It’s been 50 years since the vicious, incredibly fast and notoriously challenging Lamborghini Countach supercar provoked the thoughts and desires of everyone who saw it.
It was on March 11th at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show when the covers came off the Countach for the first time, specifically a Countach prototype that was done in bright yellow. It was such a success that Lamborghini rushed to get production going, and the first customer examples rolled out the door just three years later at the automaker’s plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
The Countach had big shoes to fill. After all, the car replaced the legendary Miura, a supercar that is often referred to as one of the most beautiful of all time. Fortunately, the Countach’s design team was led by Marcello Gandini, the Bertone legend who wrote the Miura. Gandini was also responsible for the decision to use the scissor doors, a design feature that later became a defining element of Lamborghini’s V-12 models.
The Countach would stay in production until 1990, with Lamborghini even celebrating with one in the long term Model for the 25th anniversary– A car that a Mr. Horacio Pagani worked on. Nearly 2,000 countach models have been built over the years.
Lamborghini Countach LP500 prototype
The earlier examples had a 4.0-liter V-12, but the displacement was increased for later versions. In each case, the engine was mounted in the longitudinal position and coupled with a 5-speed manual transmission.
As mentioned above, the Countach is a challenging car. According to the veteran Lamborghini test driver Valentino BalboniIt has to do with the large engine, which sits a little too high in the back and makes the car prone to oversteer moments. For Balboni, the challenge is part of the joy that the Countach is.
You might be surprised to learn that the Countach name does not come from a Spanish fighting bull, which is common with Lamborghini names. It is actually a recording of a Piedmontese word that can have both positive and negative meanings.
Interestingly, there are rumors that Lamborghini could celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Countach with a special model. The automaker plans to introduce two new V-12 models this year, one of which may be a Countach-inspired model.