The Italian Job has been called one big ad for Mini Coopers. Some may see this as a slight, but not us — both the timeless 1969 version and its unfortunate (but cool at the time!) 2003 remake showed us that Minis can be cool. Very cool.
But the heist-tuned pipsqueak is not the coolest car in the films. That title goes to the Crush-soda-orange Lamborghini Miura P400.
Don’t remember it? Ha! That’s because this is a test. If you don’t immediately know what car we’re talking about, it’s because you’ve only seen the American remake starring Edward Norton’s mustache-ruining facial hair. Anyone who’s seen the British original starring primo Michael Caine will remember it until their dying day — because, in the opening scene of the film, it gets blown up and then unceremoniously tossed down a hill. It’s the older generation’s version of the crown breaking in Mean Girls.
Now, after 50 years, anyone still having nightmares about that Lambo rag doll can rest easy. On Monday, Lamborghini Polo Storico — the marque’s classic car restoration division — announced that the Miura used during filming has been found in superb condition.
There’s more to the story, but first, here’s the opening scene in question:
Wait a second, how could the car be in superb condition after all that?
It’s called stunt doubles, kids, and cars have them as well as actors. According to a press release, Paramount Pictures apparently dialed up Lamborghini and asked for a car to destroy, and the company happened to have a Miura “which was already heavily damaged and therefore perfect for the accident scene.”
The stunt double was also provided direct from Lamborghini — an “aesthetically identical” Miura P400, according to Enzo Moruzzi, “who delivered the car to the set and drove it in all the shots as a stunt double.” Well, almost identical. Moruzzi says that because the car had to be returned “in perfect condition,” the white leather interior was swapped for black, except for the headrests which couldn’t be replaced in time.
After the shoot, the car was returned, sent to a customer and then disappeared. As Lamborghini notes, “Just a few years after the film’s release, once it had been established that the car used in filming was not the one destroyed in the on-screen accident, a hunt began to find the opening-scene Miura.”
In the end, the current owner ended up coming forward and revealing himself: Fritz Kaiser, founder of the Classic Car Trust, who bought it in 2018 after 50 years of passing “through the hands of different enthusiasts, both Italian and international.” The Miura was sent to Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata Bolognese HQ and chassis #3586 was officially certified as the long lost Italian Job beauty.
Unfortunately for any interested buyers, there is no word about Kaiser offering it up for sale. But don’t worry, with this kind of press, and the 50th anniversary of the movie coming up in June, we’ll bet all the gold in Turin that you’ll see this hit the auction block soon.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.