There is no risk that a car like the Lamborghini Countach do not be reminded, nor that an important milestone such as the 50th anniversary of its birth may go unnoticed, but for the Sant’Agata Bolognese House, which has chosen to dedicate a nice commemorative video to it starring one of the first prototypes with a fantastic green color , represents something more than a successful model.
In fact, this is not the first supercar of the Bull, a title that belongs by right to the unforgettable Miura, but this model is recognized as the forerunner of the modern era, the bearer of stylistic and technical innovations such as to set the canons also for all future generations, destined not to stray from that pattern anymore.
When the first prototype, yellow and with false lights, was presented at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the Countach caused a sensation for its incredible lines. The House had the prohibitive task of creating the heir of an icon like the Miura and had entrusted the task of tracing its profile to Bertone, who in turn had given everything back to Marcello Gandini, a security. The wedge shape, with no angle variations between the windshield and the nose, and the vertical opening of the doors are all elements destined to last over time.
A colorful name
There are many different stories about the baptism of the car, but all united by one certainty: that “Countach” is not an English term linked to something “digital” or aeronautical, but a very banal Piedmontese dialect expression, literally “contagion”, but from the meaning of “accidents”, to be pronounced “countàch”, with the accent on the last vowel.
It is not clear who used this name first, if one of the people involved in the project or the same Nuccio Bertone. What is certain is that such expressions, certainly of wonder, are destined to arouse many more and for a very long time.
All behind that makes school
Such an innovative design, so different from that of the other models of the Toro, also brings with it an equally new mechanics behind it, where another prestigious signature is hidden, that of the engineer Paolo Stanzani, who chooses a scheme with a V12 engine and always behind the passenger compartment, but in a longitudinal position.
However, two years have passed between the aforementioned prototype, presented with the initials LP500 to indicate the displacement of 5 liters (440 HP declared power), and the production model and there have been many refinements, especially under the skin. For the chassis, initially with a flatbed, the solution of the tubular structure was adopted, while under the bonnet they opted for a 4.0 derived from that of the Miura and with “only” 375 HP, above all for reasons of reliability and costs.
The scheme still provided for the gearbox facing the passenger compartment to centralize the masses and improve handling on the road. Aesthetically, however, in addition to windows and headlights, the rear air intakes, initially with blades, have been modified, while the interiors have been redesigned.
A long career
The Countach, which had a starring role in the Lamborghini price lists until 1990 (in 1981 it was even the only car in production), then debuted as the LP400 S with a business card that said “288 km / h and 0-100 in 5.4 seconds “, but obviously it was only the first act.
In 1978 it gave way to the LP400S, whose upgrade was actually almost only aesthetic and aimed at improving driveability. It stood out for its wider tires underlined by additional profiles at the wheel arches and other modifications, including the appearance as an option of the rear arrow wing (actually only decorative but pleasing to many customers), while the engine remained the same. and it was even reduced to 355 hp at the end of production.
The first new step forward came in 1982 with the LP5000S, equipped with a 4.8-liter engine with electronic ignition, power reported to 375 hp but more robust torque, modified gearbox and 290 km / h. The 5000 received the “Quattrovalvole” in 1985, with a further increase in displacement to 5.2 liters, finally exceeding 400 HP and almost 300 km / h: to be exact, it went to 455 HP and 295 km / h, thanks to the weight which, although increased, still remained below 1,500 kg, and 0-100 km / h in 4.8 seconds. In 1988 the side skirts welcomed new air intakes for the rear brakes.
In reality, only two concepts – the Evoluzione (which experimented with carbon fiber) and the Turbo prototype – actually managed to exceed 300 km / h. The production models reached the top with the 298 km / h of the so-called “last act”, the 25th Anniversary, also released in 1988, which was also the first special series with which the House celebrated an important birthday (in this case the quarter century from the foundation), a tradition that has continued with Diablo, Murcielago and Aventador.
The mechanics are still those of the Quattrovalvole, but a further aerodynamic refinement made it faster. With this, which went out of production in 1990, the Countach totaled 1,999 total units produced in about 17 years.