December 2, 2016
A look back at the Lamborghini Countach (1974 – 1990) 0
On those days, when there’s not much in the way of fresh news stories from the motoring world, we can allow ourselves to reminisce a little and revisit some of the classics of yesteryear. Today’s choice is particularly special; Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the Lamborghini Countach…
From the moment the first prototype appeared at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971, the Countach was an instant supercar icon. The first production edition didn’t appear until two years later, after a intensive period of work, where a litre in engine capacity was dropped, and ducts and vents were added to aid cooling. With the dramatic wedge style rising doors, and a maximum speed claimed in the region of 200mph from its 375bhp V12, the Countach truly was a concept car designed for the road. Despite its remarkable appearance, the Countach was a much more dynamically complete car than the Miura, featuring more grip on bends, plus much more stable high-speed cruising.
1978 saw Lamborghini release the Countach LP 400S. It marked the first proper rethink of the original design, and made a good deal of sense, for despite all the power and performance, the first edition wore relatively thin tyres. The revision saw Pirelli P7s fitted, and the bodywork was slightly altered the help the new tyres fit. The suspension was rebalanced to adapt to the new wide rear wheels, and the gregarious rear wing started to appear.
In 1982, the Countach was supplied with a new engine, which helped recover some of the lost high speed performance that washed when the new body kit was added.
Lamborghini flirted with a turbo-charged version of the V12 4.0-litre engine, but this was shelved early on in its development in favour of simply expanding the engine. When the LP500S was released, it had gained 800cc and only 10bhp, but the higher levels of torque massively improved the supercar’s drivability.
1985 saw further improvements, and perhaps the most significant when the LP500S was brought up to QV specification. The recently-enlarged 5167cc Quattrovalvole engine, designed by Giulio Alfieri, took power up to 455bhp, drastically improving acceleration and moving head and shoulders above Ferrari’s Testarossa. This was the Countach above all others. A series of final alterations were made in 1988 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of Lamborghini. The anniversary edition was the best-selling, with 667 editions made. Visually, it wasn’t as impressive as earlier editions, there was also no more power than the QV, but the far more luxurious interior proved popular with late 1980s supercar buyers.