The Lamborghini Countach celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. First presented at the Geneva Motor Show as the “LP500” in March 1971, the Countach was not originally intended for sale. The public will decide otherwise and the Italian super car will see the light of day in 1974, under the name “LP400”. A myth was born.
Marcello Gandini’s pencil stroke
The Lamborghini Countach celebrates its half-century. Born under the impetus of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who wanted a revolutionary car to replace the Miura, it was designer Marcello Gandini (ex-Bertone) who had this brilliant and futuristic pencil stroke, the very signature of the Countach, with its scissor doors.
The Miura received an engine placed across behind the passenger compartment. For the Countach, the decision was made to move it to the “longitudinal posterior” (LP) position for “long and rear”. It had been moved 90° and the 5-speed gearbox had been placed in front of the engine, at cockpit height.
The origin of the name “Countach”
The history of the name “Countach” wants it to be the only word that a Lamborghini employee managed to utter when he discovered the 112 project. “Countach” being an expression of the Piedmontese dialect that marks the admiration of men when a beautiful woman passes by .
Presented in 1971
When presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1971, the Countach is then a concept called “LP500”. It is equipped with a 5-liter V12 engine, originally designed in 3.9 liters of displacement for Lamborghini, by Giotto Bizzarrini. The reception from the press and the public is excellent and what was originally only an exercise in style will become reality in 1974.
The first serial model
The first production Lamborghini Countach was released in 1974 as the LP400. Its engine goes from 5 to 4 liters but the car retains its musculature, with six double-barrel carburettors responsible for stuffing the twelve cylinders of the beast, which develop a power of 375 horsepower. With such cavalry, the Countach is capable of reaching 310 km/h.
Crédit photo LP400 ci-dessus : Lamborghini©
The evolutions of the Countach
In 1978, the LP400 was replaced by the much more aggressive LP400 S. The car loses its elegance but becomes beastly, with very wide low profile tires and angular fender extensions.
In 1982, the LP400 S evolves again and becomes LP500 S, with a displacement that increases to 4.8 liters. An increase in power which was intended to compensate for the loss of dynamism inherent in the new anti-pollution standards of the time.
1985: the Countach becomes 5000 QV (Quattro Valvole) equipped with a new engine. Still 12 cylinders but the displacement increases to 5.2 liters with 4-valve cylinder heads. Power increases to 455 horsepower.
Finally, in 1988, an ultimate version was released on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Lamborghini’s automobile department and to mark the end of the career of the Countach, which would be replaced by the “Diablo”. A model with a body revised by the Argentinian designer Horatio Pagani, which will be produced until 1991.
A total of 2042 units of the Lamborghini Countach were sold between 1974 and 1991.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Countach LP500 concept, Lamborghini presented a tribute model: the Countach LPI 800-4, a supercar limited to just 112 units as well as a recreation of the 1971 LP500. Or when the past meets the future.
« The reconstruction of the first Countach required 25,000 hours of work and study and involved all departments of the companysaid Federico Foschini, Lamborghini Marketing Director. « We wanted to recreate the LP 500 concept presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971, the very one that, after years of road tests, was destroyed during the crash tests necessary to obtain homologation.”
» Few people saw it, but everyone fell in love with it from the photos. The attention and success we got when we presented this recreation was a clear and further sign that this car is now a legend.”
Founder of the Monsieur Vintage website on February 14, 2014, I am passionate about motorcycles, road trips and adventure. Attracted by vintage and neo-retro, I previously worked in various Marketing/Development positions for Auto-Plus, Sport Auto, Auto Journal, Le Journal de l’Automobile, La Centrale and then as an auto/motorcycle journalist for La Revue Automotive, ABC Motor, Vintage and Clubic Trends. Life is short, the world is big, there is so much to discover but in complete safety, so have a good trip and be careful.
Tags: 50 years Lamborghini Countach, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Countach