To view images from the event click here. Images courtesy of Charlie Magee Photography.
Club members, guests and Lamborghini representatives gathered to celebrate a star of ‘The Italian Job’ movie – the Lamborghini Miura chassis #3586. The Miura, which was the first supercar with a rear mid-engined two-seat layout, is famously seen navigating the Great St Bernard Pass during the opening sequence of the film.
After being lost for several decades, the original car has now been discovered and restored by Lamborghini’s heritage centre.
Joining the evening were experts from the heritage centre, Polo Storico, as well as the actor who played Dominic in the movie and drove the red Mini – David Salamone – and the Award-Winning author and ‘The Italian Job’ aficionado, Matthew Field.
After a three-course Italian meal, Paolo Gabrielli, the Head of After Sales at Lamborghini, took to the stage to talk more about Polo Storico’s involvement with the restoration.
Inaugurated in 2015, Polo Storico is the heritage centre of Lamborghini which aims to spread the passion and celebrate the heritage of the marque. In order to confirm chassis #3586 as the Miura from ‘The Italian Job’, the centre had to conduct extensive archival research to prove its provenance before the restoration could take place.
Paolo was then joined by Duccio Lopresto of The Classic Car Trust and Francesco Stevanin, Technical Manager at Polo Storico on stage to talk about the process. Duccio’s father was heavily involved in the restoration process, whilst Francesco helped coordinate the Polo Storico team throughout the project.
Restoring the Miura
Once the car was found, Polo Storico needed the evidence to go with it. Looks wise it seemed to fit, but the team needed more evidence.
Among the documents gathered relating to the car, an original receipt was found detailing a changing of its seats from white to black. The Miura in the film originally had white seats which were swapped with black ones, giving the team one of the key pieces of evidence which proved chassis #3586 was the Miura from the film.
A Word from the Driver
The stunt driver for the scene, Enzo Moruzzi, was unable to attend on the night, but sent in a video message describing his time at Lamborghini and his memories of driving the Miura in that iconic opening.
His first job was in a bank, but his love of cars was too much and he left the job and joined Lamborghini in 1966, where he worked until 2004. One of his duties was to deliver Lamborghinis when movies required them. This led him to have the opportunity to be a part of ‘The Italian Job’.
His main role on was to liaise between the sales team and administration team to ensure the car could arrive safely. He was also in charge of going to the set.
Paramount asked for a damaged body of a Miura and a fully working one. They found an orange one that was destroyed, and now had to find a working Miura which would match.
They eventually found one on the production line a few months later, but the interior was white and not black. They installed two black seats in the car as the white seats were very delicate.
Then, it was driven 100 kilometres by a test driver at Lamborghini to check everything was in working order before being driven to the shoot at St Bernard Pass.
Filming the Miura
The shoot lasted one and a half days, with Enzo recalling that ‘he must have gone up and down the pass around ten or thirteen times with the operator’ in order to get the right shot.
He recalled an especially memorable moment when he was told that, as a stunt, double, he’d be paid for his work. ‘It was a great thing to shout about, I was being paid by Lamborghini!’
He knew it was the same car when he saw the white interior, saw the orange and reconstructed the scene on the famous pass. It was then that he realized it was the same Miura.
Enzo then spoke of his time spent reconstructing the journey and the route (minus the ending!) with Classic & Sports Car magazine.
‘After being approached, I reconstructed the event and that was the car that I had used. First, because there weren’t any other orange ones on the line, and secondly, because the interior was white.’
Next to the stage was ‘The Italian Job’ film expert and award-winning author, Matthew Field. He introduced the success of the film, and how it helped make Minis an iconic British brand, with many other brands taking inspiration from the film in their adverts.
He also offered an interesting glimpse into what could have been. The opening driving sequence was written as a high-tempo and fierce scene with the car thrashed around corners and tight hairpins. In reality, the opening scene, set to Matt Monro’s soothing “On Days Like These”, highlights the grace of the Miura.
But originally the Miura wasn’t supposed to star there at all. Originally an Iso Grifo was supposed to take the place of the Miura.
They shot the opening and closing scenes on the same day, and shot the Miura with three cameras, running until the magazine ran out.
It was a miracle they didn’t damage the car, considering the cameras were attached to the car with ‘wooden rigs and weighed down by chains’.
When they shot the car rolling down the hill, three cameras were directed at it as it burst into a ball of flames. Interestingly, the crew tasked with recovering the wreck went back the next day to find it, but it had disappeared. To this day, its location remains a mystery.
A final surprise for the audience was the attendance of David Salamone, who drove the red Mini in the film and played Dominic in the film.
He remembered driving in a chain of Minis back from Turin and muscling other cars off the road. He also recalled one story about one of the other drivers getting arrested in his Mini on a UK high street. With ‘gold bars in his boot, a fake registration plate and a fake tax disc’, it was a tricky one to explain…
The evening was a grand celebration of an iconic car which played a leading role in one of the most famous British movies of all time.