Nowadays supercars arenâ€™t nearly as exotic as they used to be. Oh, theyâ€™re more powerful than ever, extremely sophisticated, and ridiculously fast. Theyâ€™re just not quite as rare or specialâ€“as truly exotic--as they used to be.Â
Nearly ever major automaker has at least one supercar in the family, or at least an Ã¼ber-sportscar with enough potency to make the claim. Porsche, Ford, Mercedes, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Pagani, Ascari, TVR, Noble, Koenigsegg, and many more, have either a supercar or quasi-supercar somewhere in the family tree.
Thatâ€™s not a bad thing, but the sheer number of supercars, combined with their increasing civility, has robbed them of some of the novelty that once made them special. For me, at least, the debut of yet another swoopy 200-mph supercar doesnâ€™t pop the eyes as it once did, and the electricity and sense of danger supercars used to provide has mostly subsided.
It wasnâ€™t always thus. Before 1966, performance cars largely fell into three campsâ€“muscular but floaty American cars; agile but gutless British sports cars; or fast, comfortable, and bulky grand tourers.
Then Lamborghini unveiled the Miura. The technical specifications boggled the mind and even today deserve a respectful pauseâ€“a mid-engined dual-overhead-cam V-12 pumping out a stratospheric 450 horsepower, powering a car underpinned by fully independent suspension with four-wheel discs.
That hardware left behind the Ferrari GTO, probably the closest thing to an exotic supercar at the time, and would serve as the underpinnings of likely the best-known exoticar of all time and the Miuraâ€™s successor, the Lamborghini Countach.
A supercar needs more than just machinery to be worthy of the name, thoughâ€“the Miura established the supercar class with its sheer presence and charisma. The Bertone-penned Miura is long, low, and threatening, with a fierce beauty that broadcast its status as a feral predator of the road. The Miura is still beautiful todayâ€“its finely sculpted flanks and raw muscularity stand out even more dramatically among modern cars.
With its exotic specification and brutally beautiful looks, the Miura affects the viewer in primal, instinctive ways and adds electricity to any room.
Now thatâ€™s a supercar.
According to the excellent Lamborghini Registry, the breathtaking Miura SV shown here is a 1971 model formerly owned by the Shah of Iranâ€“check out the fascinating back story here. Itâ€™s hard to believe, but this Miura SV is still wearing its original Pirelli tires.