It has to be one of the most iconic opening sequences of any film. The sight of a beautiful, orange Lamborghini Miura driving through the stunning landscape of the Alps – the Great St Bernard Pass to be precise – with panache, the driver flicking through the gears, that glorious V12 simply sublime among the mountains at the start of the crime caper ‘The Italian Job’ is etched in memory of many of us supercar fans.
The film may be remembered primarily for the amazing car chase with three Mini Coopers, and the cleverly concocted cliff-hanger ending – a quite literal one – but for lovers of supercars, it’s those opening scenes that are the memorable scenes from the 1969 movie. Especially the heart-breaking moment when the Miura meets a fiery end in a collision with a bulldozer!
Two Miura’s Used
Historians took some time to come up with the refreshing and welcome news that, in fact, no Miura was actually destroyed during filming of The Italian Job. The orange car seen driving is chassis #3586, and has recently been certified as such by Lamborghini Polo Storico – the historic department of the company – as such, following a painstaking and lengthy investigation into the history and provenance of the car.
How can this be? Quite simply, the film’s producers had already sourced an already-crashed Miura from the factory – in the same colour – to push off the mountain in those dramatic scenes. They then sourced an identical car from the production line for the driving scenes.
Lamborghini employee and driver Enzo Moruzzi – who also acted as the stunt driver for those opening scenes – explains:
“There was a Miura P400 almost ready on the production line, in the right colour, left-hand drive and with white leather interior. It was aesthetically identical to the damaged one and we decided to use it for the film. The only thing worrying us was the elegant white leather seats, given that car had to get back to Sant’Agata in perfect condition. So, I asked for them to be taken out, replacing them with a set of black leather seats that we used for testing. The giveaway was the headrests, which on the Miura are attached to the dividing glass between the driver compartment and the engine compartment, which couldn’t be replaced in time. In the film, you can see the original white headrests.”
The identity of the car used for filming has long been disputed and discussed by enthusiasts, so current owners of #3586 – the Liechtenstein based ‘Kaiser Collection’ put together in the capital, Vaduz, by renowned collector Fritz Kaiser – decided the time was right to get official documentation that the car in question was indeed the movie star.
The investigation involved a thorough examination of the car itself and factory documentation, plus talking to employees and others from the era – including Moruzzi, who drove the car to the set – to determine the exact history of the chassis, and the final conclusion was that this is indeed the car used in ‘The Italian Job’.
You can expect to see the movie on a screen near you at some point, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of what is one of the best films of its genre, but meanwhile, supercar lovers can rest assured that the Lamborghini Miura seen in all its glory still survives, in its original colour, and is as beautiful as ever.