The Lamborghini Miura is considered to be the forefather of the modern supercar. It pioneered the mid-engine layout that other supercar makers use to this day. This alone makes the vehicle a sought-after item by wealthy car collectors. Only 763 examples were ever built, and owning one today is considered a feat in itself. But not all Miuras were created equal, and the vehicle you see here is possibly one of the most precious Lamborghinis in existence.
It’s called the Miura SVJ, and it traces its roots to a one-off vehicle called the Jota. There are several stories about how this car came to exist, but the most popular one is that the Jota was an unofficial test bed for technologies that would be used for racing. Some of its features included the deletion of the Miura’s signature eyelashes for the headlights, and the use of aircraft-grade metal for the body (which was riveted instead of welded).
Legend has it that the Jota’s V12 engine produced around 418hp (the standard Miura had 345hp), and that the car’s top speed was just under 300km/h. However, the Jota would live a very short life as it was involved in a high-speed accident during its delivery to a VIP customer in 1971.
But apparently, all was not lost as some Miura SVs would eventually be converted to Jota lookalikes. These cars would be called SVJs. However, this designation was never made official as the chassis that were brought into the Lamborghini factory for the makeover were only accompanied by a memo that had “Tipo Jota” (Type Jota) written on it.
Aside from the riveted bodywork, Miura SVJs would get extensive engine modifications such as a balanced crankshaft, polished connecting rods, enlarged inlet ports, and a less-restrictive exhaust system. Other upgrades include a lowered suspension with revised anti-roll-bar settings, additional vents for the engine, and a stripped-down interior featuring racing harnesses and a fire extinguisher.
Because the SVJ Miuras were uncatalogued, keeping track of chassis with authentic conversions has become pretty challenging. But most experts agree on just three cars ever being made. The first one was built for the Shah of Iran (when the country was still friends with the West). The second car went to a Haitian hotelier. And completing the trio is the vehicle you see here, which was owned by a French property developer.
The car has changed hands several times, and was repainted into gray at one point in its life. A massive restoration project in 2012 brought this Miura back to its original specifications, with the odometer currently reading just 19,582km. Currently listed for sale by Swiss classic-car dealer Kidston, the SVJ is said to be on equal footing in desirability with the Ferrari 250 GTO. And with GTOs fetching $50 million (P2.51 billion) these days, it’s safe to say that this Miura will sell for around the same price.