This Stunning 1971 Lamborghini Miura Was Hidden for 45 Years
Jeff Meier’s latest acquisition of the all-time great Lamborghini Miura – through a superb garage find – is one hell of a story, filled with good luck. But his fascination with Lamborghini’s original supercar runs much deeper.
Meier was born and raised in Cleveland, where he grew up in a large family. His father owned an auto repair shop, so there were always different cars parked in the driveway. From the age of five, Meier developed a curiosity for cars that developed into a hobby to identify them when he saw them driving on the road. The same kid who yelled “Volkswagen”, “Chevy” and “Ford” from the backseat when his father pointed to a car would one day become an expert and collector in his own right.
Lamborghini Miura bug bites hard
Now living in Los Angeles, Meier, a self-proclaimed automotive consultant, 59, has a laid back demeanor that hides his ownership of an unrestored 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400S in spectacular factory orange paint. Neatly parked inside his home office, the story of how this Lamborghini Miura in his favorite color found him is remarkable, an experience Meier considers a once in a lifetime discovery. Remarkably, however, this wouldn’t be his latest Miura garage find.
Meier’s attachment to the Lamborghini Miura began in his thirties when he saw a real-life example of the car for the first time; he walked around it and couldn’t find an unpleasant angle. It was advanced, beautifully designed, fast and revolutionary. Over a decade later, his chance to own the ultimate dream car of his day came through conversation.
“I wanted to be the person who took that car and did the right thing, rather than someone who grabbed it and destroyed the originality. Most people think when you show Pebble a car Beach, this has to be the most perfect in the world, and it isn’t. This is the most authentic and original car of its type, as it would have been when it was sold. new; flaws and everything. “-Jeff Meier
A relative informed Meier in 2000 about the orange Miura and he made it his mission to acquire the car. A retired electrical engineer named Earl, living in Oregon, bought the Miura as a retirement gift for himself in his 60s. He then put it in a garage, where it remained stored for several years. Meier’s task of buying it would require many visits to Earl’s house throughout a five-year period before Meier had a chance to make a lucrative offer.
The Lamborghini Miura Ball gets rolling
When Meier officially acquired the garage car from Earl’s 2005 estate sale, he knew he had unearthed a crisp, time-warped Lamborghini that just needed a little TLC to get back on the road.
Rather than restore its excellent find, Meier, an originality purist, began extensive preservation work and got the car rolling in three weeks. Since acquiring the ’69 Miura S, it has won numerous awards including Best in Class and Best Post-War Preservation Car in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura celebrated at Pebble Beach.
Lambo luck overflows
Just when Meier believed he had discovered one of the most original and unrestored Miura on the planet, fortune knocked on his door once more. This time around, however, a white 1971 Lamborghini Miura S with an all-blue interior, with only 15,600 miles on the clock – and all matching numbers – had been hidden away in a body shop in the Bay Area of California. for about 45 years.
How did Meier get this chance? In a strange turn of events, a YouTube video of his orange Miura posted in 2017 (now with over 1.1 million views) was viewed by someone who had information about another Miura Garage find. Through countless phone calls, the viewer tracked down Meier and asked if he would be interested in seeing the car. The viewer was a contractor working on the property of a man who owned the body shop in Benicia, California, where a Miura was stored for nearly five decades. After a thorough inspection, Meier determined its authenticity; the car had remained intact and it had retained its originality.
Another completed purchase
In the summer of 2019, Meier struck a deal with the store owner’s broker and bought his second Miura. He paid more than perceived market value, an amount he prefers not to disclose because the seller felt he was leaving money on the table by not selling the restored Miura. An auction company had approached the seller to put it up for sale as a barn find, but Meier did his job to prevent that from happening. He once again saw more value in preserving the Lamborghini garage find, rather than letting it fall into the hands of a restorer.
As it turns out, the 1971 Lamborghini Miura S has a great story of its own.
The car was owned in mint condition by a 19-year-old Iranian girl while attending UC Berkeley in the 1970s. Her parents in Iran had sent it to the United States to be sold by a Lamborghini distributor in California. ; however, upon arriving in the United States, the girl chose to requisition the Miura as her daily driver. Even though an ad had been posted to put it up for sale, the keys never exchanged hands. Instead, the white Lamborghini was driven around town by a teenage girl who had her fair share of accidents while driving it.
A fun Miura tale
As best Meier could piece it together, the student came from a wealthy Iranian family closely related to the Shah of Iran, who was himself a car collector. At one point, he would have had over 3,000 cars, including four Miuras.
The car that traveled to California was purchased directly by a Lamborghini agent for the family, who planned to use it to transfer money out of Iran by shipping it to the United States and putting it in sale. Meier believes the Miura was not sent to the 19-year-old student to drive around town, but rather to sell it and then do as directed with the funds. She did however advertise the car for sale.
Miura Registry provided a copy of a letter from Bob Estes – Lamborghini’s distributor on the west coast – to the Lamborghini company, stating that he was aware of the chassis number. 4761 Miura advertised for sale. Estes wanted to make sure she was following U.S. safety and emissions regulations, and although the car didn’t go through her dealership, it was actually an American model with the label d ’emissions and appropriate safety requirements. Meier also came across a blog post on Curbside Classic with a photo of the white Lamborghini Miura parked outside the International House at UC Berkeley in 1972, taken by a visitor surprised upon seeing an exotic on the campus. A credible source from an Iranian automobile club confirmed that the student walking down the stairs in the photo was the original owner.
The second chapter of Miura
How did this Lamborghini Miura become a possible garage find? Less than two years after its acquisition, the woman suffered a series of misfortunes, including an accident on a car trip in Los Angeles that left the Miura impossible to drive.
The car was taken to a Burbank towing yard and abandoned for a year and a half. A body owner who was already familiar with the Miura from previous repairs had returned it flat to his Bay Area facility. But he was struggling to find the necessary parts and didn’t have someone talented enough to do the repairs. The woman’s parents, meanwhile, decided to avoid the headache, bought their daughter a new car, and sold the Lamborghini to the owner of the body shop. He apparently hoped to eventually restore the Miura to its original condition, but in the meantime he hid it in one of his stores, where it has remained intact for over 40 years.
Although it was worn out after spending most of those years uncovered in the corner of a building full of junk and junk, the car was so complete that only a few things were missing. The store owner took a trip to the Lamborghini factory in 1977 and bought the parts needed for the repairs, and they were still inside the building, receipt and everything, when Meier found the car. Other valuable items still intact were the original tool kit and owner’s manual. Inside the car, Meier also found the woman’s Quran, a newspaper ad for an apartment rental, and a theater ticket stub in Long Beach, California.
Along with his Miura purchase, Meier also received an incredible amount of documentation, which included all transfer papers, every receipt for service and repairs, receipts for towing service, and the invoice for the private car sale. Meier paid more than fair price for the Miura to be found in the garage, because he saw something else special that only Lamborghini experts could notice: this late-production Miura 2S series was built in around 30 cars of the models. Limited SVs, and it featured several items straight from the SV, including larger carburetors, updated brake cooling ducts, and structural reinforcements for better performance. One of two Lamborghini Miuras available in white paint for the 1971 model year, this particular example came in what was called gray-white, and it still had its PPG paint code label intact. Meier rightly chose to do preservation work, not full restoration.
“Preservation to the end,” he said. “The type of person who buys such a car is a Miuras connoisseur who knows what makes the car valuable. A preservation-type restoration preserves the manufacturing defects and the authenticity of the car. It’s the difference between showing how a car has lived and stripping a car. because using new technologies and new products to create a new representation of what it should be. I love the original materials and the build quality which shows the imperfections of a hand-built car. “
Set to work
Miura’s most critical repair was damage to the front of the crash that ended the woman’s ownership experience. It was essential to find the most qualified person to do the metalworking; For Meier, the original aluminum nose had to stay with the car, and it had to be crisp and ready to paint without needing to add a layer of filler. Enter Beckman Metal Works of Costa Mesa, Calif. Who removed the damaged section and measured Meier’s orange Miura to the proper specifications. For eight months, Beckman rebuilt the headlight area and nose, then sectioned them off from the original aluminum.
Jeff Stephan, consultant and one of Meier’s good friends, examined all of the car’s mechanics. He inspected each part and either replaced it with a new one or reconditioned it as specified by Lamborghini. The work included restoring the Weber carburetors, installing a new radiator and water pump, rebuilding a new fuel tank, tightening the timing chains, removing the cam covers and adjusting valve clearances.
Miura’s crown jewels to find in the garage are the engine speed stacks that Stephan built with the guidance of Bob Wallace, one of the engineers who helped develop Lamborghini road cars. Wallace and Stephan came up with the specifications, and a company in Germany produced speed stacks specific to their design. Meier likes to think of them as a Harry Winston diamond necklace on a beautiful woman, and for him the highlight is looking through the rearview mirror and seeing the trumpet-shaped air intakes.
Back on the road
With everything finally in good working order, and after standing still for about 48 years, Meier took the two-tone Miura on its first ride to a cars and cafe encounter in Malibu, Calif. Car spotters followed the Miura to take photos and congratulate. When Meier drove to the cars and cafe rally, a swarm of enthusiasts gathered around the Lamborghini, questions poured in and constant photo-taking ensued.
Bringing this Lamborghini Miura found in a garage back to life and hitting the road on a Sunday drive to Malibu came as no surprise to Meier. He has no idea what will happen next with the car, and the uncertainty – the potential – is perhaps the funniest part of everything now.