Built between 1973 and 1990, the Lamborghini Countach is remembered for its futuristic design, fast speeds and steep price. The car’s name comes from the Piedmontese word for astonishment: contacc. The Countach was intended to be a successor to the Lamborghini Miura sports car, which had previously competed with and bested Ferrari models.
An Overview of the Models
The Lamborghini Countach, then called the LP500 Prototype, first appeared at the Geneva motor show in 1971. This mid-engine, two-seat coupe had a faulty engine that was prone to blowing up, and it would undergo several changes before going on sale as the LP400 in 1974. This version had a 4-liter, 375 BHP V12 with four exhausts and four camshafts.
Just over 150 Countach LP400s were sold between 1974 and 1978. At this point, the Countach evolved into the LP400S. Pirelli P7 tires were integrated into the model, requiring a redesign for the suspension and the addition of fiberglass wheel-arch extenders. This version of the Countach was actually slower than the LP400, and only 250 cars were produced.
In 1982, the LP500 (a.k.a. 5000S) was introduced in the United States. The V12 went from a 4.0 liter to a 5.0 liter, and it could reach faster speeds than the LP400S. About 321 of these cars were manufactured before the introduction of the Countach LP500 Quattrovalvole in 1985. This version used downdraft Weber carburetors, generated 420 BHP and could reach 180 mph.
The 25th Anniversary
The final version of the Lamborghini Countach would also be the most successful. To celebrate its 25th anniversary as a company, Lamborghini planned to release their new Diablo series. However, production on that model stalled, so a new version of the Countach was devised instead.
The latest Countach was called the Anniversario. This model used the chassis of the Quattrovalvole but changed just about everything else. Pirelli P Zero tires replaced the Pirelli P7, and extra cooling vents were added to the front bumper for the front brakes. Electrically powered side windows were installed, and thinner sports seats became available to give the interior extra space. 650 Anniversarios were produced and sold before Lamborghini ended its Countach line.
- Originally, the Countach was intended to have a limited run and only be available for those worthy enough of handling it on the road. However, this initial idea was scrapped, and the car was outfitted with AC and leather upholstery to make it more comfortable for less-skilled drivers.
- Many children grew up with pictures of the LP400 Lamborghini hanging on their walls. This version of the Lamborghini is the most valuable today.
- The Countach’s original wheels were made of magnesium and cost $2,000 each. These would later be replaced with cheaper aluminum.
- Mario Andretti recently put his 1984 Lamborghini on the market for almost $500,000.
- The LP400S introduced an optional rear wing for stability at high speeds. Jay Leno removed that wing from his own Quattrovalvole, saying he doubted he’d need it in LA traffic.
The Lamborghini Countach is remembered for its scissor doors, which became part of Lamborghini’s trademark, as well as its wedge shape, which was later adopted by countless other mid-engine cars. The Lamborghini Countach was a powerful rival for Ferrari, and the competition between the two companies led to some of the greatest innovations in car design. Although the Lamborghini Countach is no longer produced, its legacy lives on, and it continues to have an impact on the car world today.