top of page

1970 Colani Le Mans Prototype

To understand the 1970 Lamborghini Miura Le Mans Concept, you have to understand Luigi Colani - the man behind this fiberglass pod-inspired prototype that combined the rear end of a Lamborghini Miura with the front end of what appears to be a glider.

Colani - originally born Lutz Colani in Berlin in 1928 - pioneered the biodynamic school of design, which was characterized by rounded, organic forms Colani believed to be ergonomically superior to traditional design.

Throughout his long career, which spanned from the 1950s to his death in 2019, the German designer applied biodynamic design to everything from ballpoint pens, the Schimmel Pegasus grand piano, the Soviet ekranoplan, and car design. Colani also created several biodynamic-inspired concept cars for manufacturers, including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Volkswagen, and BMW.

The most striking of Colani’s designs is the Lamborghini Miura Le Mans concept from 1970. Launched in 1966, the original Bertone-designed Miura is widely regarded as the world’s first supercar thanks to its 3.9-liter V12 engine, which propelled it to a top speed of 163mph and would reach 0 to 60mph in 6.3 seconds. Its rear mid-engined two-seat layout and jaw-dropping looks, including its unmistakable “eyelash” headlights, may have also contributed to its status as the “world’s first supercar.”

Almost everyone in the motoring world regards the Lamborghini Miura to be one of the finest pieces of car design ever. Almost sixty years since its launch - the Miura is still winning awards for its aesthetics. Earlier in 2020, it scooped the GQ Award for the Most Beautiful Car Ever Made.

Enter the Lamborghini Miura Le Mans Concept from 1970. Now, we said “almost everyone,” meaning everyone apart from Luigi Colani, who saw an original Miura and thought, “hmm... I can make what is considered one of the best looking cars in the world make it look better by making biodynamicising it”. It is also probably worth adding that Lamborghini had no part in Colani’s design. Essentially, Colani booked a table at a Michelin Star restaurant and brought along his own ketchup bottle to “improve” the meal.

Colani sawed a Miura in half, threw the front in the bin, and kept the rear end with the original car’s wonderful 3.9-liter V12, suspension, and six-speed gearbox. As for the front end, it was made of fiberglass and appeared to resemble a glider.

The driver and passenger would lie almost horizontal in the cockpit and control the car with a joystick. To ensure it kept within the principles of biodynamics and achieved as much of a spherical, streamlined form as possible, Colani hid the front wheels under the body, meaning they could not turn.

At this point, I hear you asking, “why the joystick?” This is because the rear wheels didn’t turn either - going around a corner was achieved by connecting the front and rear of the Miura Le Mans Concept through tie rods and pedal cables, meaning that the car would bend in half. Envisage in your mind an articulated bus, and you would be correct in picturing how the Miura Le Mans Concept would tackle the twisty stuff.

Unsurprisingly, the Lamborghini Miura Le Mans Concept never made it to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, it was a fully functioning prototype and became a regular on the international car show circuit from 1970 to 1974. As a showpiece, Colani’s bright orange concept was repainted blue and decked out with Veedol oil stickers during its last year.

The car then disappeared in the United States, lying forgotten until it resurfaced on eBay in 2010. It was auctioned off for $75,000 despite having a broken front suspension, no engine, and peeling paintwork. The rear wheels were still intact, which was a plus point for the owner.

Source: The Design by Luigi Colani That Makes the ... - Dyler.

Images: Colani Design; eBay

Explore by Year, Make or Designer
bottom of page