico, which took on the restoration of the Miura SVR – likely for its new owner – in November 2016. Speaking about the work required, Paolo Gabrielli, Lamborghini’s director of the Polo Storico, said:
The full restoration took 19 months and required a different approach to the way we normally work. 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. The only variations on the original specifications were the addition of 4-point safety belts, more supportive seats and a removable roll bar. These were expressly requested by the customer and are intended to improve safety during the car’s racetrack exhibitions.