Lamborghini Countach LP 500 (1971): the myth resurrected (video)

As it celebrates its 50th birthday in 2021, the very first 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP 500 is rising from its ashes.

After 25,000 working hours spread over almost four years, the first Lamborghini Countach LP 500 has been completely rebuilt identically to the original model, presented in 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show. This version, resuscitated on behalf of a collector, was unveiled at Concours d’Elegance of the Villa d’Este.

50 years later, the return of the first Countach

End of 2017, a vintage car enthusiast and Lamborghini customer asked the Storico Polo whether it was possible to re-create the Countach LP 500. The first few months were spent acquiring all the available material and doing a thorough analysis. « The collection of documents was crucial », highlighted Giuliano Cassataro, head of the Polo Storico. “We paid so much attention to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications. « 

Photographs, documents, meeting reports, original drawings, memories of some of the protagonists of the time: all of this helped to establish the form and function of every detail as precisely as possible. The support of the Fondazione Pirelli was also fundamental in providing archives to recreate the mounted tires on the original LP500 model.

Work began on the platform chassis, which was completely different from the tubular chassis of the Countach models that were to follow. In addition to redrawing it physically, Storico Polo had to decide on working system to use to build it in order to respect the production methods of the time. The same procedure was used for the body. Once the sheet metal striking phase was reached, technology gave way to traditional Italian system, produced by the « battilastra ». A similar process was followed for the interior, as on the 1971 prototype.

Do everything as in 1971

For all mechanical components, genuine Lamborghini parts or components of the time were used, or failing that, parts were completely rebuilt. For the historical reconstruction part, Storico Polo turned to the Lamborghini Centro Stile. « The LP 500 is of paramount importance to Lamborghini because it gave birth to the design DNA of all of the following models », declared Mitja Borkert, responsible for design. “To arrive at the car which made its Geneva debut in 1971, a 1: 1 scale styling model was developed which, like the car itself, has been lost over time, but of which there are still many photographic evidence. « 

« It is with this same approach that we decided to approach the project, » he continues. “From the publications of the time, images of homologation sheets and other materials collected at the Polo Storico, we were able to reconstruct the mathematics necessary to create the first model at a scale of 1: 1. The biggest challenge was to create the exact volume of the car, and for that we took the opportunity to take a 3D scan of our LP 400 (chassis 001), which was a huge source of information. It took us 2000 hours of work in all to arrive at the final model, with lines that satisfied us. The same procedure was followed for the interior ”.

Even Pirelli tires!

Thanks to the images and materials kept in the archives of Pirelli, it was possible to use the original plans of the Cinturato CN12 tire mounted on the LP 500. From these documents, the technicians of the Milanese company created the Cinturato CN12 of the range Pirelli Collezione, the current line of tires dedicated to cars built between 1930 and 2000.

Specifically, these tires for the Countach LP 500 were supplied in dimensions 245 / 60R14 for the front and 265 / 60R14 for the rear, and are fitted with same tread and aesthetics than in the 1970s, but with a modern compound and structure. For the choice of color, PPG records have identified, after careful analysis, the exact composition to produce the yellow color used, identified as « Giallo Fly Speciale ».

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