For car fans, it’s hard to beat the opening of The Italian Job (the original, 1969 version, that is) for scintillating cinematography. A fleet of Minis may have had more screen time, but an orange Lamborghini Miura P400 roaring across the Great St. Bernard Pass is one of the most iconic combinations of car and location ever. The car appears to meet an unfortunate end in the movie, but it survived filming and has been rediscovered by Lamborghini.
On screen, the orange Miura takes a one-way trip off the side of a mountain. But the car used for the crash scene was actually a second Miura provided to Paramount Pictures by Lamborghini. That car had already been crashed, so it wasn’t as big a deal as it would have been to destroy a pristine Miura. Unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the Miura pioneered the mid-engined layout still used by today’s Lamborghini Huracán and Aventador, as well as numerous rivals. That allowed designers to go wild with the styling, creating a car that was head turning in the ’60s and still ranks as one of Lamborghini’s greatest hits.
The Italian Job movie car — serial number 3586 — fell off the radar after filming was completed. It eventually ended up in the Kaiser Collection of Vaduz in Lichtenstein, which reached out to Lamborghini to confirm that the orange Miura was in fact the one used in the movie. Polo Storico, the Lamborghini unit responsible for restoring old cars and managing the company’s archives, was charged with unraveling the mystery.
Polo Storico consulted documents in the company archives and talked with former employees. One of those employees was Enzo Moruzzi, who delivered the Miura to the set and drove it in all shots as a stunt double for actor Rossano Brazzi. Moruzzi even remembered asking the factory to swap out the white leather seats for black ones, because he was concerned they would be ruined during filming. There wasn’t enough time to swap out the headrests, though, so the car appeared in the movie with mismatched upholstery. After filming, the Miura was sold to an Italian customer, making its way through various owners before being purchased by its current owner in 2018.
This Lamborghini Miura isn’t the only famous movie car to emerge from hiding recently. The Ford Mustang from Bullitt reemerged in 2018 thanks to a coordinated effort by the car’s owner and Ford. An original Aston Martin DB5 from the James Bond film Goldfinger is also thought to have been located, and Aston is building 25 new versions in the meantime.
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