Sunday, July 15, 2012

Miura Bulls

The Bulls Ferruccio Lamborghini Named The Miura After

Namesake for not only the eponymous 1966 supercar but most Lamborghinis, noted by Hemingway and countless dead matadors, these are the cunning, ferocious Miura bulls of Andalusia.Miuras have been around longer than the State of California. Derived from five Spanish breeds of fighting bull, they have been living on the estate of Don Eduardo Head of Islera, Islero's mother. Photo Credit: Guzmán Lozano Miura and his descendants  since 1842. Names which would later surface on Lamborghini cars date back to the 19th century: Gallardo was the name of one of the five breeds used by Don Miura, while Murciélago was a particularly hardy bull which survived 28 sword strokes in a 1879 bullfight, prompting the crowd to call for the matador to spare its life, which he did. Like many of its pampered, garage queen namesakes, it lived out its remaining days free of worry.

Thirty years before a certain Italian tractor billionaire would focus his car company’s branding on his obsession with Miuras and all things bull, Ernest Hemingway wrote about Don Eduardo’s bulls in Death in the Afternoon, his 1932 book about bullfighting: 
[…] there are certain strains even of bulls in which the ability to learn rapidly in the ring is highly developed. These bulls must be fought and killed as rapidly as possible with the minimum of exposure by the man, for they learn more rapidly than the fight ordinarily progresses and become exaggeratedly difficult to work with and kill.
Bulls of this sort are the old caste of fighting bulls raised by the sons of Don Eduardo Miura of Sevilla […]

It was after a 1962 visit to the Miura ranch that Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to use a fighting bull as the mascot of his company. Lamborghini’s first cars were given conventional numeric names, but his young team’s violent, dramatic, mid-engined supercar was named after Don Eduardo’s bulls, and the fourth production model was presented to the rancher himself.

The Miura was just the beginning. Future Lamborghinis would delve deep into bullfighting history. The lovely, understated Islero was named after the bull which killed the legendary Manolete, eulogized in Time magazine on September 8, 1947. 

Reventón killed the Mexican bullfighter Félix Guzmán in 1943. Diablo was another Miura from the late 19th century. In a twist, the Espada is named after the long sword used in bullfights, while one gets the sense that LM002 will be the name of a cybernetic bullminator set to wreak havoc on the Spanish countryside in 2012.

It was a Miura bull like this, named Bailador that killed Joselito.


- 11th May 1801 - José Delgado ("Pepe Hillo"),
killed by the bull Barbudo.
- 20th April 1862 - José Rodríguez ("Pepete"),
killed by the bull Jocinero.
- 7th May 1922 - Manuel Granero,
killed by the bull Pocapena.
- 11th August 1934 - Ignacio Sánchez Mejías,
killed by the bull Granadino.
- 28th August 1947 - Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez ("Manolete"),
killed by the bull Islero.
- 26th September 1984 - Francisco Rivera ("Paquirri"),
killed by the bull Avispado.
- 30th August 1985 - José Cubero ("Yiyo"),
killed by the bull Burlero.

How many people, beside family and friends will remember your name and deeds after you are gone?


"Now, I leave it to you to make up your mind whether you can bear to watch one, and then watch it. If you can’t, fine. However, remember that as the stereotypical British family sits down together at the traditional time of the bullfight – 5pm on the Sunday – with their bellies filled with roast beef to watch David Attenborough narrate as a lion eviscerates yet another buffalo  – when they call their Spanish cousins barbaric they are at best guilty of hypocrisy, and at worst xenophobia."

Excerpt from:
Into The Arena: The World Of The Spanish Bulllfight


Unknown said...

I am going to ask a stupid question: Why aren't there - or were there ever - any bullfights in the United States. I saw a bloodless bullfight in Mexico where they just piss off the bull. As long as the animal is not harmed, what's the difference between that and a rodeo?

Wade G. Burck said...

There have been bullfights in the United States, the first in 1884, although it has always been a Latin American tradition.

A few in California, given their "Latin" connection.

Sports Illustrated who did feature stories on both myself and Gunther Gebel Williams featured Bullfighter Rafael Rodriguez on their cover in 1955, a feature on Juan Belmonte in 1962, a feature on a female Matadora in 1963, features on El Cordobes in 1964 and 1966. True magazine as well as Life also did features on El Cordobes. The May 9, 2011 issue had an article on Matador Antonio Barrea who has been gored 23 times.

"Bloodless!!!!!" The bull is taken out back, a cap is put between his eyes, and he is gutted. You don't assume there is blood? The barbed banderillas, which have the "pain" equivalent of a tranquilizer dart, "hook" under the skin. Cut your face shaving(surface cut) and you will bleed like the proverbial "stuck pig." Deep muscle punctures not so much. An elephant shot with a tranquilizer dart bolts and flees, a bull stuck with a banderilla charges again, and again. What an incredible courage and bravery he displays. Which is the reason for his existence, and the reason why he is bred. Clyde Beatty "bounced" lions in the same manner. They need to be pissed off to charge. "Harmed!!!" What is that? The bulls harm each other all day in the pasture. Dog's harm each other every time one get's in a fight. Horse's harm each other every day at graining time in the pasture. It's how they communicate, they have no spoken language. Bullfighting, rodeo, horse racing, circus, falconry, cock fighting, dressage, reining etc. etc? There is no difference, it is what the animals are bred for. Just as they are bred for food stuffs and some are bred as companions, and they will "harm" each other at every opportunity.


Anonymous said...

Joselito was killed by "Bailador" from The Ranch of the Widow de Veragua not by a Muira.
Manolete was killed by "Islero' of Muira but since his Death it was found out to be bad blood from the transfusion and not the goring that he could have survived.


Wade G. Burck said...

Welcome, and thank you for the correction. I have an intense interest in the bloodlines and the old breeding programs that produced these beautiful and remarkable animals. Unfortunately, there is very little in English and I end up having to translate most of what I find, and that can be confusing. Any other insight or knowledge you would care to share with our readers would be most appreciated.

Thank you again,