The legendary guitarist, co-founder of rock band Van Halen, passed away aged 65 but his music and his Miura shall live on

The Lamborghini Miura was Lamborghini’s brash, unlawful, in-your-face statement that Ferrari is no longer cool. As the first modern supercar and the first mid-engined production car, the Miura set the tone for everything that came after it. Similarly, Californian hard rock and heavy metal group Van Halen revolutionized the genre with its brash, unlawful, in-your-face debut album that came out in 1978. It signaled the change of the guards as the new boys walked in with steps as loud as Eddie Van Halen’s guitar licks. A few years later, these two worlds collided.

Van Halen and the one-off Miura

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, to a Dutch father and an Indonesian mother. While starting out on the piano, Van Halen switched to the drums before leaving the kit behind for his older brother Alex to pick up while he himself turned to the guitar. This all happened after the family moved to the U.S. in the early ’60s, the change of scenery opening Van Halen’s eyes to rock music. He created his own guitar, the now-legendary ’Frankenstrat’, in a bid to combine the sound of a classic Gibson guitar with the attributes of a Fender Stratocaster.

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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It was with the 'Frankenstrat' in his hands that Eddie Van Halen created magic on Van Halen's debut album.

The commercial success of that record as well as the many that followed, either with David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar doing the singing, turned Van Halen into a staple in the history of rock music while Van Halen has always been praised for his innovative style (he’s actually credited with a number of inventions used nowadays by guitarists the world over) that arguably revolutionized the genre of hard rock.

Remembering Eddie Van Halen and his iconic Lamborghini Miura S. Arguably one of the greatest guitarists of our time, Eddie was also a passionate gear head. On April 11th 1981, his first wife presented him with a unique Lamborghini Miura S as a wedding gift. He would own this example for almost 38 years, and for many years used the Miura as his daily driver. During studio sessions to record the Van Halen hit “Panama,”Eddie’s Miura was backed into the studio to capture the “revving” sounds used during the bridge. We had the opportunity to meet Eddie and purchase Miura Chassis #4701 in 2018. Eddie was a legend, a humble genius, who had owned, modified and loved so many incredible cars and motorcycles. God Speed Eddie. #vanhalen #miura #legend #icon #rip #lamborghini

Posted by We Are Curated on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

On October 6, 2020, Van Halen lost his decade-long battle with cancer and passed away aged only 65.

If the music he left behind is known in all of the corners of the world, fewer people are aware of Van Halen's passion for speed and fewer still know that he owned a one-of-a-kind Lamborghini Miura for almost four decades.

Much of this car’s history is still shrouded in mystery but a few things have come to light in the last few years. For starters, you too have probably heard the car already if you’ve listened to ’Panama’, one of the singles off Van Halen’s ’1984’ album. Right after Eddie’s solo, you can here the rather subdued sounds of a revving engine. That’s actually Eddie’s Miura doing the job, its exhaust note recorded after the band managed to somehow push the car into the studio and point some mics at it.

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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The Miura, chassis #4701, was a wedding gift from his first wife, Valerie Bertinelli, and Van Halen kept the original plates on it throughout his time with the car. The plates read ’APR 11’ which is a nod to the wedding date, April 11, 1981. Described by Eddie himself as "a Go-Kart with 12 cylinder Weber carbs," this Miura has always wowed fans, partially because Van Halen used to drive it just about every day in California, and partly because of its crazy appearance.

Marcello Gandini, the designer of the Miura, has long lamented that the Miura should have been wider and that’s where Eddie’s Miura comes in. Featuring some wild vertical inlets in front of the rear wheels as well as the lower, protruding vents carved into the rocker panels, the fire-breathing Miura’s widebody setup combines features seen on other modified Miuras - such as the Jota-esque Miura Targa Special.

The difference between those cars and Eddie's is that chassis #4701 featured the wide body straight from the factory.
Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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We know that because, back in 2018, Van Halen parted with much of his quite extensive car collection including the Miura that was bought by the American luxury car dealership We Are Curated. The arduous task of digging up the history of Van Halen’s Miura followed before the car was put up for sale through the dealership. It has since been sold although We Are Curated announced right after buying the car from Van Halen that the intention is for the car to be sent to Italy where Lamborghini’s Polo Storico department would restore it to its original specification. This would mean getting rid of the red paint (green was the car’s original color), the golden, five-spoke knock-off wheels, and also much of the interior.

At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether or not the car’s being restored or if the new owner ultimately decided to leave it as is - which, we think, would be the correct thing to do. John Temarian of We Are Curated reckons, in the video you can check out below, that the car is a piece of history and pop culture. It is for that reason why we consider the decision to have it restored back to its original spec as dubious.

Van Halen the collector

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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While the 1972 Lamborghini Miura, a 345 horsepower thoroughbred, might’ve been the centerpiece of Alex Van Halen’s collection, the Dutch-American rock legend hid away many other cars and the list of cars he’s owned over the decades is at least as long as the list of Van Halen hits. Car and Driver talked with Van Halen on his love for speed and fast cars back in 2016, two years before he decided to sell off the bulk of his cars. In that interview, Van Halen doesn’t even make a fleeting mention of the Miura but describes his love for the then-new Porsche 911 (991.1) GT3 RS.

"For one, it’s just so light. But really, it’s the handling. I don’t know how Porsche did it," said Van Halen when asked by Car and Driver what he loves about it. "We raced in the rain at Buttonwillow, which is my favorite track, and we never lost it, never spun out." He also went on to say that the GT3 RS was the first Porsche which he was able to coax into performing a four-wheel drift. "Every other Porsche I’ve ever had, I’ve spun them all," he concluded.

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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The guitarist also took the time to draw some parallels between playing on stage and driving at high speed on the track in that same interview. "The adrenaline rush is similar. You’re always pushing the edge, on stage live, and driving on a track. But improvising at the drop of a hat is the biggest thing. There are no do-overs."

Eddie also owned two Audi R8s, namely a V-8 and a V-10, both supercharged and featuring custom exhaust systems. His stable also included a 1947 Dodge Flatbed and a 1970 Chevy Nova that was modified inside and out. In 2018, Van Halen sought to sell both the Nova and the 911 GT3 RS besides the Miura, as Loudwire reported.

Eddie van Halen Once Owned The Coolest Lamborghini Miura In The World
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Built by Bones Fab, the Nova sported a 650 horsepower LSX 7.4-liter engine sending all of its oomph to the back wheels through a Tremec Magnum T-56 six-speed transmission. At the time, the Nova was advertised for $100,000, cheaper than the Porsche. Finished in silver and featuring special goodies like the 918 bucket seats inside and the Club Sport Package, the GT3 RS was otherwise stock thus the 4.0-liter flat-six’ 490 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque were most likely untouched since Eddie only put 15,188 miles on the odometer.

We don’t know where these two cars ended up and, as mentioned, the same goes for the Miura but we hope they’re being cared for by avid collectors.

Source: DuPont Registry

Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read More
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