Tragedy put an end to Bob Wallace's idea of a P400 Jota, but its legacy lives on through recreations like this
By Cam Tait / Sunday, 6 November 2022 / Loading comments
Ferruccio Lamborghini hated racing. We’re all familiar with how the company came to be – or how legend records it at least – Ferruccio vowing to produce better road cars than those built by Enzo Ferrari who, in complete contrast to Lamborghini, was far more invested in motorsport. It’s an ethos the raging bull (mostly) stuck to until the formation of the factory-backed Squadra Corse outfit a little over a decade ago.
Though it dabbled in (mostly failed) attempts to establish itself as a motorsport entity after the passing of its founder in 1993, Lamborghini’s interest in motor racing can be traced all the way back to the Miura. In 1970, the company’s development driver, Bob Wallace, had been working on a project in his spare time that would make the Miura eligible for the FIA’s appendix J ruleset. Despite Ferruccio Lamborghini’s lack of interest. Wallace was given a fresh chassis, engine and use of the company’s tools – all for free – provided he worked on the project in his spare time. Lucky sod.
Called the Jota, it was wider, lighter and produced considerably more power than the ‘regular’ Miuras of the day, and would serve as the blueprint for all track-focused special editions ever since. Only Lamborghini never put the Jota into production, selling off the sole example to a private buyer before it was written off in spectacular fashion on a stretch of closed autostrada. Rather than build another Jota, Lamborghini instead created a run of six SV/J cars that, while racy, weren’t nearly as brutal as the car they paid homage to.
However, over the years, some exceptionally brave Miura owners have converted their frighteningly expensive supercars to Jota spec with the help of Lamborghini specialists, which is exactly what the previous owner of this Miura has done. Exported to Japan as a Miura S in 1969, the car then had its engine ripped out a couple of decades later and replaced with an SV motor, which, according to the ad, was the first of its kind. Power increased to 385hp – up by 15hp over the S – courtesy of tweaks to the cam timing and upgraded Weber carburettors. The heavy work came in 2013, when local specialists converted the car to Jota specification, fully restoring the car along the way for good measure.
Jota cars pop up now and again, with some sticking closely to the source material with giant air dams at the front and a small wing above the engine cover. This car, though, is a tad more subtle. The only differences over the Miura S are the fixed headlights, blistered arches at the rear, quad-exhaust layout, deletion of the bonnet vents and wheel design. The interior gives it away, however, with the centre console, leather lining and carpeting gone, exposing the bare metal casing around the gear lever. And, because it’s ultimately mimicking a prototype, the dash is made up of a bunch of dials and a large kill switch.
That long shopping list cost the previous owner £365,000 – or the price of a modern-day Aventador SVJ. Still, that’s chump change when you’ll need to fork out many millions just to get hold of a boggo version. That brings us neatly onto the price of the thing. It doesn’t have one. Well, it’s listed as POA, but given the rarity of the thing, we’ll let it slide. It takes a brave soul to mess with a priceless supercar, but if it weren’t for people like this the Jota would have been lost to history – or else be reimagined as a dodgy Aventador-based special edition…
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