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50 Years of the Lamborghini Countach

Posted by - Tim Earnshaw on 1 September 2021
Car Reviews

As Lamborghini celebrates 50 years of its iconic supercar with a brand-new iteration, Windrush’s prestige car storage team remembers the roots of a legend.

All hail the definitive supercar

All hail the definitive supercar

Ask someone to draw a supercar and it’s likely the shape will echo that of the Lamborghini Countach. Its shape is the very definition of supercar, transforming from pure lines to body-kits and huge spoilers as the car aged, but despite the changes, it never lost that ‘stop people in their tracks’ presence.

Read any of the period road tests and journalists will tell you how the Countach is cramped, noisy, impossible to see out of and that to reverse, one had to raise the trademark scissor doors and perch on the sill to see what was behind you. Despite all of this, the conclusion was that it was THE definitive supercar – hence the awestruck hush that still falls over the Windush classic car storage team whenever a Countach arrives with us.

From drawing board to production line

From drawing board to production line

Marcello Gandini designed the Countach for Giugiaro, and his car made its debut at the 1971 Geneva Motorshow alongside the stunning Miura P400 SV. Initially Giugiaro didn’t care for Gandini and refused him a job, but Gandini was patient, and when Giugiaro left for Ghia he re-applied and was hired. In fact,

Giugiaro had no influence in Countach, and its design was all down to Gandini who was keen to impress his own style on the new Lamborghini.

A yellow 5.0-litre LP500S appeared on the show stand in Geneva and stole the show, but at that time production was not guaranteed and it is said that a wager took place to determine its future. If test driver Bob Wallace could drive the prototype from Sant’Agata down to the Targa Florio in Sicily and back without it breaking down, Lamborghini would green light production. It did, and the rest is history.

Revolution & evolution

Revolution & evolution

First came the 1973 Countach LP 400. It was supposed to feature a 5.0 litre version of the Sant’Agata V-12, but due to packaging and reliability reasons, it received the familiar 3.9 litre V-12, with 375 horsepower. The LP 400 is among the most sought-after versions, with 152 units being produced between 1973 and 1977. If you’re lucky enough to own one, safeguard its value and performance with professional classic car storage.

The LP 400S arrived in 1978 which had different versions. Series One featured a low roof, low trim, smooth Campagnolo rims, and 45-mm carburettors. Series Two featured smooth concave wheels and a lower suspension. Series Three had increased ride height and a slightly more spacious interior. However, power was decreased from 375 to 360 horsepower, through the use of smaller, 40-mm, carburettors.

1982 saw another update to the Countach with a bigger, more powerful 4.8 litre V12 engine and an interior update. This variant is sometimes called the 5000 S.

In 1985, the engine design evolved to 5.2 litres and was given four valves per cylinder – quattrovalvole in Italian, hence the model’s name, Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole or 5000 QV in short. The carburettors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better cooling – creating a hump on the engine cover and reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost zero. In later versions of the engine, the carburettors were replaced with a fuel injection system.

Named to honour the company’s quarter-century milestone in 1988, the 25th Anniversary Countach, although mechanically very similar to the 5000QV, sported considerable restyling done by Horacio Pagani. The Anniversary edition was produced up until 1990 before being superseded by the Lamborghini Diablo.

Always a handful on the road, Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni himself said this was due to the large engine, which sits out back and is just a bit too

high, making the car prone to moments of oversteer. To Balboni, the challenge is part of the joy that is the Countach.

Up to speed

Up to speed

Today Lamborghini continues to produce the most flamboyant of supercars, following with the Diablo, Murcielago and Aventador as their V-12 flagships. But now the marque is reviving their most iconic name with the 2021 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4, and just 112 examples will be built.

Designed as a descendant of the 1974 model, it blends Countach cues with contemporary design touches. Features include a shallow glasshouse which mimics that of the original, black NACA intakes along the flanks, and distinctive ‘Periscopio’ lines running from the roof to the rear deck.

Power comes from a hybrid-assisted 6.5-litre twelve-cylinder unit, and the combustion element alone produces 769bhp, while a 48-volt electric motor produces an additional 34bhp and serving to sharpen the throttle response even further. We can’t wait to welcome the first one into Windrush’s classic car storage facilities.

Count on Windrush classic car storage for your Countach

The Countach lives on, and we feel that Lamborghini will be delighting supercar enthusiasts for years to come. As such, at Windrush prestige car storage, we have the passion, expertise and specialist facilities to offer the ultimate home for this legendary supercar – or anything else on wheels – and pledge to keep your pride and joy in a constant ‘ready’ state.

For the Countach and beyond, Windrush’s team is ready to talk you through our long term car storage service. Get in touch on info@windrushcarstorage.co.uk and let’s find your ideal classic car storage solution.

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