Back in the late 70s and 80s, the Lamborghini Countach used to be the poster every kid dreamed to have. Its posters used to adorn the bedrooms of many small boys and a good number of grown-ups too.
Many enthusiasts argue this is the greatest generation of all Lamborghinis but there are still others who argue against it. However, they all agree that the model is a true automotive icon of all times.
Marcelo Gandini was the brains behind the Countach’s design. The designer was highly regarded having had previously designed the successful Miura which the Countach was succeeding.
The Lamborghini Countach through the years
The first prototype of the Lamborghini Countach was introduced in 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle carried the LP 500 nametag. The name stood for Longitudinal Posteriore 5000cc to reflect the car’s 5.0 L, V12 engine which was mounted longitudinally on its rear. The prototype elicited quite a stir during the show which forced the automaker to hasten and take it into production. In 1974 a production model dubbed the Countach LP400 debuted beginning 17 years of excellence at the highest level.
Its design featured numerous flat and trapezoid-shaped surfaces. The car also featured large air intakes and ducts. However, the most unique feature of the Lambo’ was its innovative flip-up, scissor-looking doors which have featured in all Lamborghini’s since. These doors are commonly referred to as “Lambo doors” nowadays even if they are featured on a different brand. The vehicle’s had a tubular frame while its sheet-metal was made from aluminum. The vehicle also featured a wide depression on its roof. The depression led to the clear glass which was in-line with the rear mirror resulting in a periscope effect which aided rearward visibility. These types of Countach often referred to as “periscopo” LP400s are most sought after by collectors.
The LP 400 debuted with a 4.0 L V-12 engine which produced 375 hp. The power was sent to the rear wheels via 5-speed all-syncromesh transmission system. The engine was changed after the 5.0 L on the prototype was found to regularly overheat. This also led to the change of names to reflect change of engine.
It was fitted with narrow Michelin tires which resulted in a small coefficient of drag helping the car reach a terrific speed. The vehicle nearly hit the 180 mph mark but it failed to outshine the top-of-the-range Ferrari which had earlier outclassed the Lamborghini Miura. It was also fitted with 4-wheel Girling ventilated discs for braking. Other features included coil springs, A-arms and tube shocks. It is also interesting to note that the vehicle had twin- fuel tanks.
Later in ’78, after only making 157 models, Lamborghini revised the vehicle to LP400s. The new vehicle incorporated Pirelli P7 tires which featured massive rubber and required bigger fiberglass fender arches, a new suspension as well as a new brake set up. The automaker also added a V-shaped rear spoiler to improve its stability in high speeds. It is on this model that the trademark Campagnolo “telephone dial” wheels were first introduced. Years later, Ozetta electron wheels were introduced.
In ’84 the automaker added another variant, the LP500S. This vehicle used a modified 5.0 L engine. Lamborghini was now able to offer the engine without overheating. In addition, the new variant featured modified fender flares, and a front spoiler.
A year later in 1985, the automaker revised the Countach again. A new model dubbed the LP5000S QV was introduced. The naming represented its engine’s 4 valves per cylinder (quattrovalvole). Its engine was also increased to 5.1 L. Models meant for the US market were hooked up Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system. This pushed the car’s output to 420 hp while Europe cars delivered 455 horses. Other new features introduced were rocker panel air intakes to cool the rear brakes.
In 1989, the last model of the lineup was released coinciding with the automaker’s silver anniversary. The new model christened the “Anniversario” had numerous changes (550 changes in total) compared to the QV it replaced. Some of its new features included modified radiator intakes, an upgraded chassis, power adjustable seats, power windows, an updated air conditioning system and extra sound deafening among others. It was like whole new model. The Anniversario looked less aggressive than the QV. It was painted in silver metallic and featured a light grey interior. The last model of the Anniversario was put at the automaker’s factory museum at Sant’Agata, Italy.
And in 1990, the Countach era came to an end after serving as the automaker’s bread and butter for 17 years. The last Countach version is often regarded as the most prolific seller of the lineup as well as the best handling. Though discontinued its legend still lives on.
Performance and Price
The best performance recorded by the Lamborghini Countach make 1986 5000QV model: 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.2 sec, 0-100 mph in 10,0 sec and a top speed of 190 mph. Were produced 2,049 of these fantastic cars, price varies from condition of the vehicle from $ 300,000 to $ 2 million.
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