Those London firemen must have stopped for a cup of tea before arriving to extinguish the fire.
They only made 764 Miuras between 1968 and 1972. This one was a P400SV, probably made after 1970.
British sports cars were notorious for a wilingness to rust, and for every kind of electrical problem. (Famous joke: “Why do the British drink warm beer? Because Lucas made the refrigerators.”) But members of the exclusive club rich enough to own an Italian exotic car could apparently get with it really exotic issues… like a propensity to catch fire at idle(!).
Lamborghini [Miura]’s use[d] Weber 40 IDL 3C1 carburetors which were designed exclusively for racing applications and weren’t suitable for road use. The problem occurred when the car sat idling (e.g. at a stoplight), the area above the throttles filled with fuel which often ignited when the car accelerated away from the stop.
———————————————————— Peter Orosz was allowed to examine and sit in one at a collectible car company, and he was moved to rhapsodize:
There is a menacing beauty to the Miura up close. The roofline is so low the car would be inadequate to cover the private parts of a man were he to approach it naked. The cute eyelashes of the ventilation ducts surrounding the headlights begin to look like alien claws. As you make your way into the snug cabin, the velocity trumpets of that great engine tower over your head, mere inches away. If not for the thin plate of glass between you and the six carburetors, a blip of the gas pedal would send loose strands of your hair down their throats, ready to combine with gasoline. And burn.
My girlfriend Natalie, described the driving position as “basically perfect”, quite a surprise when you consider the monkey-boy ergonomics of most Italian cars. The cabin is simple yet full of gorgeous detail, a combination of fine materials and charming reminders of low-volume handmade production.
But said perfection combines with much imperfection: The Miura has an annoying tendency to catch on fire at idle. The front end tends to lose traction at speed. And its spotty relationship with reliability is most likely a direct function of being an Italian car, built in a small factory almost half a century ago.
Still, being up close to one makes it more desirable to me than ever. No matter how many times I see a Miura—and I haven’t seen many, and this is the first one I’ve actually sat in—I am always in awe of its impeccable proportions, its wonderful punk history, and its sheer sense of speed and style. Inside, you dream of gently twisting motorways with no speed limits, and no traffic. Of mountain roads and plains and electric blue lakes. Of tunnels to amplify the shriek of that V12. Driving a Miura is one of life’s great petrolhead fantasies. But to enjoy it, you don’t even have to drive. Just climb inside, close your eyes, and dream your merry automotive dreams.
Ettore Bugatti made only six examples of his stupendously large and luxurious type 41 Royale. He originally intended to produce 25 examples for the use of European royalty and Indian maharajahs, but during the first Great Depression even royalty were a bit hard up.
Type 41s are among the rarest of collectible automobiles and there are none currently for sale but, if you actually still have money these days, you have a chance next month at a great Royale memento: a type 41 elephant radiator cap mascot is being sold by L’art et l’automobile auction on December 12th. Bidding starts at $75,000. Take it home and mount it on the bonnet of your Range Rover and you’ll really make an impression. Also, the perfect gift for the rabid Republican.
It was Ettore Bugatti’s most exclusive creation, the Type 41 Royale. From the onset, only 25 examples were ever planned and in the end, only six were ever produced. Using a huge 12.7-Liter, inline eight-cylinder engine rated at 300 hp, everything about the Royale was massive. Each car had a 169.3-inch wheelbase, 24-inch wheels, a weight of more than 7,000 lbs and a price tag that was just as colossal at around $25,000 U.S. dollars in 1929. On top of the base chassis price, each car had a custom-ordered body ranging in price from $5,000 to $18,000 in pre-depression 1929 dollars.
To finish off this grand automobile, the radiator mascot had to be something just as special and just as big. For the crowning touch, Ettore Bugatti turned to the work of his beloved younger brother Rembrandt, a noted and talented artist. The younger Bugatti brother made animals the subject of his art. He was a patron of the city zoo in Antwerp, Belgium, and used many of the animals there as the basis for his works. Sadly, during World War I, many of these exotic creatures had to be killed due to the inability to properly care for the animals in the zoo during the war. The story goes that Rembrandt was so distraught with these actions, he traveled to Paris and committed suicide in 1916.
Ettore Bugatti felt that one of his brother’s most exquisite works was the mighty elephant rising up on its rear legs with his trunk high in the air. This, he felt, would be the finishing touch for his most exclusive automobile, the Type 41 Royale.
Using an original bronze casting from Rembrandt, a very limited run of these mascots were produced. Each was cast in sterling silver by the Charkles Valsuani Foundry in Paris using the “Cire Perdue” (lost wax) method.
Autoblog has one of those stories of government fiscal irresponsibility which will boggle your mind.
Have you ever bought a brand new cars only to forget where you put it? How about 300 of them? Probably not – unless you’re Miami-Dade County, which was recently reunited with 298 vehicles it bought brand new between 2006 and 2007.
The county “discovered” this fleet of no-mileage vehicles after reading about them in a Spanish-language newspaper there (see the source for more images). Most of the misplaced motorcade is made up of Toyota Prius hybrids whose warranties either expired with very few miles on the odo or will very soon.
Looking to save some face, the county has rushed at least 123 of the hybrids into service. The Toyota warranty covered the hybrid bits for eight years or 100,000 miles, but we’re not sure if that covers cars parked for five of those eight. We’re also not sure what that much time in Miami heat and humidity does to an unused hybrid powertrain, but it can’t be good.
Jack Baruth describes how it’s not only the modern population that has become demasculinized. The same thing has happened to great automotive brands, and with the arrival of the Urus, it has happened to Lamborghini, alas!
Sports cars and supercars — yes, we are finally getting to cars — used to be real ass-kickers themselves, you know. Think of a Miura blowing down the autostrada at 170mph when the average Italian car couldn’t break a hundred. Or an early short-wheelbase 911 trying actively to kill its driver on the Stelvio Pass. Or a ’69 big-block ‘Vette snarling down Mulholland. Men’s cars. Driven by the men who ruled the world, who had built the world. And created by those men, too. Ferrari himself, sacrificing drivers like pawns and burning the essence of his life to obtain victory. Ferry Porsche, who had to build and engineer a racecar to ransom the life of his own father. David Brown, earning a fortune and then throwing it away so he could put his own intials on the Aston Martin. Ferrucio Lamborghini, who famously started his company because Enzo showed him a lack of respect (or because he found out how much the markup on Ferrari parts was, depending on which story you believe.) These were real men, building appropriate conveyances for other men of means, courage, and accomplishment.
Those men are all as dead as Caesar now. Their famously fragile businesses, which often held together simply on the faith of their workers that “the old man” would find a way to pay them next week, have been plucked from uncertainty and nestled safely within the bosoms of monstrous corporations or the accidentally oil-rich.
And the cars those men made? They’ve been replaced by products, which are branded and marketed to “high net worth individuals”, our infamous one percent, existing within a safety net of corrupt banks, protective governments, and barriers to entry. The “heritage” those men manufactured on the fly has become a precious resource to be doled out by turtleneck-clad designers timidly riffing on the tracks cut by their betters long ago, like a club DJ spinning Parliament in scratches and squeaks because he never learned to play the bass himself.
Worse yet, the “products” themselves have ceased doing the man’s work of the company. Porsche used to live or die by 911 sales, the same way Lamborghini relied on selling the Countach to keep the doors open. No longer. Today, the Panamera and Cayenne drive the business. They trade on the image of the 911 to move the metal, but the 911 itself has become irrelevant. It’s a trophy wife on the arm of the Panamera. It’s there to make the Pano look good.
Sunday: Dead Ferraris all over the Chugoku Expressway in Shimonoseki, southwestern Japan.
8 Ferraris, a Lamborghini, three Mercedes Benz, and two Toyotas, a total of 14 vehicles bought the farm when one Ferrari driver trying to change lanes lost control, bounced off a barrier, and came spinning back into the middle of a luxury car caravan heading for an enthusiasts’ event in Hiroshima.
No one, besides the automobile insurance company executives seen leaping from high windows, was seriously injured in the accident, but a lot of very expensive metal was seriously bent.
I never thought I’d hear of a longer case of original ownership of a classic automobile, but Curmudgeonly & Skeptical reports on one which puts Alan Clark’s Jag 120 in the shade.
Mr. Allen Swift (Springfield , MA.) received this 1928 Rolls-Royce Picadilly P1 Roadster from his father, brand new – as a graduation gift in 1928. He drove it up until his death last year…..at the age of 102. He was the oldest living owner of a car [bought] new. ...
He donated it to a Springfield museum after his death. It has 170,000 miles on it, still runs like a Swiss watch, dead silent at any speed and is in perfect cosmetic condition. (82 years) That’s approximately 2000 miles per year.
Charles Lane was moved by a bad commuting experience to reflect on the insanity of governmental efforts to promote less efficient and impractical automotive technologies in the name of environmentalism.
Count me among the many thousands of Washington area residents who spent Wednesday night stuck in traffic as a snowstorm sowed chaos all around us. Being car-bound in sub-freezing weather for six hours can make a guy think. I counted my blessings. The situation could have been worse, I realized: My fellow commuters and I could have been trying to make it home in electric cars, like the ones President Obama is constantly promoting, most recently in his State of the Union address. ...
This subsidized market niche is just one well-publicized malfunction away from disaster. Perhaps a Volt battery will overheat and burst into flames, as some computer batteries have been known to do. Or maybe a Leaf driver will suffer frostbite while stuck in the next blizzard. Let’s just hope one of his neighbors pulls over to help him out.
Modern efforts by government to promote the use and adoption of inefficient and uneconomic technologies by cash subsidies in pursuit of newer, tidier means of doing things we can do perfectly well and much more cheaply already resemble the obsessive efforts of pre-modern European princes to create gold by funding alchemical experiments. Throwing money in the direction of superstition does not actually create new industries and technologies. It just wastes money.
UPI reports that another great European nanny state measure is on the way.
[S]tart-stop systems that turn off a car when it is idling and reignite the engine when the driver releases the brake will be coming to the United States and Canada in the next five years, The Detroit News reported.
The technology is widespread in Europe and will be embraced in North America as a tool to meet increasingly stringent fuel-economy and emissions requirements, auto experts say.
“Engineers kill for one-tenth of a mile per gallon,” Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting Inc. said. “In city driving, it would make a huge impact.”
Estimates vary, but the consensus is shutting off the engine at a stop can improve fuel economy as much as 15 percent.
Consumer acceptance could be a challenge.
“It is a strange sensation because the engine suddenly turns off,” said analyst Stephanie Brinley of EMC Strategic Communications in Troy, Mich. “It is quick and seamless, but you can tell it happens.”
Half of the new cars in Europe will have start-stop technology in 2012, and North America will reach that figure in 2016, said Frank Frister, product manager with Bosch North America, one of the companies developing stop-start systems.
There you’ll be stopped at the light, and in front of you will be one of those holier-than-thous who has taken care to equip himself with the latest earth-saving technology.
The light changes, the complex electronic system stutters, and the democrat in the Prius fiddles with his ignition trying to get his engine restarted as seconds tick by and your blood pressure rises.
Next year, if you have somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 to spend on your next car, Mercedes will be importing to the United States the spiritual successor to the legendary 1950s 300SL. It will even have gull-wing doors, and just watch what it can do.