Tag Archives: Sinatra

After Hours Bull – Lamborghini Muira S

Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace put in the hours to develop the mid engined P400 chassis that would form the basis of the Lamborghini Muira on after hours because Ferruccio Lamborghini had expressed his preference for considerably more sedate front engined GT cars his company had started manufacturing in 1963.

01 Lamborghini Miura S 6267sc

The bare prototype P400 chassis with it’s transverse V12 engine and gearbox mounted ahead of the rear wheels received a stellar reception at the 1965 Turin Motor Show and Ferruccio Lamborghini saw the value of allowing the vehicle to be developed as nothing more than a potential marketing tool.

02 Lamborghini Miura S 1415sc

By the 1966 Geneva Motor Show Marcello Gandini at Bertone had just completed the sleek lined body that marked the P400 out as an icon of it’s time, to my eye’s it is the kind of shape the Ford GT and later GT40 might have become, had it been built in Italy rather than Slough under the influence of Dearborn. Notably the P400’s body had been finalised so late that it appeared in Geneva with ballast in place of the engine, as no one was sure the engine would fit under the super slim body.

03 Lamborghini Miura S 6268sc

The P400 was ready for sale later in 1966 and 275 of the original 375 hp versions were made up until 1969.

04 Lamborghini Miura S 6269sc

In November 1968 a second type P400S also known as the Miura S was launched featuring 20 hp more and a variety of external and internal trim differences including chrome trim, electric windows, new rocker control switches and small improvements to the luggage capacity.

05 Lamborghini Miura S 6270sc

Muira S owners included Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis, the jazz legend crashed his under the influence of cocaine which resulted in him breaking both his ankles in 1972, coincidentally the year the last of the 762 Muira’s of all types was built.

06 Lamborghini Miura S 6265sc

The 1969 film The Italian Job depicts a Muira being driven at high speed into a dark tunnel inside which a Mafioso operated front end loader was waiting to catch the car and occupant which was then unceremoniously dumped down a ravine.

07 Lamborghini Miura S 6266sc

Today’s featured car, seen at Auto Italia Brooklands last year, was built as a white P400, seen in this link with singer Sandie Shaw, but converted to an Apple Green Muira S spec for the owner Justin de Villenueve who turns out to be model Twiggy’s manager Nigel Davis.

08 Lamborghini Miura S 6264sc

Later on the car is said to have belonged to one Bernard Charles Ecclestone of Formula One fame. In 1990 the center of the car was badly damaged by fire while the car was disassembled. The whole lot was returned to Saint Agata and returned to factory specifications. The current owners family bought the car in 2000 and he says that while it is not the easiest vehicle in the world to drive for someone of his stature the “vista ahead is to die for.”

Thanks for joining me on this “After Hours Bull” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to Gordano Services on the M5 for a little competitive classic motorsport. Don’t forget to come back now !


Luxury Elegant Loss Leader – Continental Mark II

Continental was designed to be a stand alone luxury and elegance brand from Lincoln to compete with GM’s Cadillac and Chrysler’s Imperial Brands that would build on the success of the 1940’s Lincoln Continental.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

Having considered and rejected the idea of employing an outside team to design such an important vehicle Ford designated a team from it’s own special products division comprising chief stylist John Reinhart, chief body engineer Gordon Buehrig assisted by Robert McGuffery Thomas and chief engineer Harley Copp to design the Continental Mark II in late 1952.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

Ford had hoped to build the car using unibody / monocoque construction but Copp is credited with rejecting the idea on grounds of tooling costs for what was always intended to be a low volume hand built vehicle, and so the car was built with separate chassis and body.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

For a car that was launched in 1956 there is a remarkable absence of chrome work giving it, size not withstanding, a refined European look. Power came from a factory blueprinted (hand made from closest to specification hand picked parts), 6 litre / 368 cui Lincoln V8 that was tuned to give 300 hp.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

The likes of Continental owners Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Shah of Iran had only one option choice to make, wether or not to have the US$595 factory fitted air conditioning or not. Elizabeth Taylor was given a Continental Mark II by Warner Brothers that was specially painted to match the colour of her eyes.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

Priced at US$ 10,000 in 1956 the Continental cost the same as a contemporary Rolls Royce or two Cadillacs, until the arrival of the US$ 13,074 Cadillac Eldordo Brougham in 1957. Surprisingly Ford reckoned they were loosing US$ 1,000 on each Continental Mark II built.

Continental Mark II, Desert Classic C d'E, Palm Springs

Between late 1955 and 1957 around 3000 Continental Mark IIs were built at the end of the production run the Continental brand was reabsorbed into the Lincoln brand and the name hence forth continued as a Lincoln model name.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for the photographs of today’s featured 1956 model seen earlier this years at the Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance at Palm Springs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Luxury Elegant Loss Leader” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


E Day – Ford Edsel

With a surplus cash from the success of the Ford Thunderbird Ford executives decided to create a new intermediate line of vehicles to compete with Oldsmobile which included a network of over 1,000 dealers through which the new brand was to be distributed. Fifty five years ago today amidst much fan fare Ford launched it’s new baby to an unsuspecting American public with much fan fare which included labeling September 4th 1957 “E Day”.

Edsel Ranger, Goodwood Revival

Fifty years after the event Time said of the Edsel “Ford’s marketing mavens had led the public to expect some plutonium-powered, pancake-making wondercar; what they got was a Mercury.” More unkindly some described the Edsel as looking like an Olds sucking a lemon.

Edsel Ranger, Goodwood Revival

To get sales of the vehicle “unlike any other car you have ever seen” underway Ford on October 13th organised a television special live from Television City in Hollywood “The Edsel Show” which combined the talents of Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Rosemary Clooney to “pump” it’s target market. Highlights included Frank Sinatra smoking a cigarette standing next to Louis Armstrong while performing a “number”.

Edsel Ranger, Goodwood Revival

For 1958 model year the Edsel was available in four flavours Citation and Corsair based on a Mercury platform, with the smaller Pacer and Ranger based on a Ford 118 inch platform. Today’s featured base model Ranger is powered by a 5.9 litre / 361 cui 303hp FE V8 which could be ordered with Teletouch automatic transmission operated by button’s on the hub of the steering wheel.

Edsel Ranger, Goodwood Revival

Ford needed to sell 200,000 Edsels to break even on it’s $400,000,000 dollar investment in the new range, despite the second largest brand launch, exceeded only by Plymouth in 1928, to date with over 60,000 sales in the 1958 model year it quickly became apparent that the Edsel concept was struggling to fly.

Edsel Ranger, Goodwood Revival

In November 1959 with just over 120,000 models built Ford pulled the plug on the Edsel. Among the many reasons for it’s failure was a pricing policy that did not clearly fill a gap between the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln Brands, in particular the most expensive Fords being too closely priced to the cheapest Edsels. It is estimated Ford lost of the order of $350,000,000 dollars on the project.

Thanks for joining me on this “E Day” edition of Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, Tuesdays regular MG blog will appear on Thursday, I hope you will join me again for a continental curiosity tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !