The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight

  • 28 October 2023
  • 2 min read
  • 5 images
The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight image

Photo credit: Coys, Lamborghini, Osenat, RM Sotheby’s

Much like a tale by Jack London, famous for his stories of gold prospectors, the world of automobiles also has discoveries worthy of the plot of a good book. Today's leading character is the Lamborghini Miura, an automotive legend since its presentation at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show.

Over the years, numerous finds have been made in various parts of the world, from the United States to Central Europe and even Greece. Take, for instance, the brown Miura P400 S found in 2012 in the car park of Hilton Hotel in Athens, which was about to undergo renovation. Abandoned for 40 years, it was later discovered that the car had been a gift to the driver and singer Kokotas from the Greek magnate Onassis. Forgotten? Unwanted? We may never know. It was sold by Coys auction house in December 2012 for €312,000. A bargain.

The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight - 1The brown Miura P400 S abandoned for 40 years in Greece, a gift to the driver and singer Kokotas from the Greek magnate Onassis.

But the tale doesn't end in Athens. Journeying westward, another P400 S emerged from Germany's Black Forest. This time it was yellow, in pristine original condition with just 29,000 km on the clock and had been jealously guarded by an amateur driver until his passing in 2015. Sold four years later by RM Sotheby's in London, it fetched just over €1.4 million, giving a measure of what it means to own a Miura.

The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight - 2Sold for over €1.4 million, this yellow Miura P400 S was found in original condition in Germany.

Our search for more Miuras then takes us to France, where we encounter collector Henry Ruggieri. His red P400 has been untouched since 1996. Similarly, in the United States, another P400 – once owned by an electronics engineer – has been stationary since the late '80s. Both are curious cases of forgotten treasures awaiting restoration.

The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight - 3The red Miura P400 found in France sitting idle since 1996 was sold in 2019 for more than €550,000.

The final chapter in our story is more a discovery than a find. It involves the Miura P400 featured in the opening scene of the film The Italian Job. While never abandoned or concealed, there was no concrete evidence of its cinematic role until the new owner, in collaboration with Lamborghini's Polo Storico, unearthed a document confirming its star-studded history. This is undoubtedly one of the most significant Miura discoveries to date.

The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight - 4Not a real barn find but a discovery: chassis #3586 has been certified by the Polo Storico Lamborghini as the featured car in The Italian Job.

But it doesn't end there. Believe it or not, in 2016, the rear section of a Miura P400 S from Gérard Gombert's collection was sold for €150,000. If it were to be restored, it would certainly be a risky undertaking.

The mystery of barn finds: a Miura bullfight - 5Incredible but true, the rear of this Lamborghini P400 S was sold for €150,000.

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