Page 21: Bob Merrell
September 2007

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Progress has been coming along slowly, but should be picking up. Bobileff Motors has some very high-profile Miura restorations in process, joining my comparatively obscure project.

The famous ZN-75 is being returned to its original Bertone Roadster show car configuration. This is a controversial restoration by the new owner. Some people think the car has been the ZN-75 for so long and received such publicity in that form, that it should stay that way. Others feel that it's time to remember what the original looked like.

For the few not familiar with the story, in 1968 a company or consortium wanting to promote the use of zinc in cars was looking for a high-profile vehicle to showcase zinc usage. Rumor is they approached Lamborghini to buy a production Miura for the project, but Lamborghini didn't want to sell them one for this purpose. Perhaps demand was too great for the Miura and Lamborghini had committed many to customers. At any rate, the International Lead Zinc Research Organization bought the one-off roadster from Bertone shortly after it finished touring the car show circut in 1968. ILZRO replaced many, many parts with zinc components; some duplicated the original, and some were very different. For more on this car, see the International Lamborghini Registry page. Fortunately, some of the original metallic blue was found under trim parts, and Lamborghini is providing historic details to help accurately return the car to its original state. Personally, I'm excited to see the roadster. Of course, all of the ZN-75 parts are being saved in case someday a new owner wants to put them back on again. My suspicion is once people see the Bertone Roadster, it will stay that way for at least as long as the ZN-75 has been around.

The other Miura is one of the factory SVJ "Jota" cars, originally owned by the Shah of Iran and later actor Nicholas Cage. Read more on this car here.

But back to me. :-) There aren't many pictures of me on this site, because it's not about me: It's about a Miura. But here is an exception. This beautiful 1987 LP5000 QV belongs to the estate of my late friend Bob Merrell, who lies at rest in the background. I had the pleasure and privilege of representing Bob by taking his car to the Seattle Italian Concours on Sept 2. The weekend had its emotional ups and downs, and it was a nice way to remember Bob. And yes, I actually fit in the car - although if I appear a bit hunched over, it's because I've been driving that way. Bob, sadly, did not fit. He was about two inches taller than I am, and therefore only drove the car a couple of times, but he loved having it and sharing it with people. He found his Ferrari 348TS much easier to drive. (So did I, but the Countach was more fun.)

Bobileff Motors

I'm constantly amazed at how many Miuras are being done at this shop. At any time about two percent of the world's Miuras are there for restoration, service, or to be sold. I count seven in this picture, which is about one percent.

Here is a P400 that looks almost Brambilla Blue, next to an LP400 Countach "periscope" car - my favorite Countach. I think Brambilla Blue is a little bit lighter.

Back to 3901

Here we find Nigel, Boblieff's current premier metal artist. Nigel used to work at Rolls Royce in Coventry and can do wonderful things with metal. He's fabricated a new mount for the rear body clip for my car, since mine was bent. He's just posing with the unfinished part for the camera. Notice that the suspension mounts have been removed from my frame. This is because they are being altered for the SV control arms.

See how the arms are coming on the next page.

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