An Arancio Orange 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 powers over a viaduct and up an Italian mountain pass. The driver, cigarette in hand, sports sideburns and snazzy sunglasses; it’s clear he’s the king of the road. As the backing music fades away, the Miura enters a tunnel and we experience the symphony of the 12-cylinder in all its glory… but then, with a loud bang and a great ball of flames, it all comes to a shocking and abrupt end. A bulldozer pushes the now-mangled Miura off the cliff. The mob boss proceeds to dramatically hurl a wreath over the edge into the churning water below, while his underlings look on solemnly. Any car nut worth his (or her) salt knows that this describes the opening scene of the 1969 blockbuster The Italian Job. Though the example in the movie met a watery end, the Lamborghini Miura has endured as an icon in the motoring world. This year marks 50 years of the P400S variant, and to celebrate we shot one of only two in SA.
But what about those shades…
In the scene above, the character of Roger Beckermann, played by Italian actor Rossano Brazzi, is seen wearing a pair of sunglasses which are stepped on by the mafia head-honcho after killing him.
The sunglasses were classic Ford Mustang Renauld Spectaculars, which were brought out specifically as road car sunglasses to be worn when driving. The sunglasses had curved sides to stop wind coming in, which implies that they were meant to be paired with a sporty or ‘racy’ car. These sunglasses are now extremely rare and hard to find, although a slightly more modern version of them appeared in the 2011 film The Rum Diary, worn by Johnny Depp.
The Italian Job became known not only for its opening scene with the Miura but also for another, possibly even more famous, car scene – that of the Mini chase through Turin, which was re-enacted with modern Minis in the 2003 remake, starring our own Charlize Theron. The original film, starring the legendary Michael Caine, became extremely popular and a symbol of British culture. Michael Caine’s famous line “You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” was voted as one of the best-ever movie one-liners.