Oct 27, 2011

The Legendary Lamborghini Countach

lamborghini countach 5000qv quattrovalvole 1985 1989 1 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 
In production from 1974 to 1990, the Lamborghini Countach is one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. It pioneered countless design aesthetics such as: the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look seen in countless sports cars of today (including most of Lamborghini’s models since); the ‘cabin forward’ concept which pushes the passenger compartment forward to accommodate a larger engine; and of course the trademark ‘scissor doors’ that lifted up and tilted forwards.

A beast in the 70s and 80s (and a personal childhood favourite), this classic supercar saw a total of 2,042 cars built during its 5-model, 16-year lifetime. Please enjoy a brief history along with incredible photographs of the legendary Lamborghini Countach below.
 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 2 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

In the beginning

 
The Countach was styled by Marcello Gandini of the Bertone design studio, the same designer and studio that designed the Miura. Gandini was then a young, inexperienced designer—not very experienced in the practical, ergonomic aspects of automobile design, but at the same time unhindered by them. He produced a quite striking design. The Countach shape was wide and low (42.1 inches), but not very long (only 163 inches). Its angular and wedge-shaped body was made almost entirely of flat, trapezoidal panels.

A single prototype was built, the LP500 (the 500 standing for the 5 L displacement of the engine which was intended to be used). Painted bright sunflower yellow, the car was a stunner at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971. Sporting Gandini’s original design concepts, the car’s design needed extensive modification for production. In particular, the small air intake ducts on the car’s rear shoulders proved insufficient to cool the engine, and large ‘air box’ scoops were added in that position. Large NACA ducts were added on the sides to give additional air. The experimental car was also constructed of aluminum honeycomb sheeting among other things, which was dropped for production.

The car did not survive; it was sacrificed in a crash test to gain European type approval. The Countach’s styling and visual impression caused it to become an icon of great design to almost everyone except automotive engineers. The superior performance characteristics of later Lamborghini models (such as the Diablo, or the Murciélago) appealed to performance car drivers and engineers, but they never had the originality or outrageousness that gave the Countach its distinction. The different impressions left by the various Lamborghini models have generated numerous debates and disagreements over what constitutes ‘classic’ or ‘great’ automotive design (elegant looks and style, vs. technical and engineering superiority). [Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 4 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

The Lamborghini Countach LP400

 
The Countach entered production as the LP400 with a 4.0-litre (3929 cc) 375 PS engine. The first production Countach was delivered to an Australian in 1974. Externally, little had altered from the final form of the prototype except at the rear, where conventional lights replaced the futuristic light clusters of the prototype.

The styling had become more aggressive than Gandini’s original conception, with the required large air scoops and vents to keep the car from overheating, but the overall shape was still very sleek. The original LP400 rode on quite narrow tires, but their narrowness and the slick styling meant that this version had the lowest drag coefficient of any Countach model and possibly the highest top speed. The emblems at the rear simply read “Lamborghini” and “Countach”, with no engine displacement or valve arrangement markings as is found on later cars. By the end of 1977 the company had produced 158 Countach LP400s. [Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 1 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 3 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 5 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 6 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 8 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 400 1973 1981 7 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

The Lamborghini Countach LP400S

 
In 1978, a new LP400S model was introduced. Though the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model (355 PS), the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tires were replaced with much wider Pirelli P7 units, and fiberglass wheel arch extensions were added, giving the car the fundamental look it kept until the end of its production run. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which, while improving high-speed stability, reduced the top speed by at least 10 MPH. Most owners ordered the wing. The handling of the LP400S was improved by the wider tires which made the car more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original while others prefer the more aggressive lines of the later models, beginning with the LP400S. The standard emblems (“Lamborghini” and “Countach”) were kept at the rear, but an angular “S” emblem was added after the “Countach” on the right side.

There are three distinct Countach LP400S Series:

Series One — The first 50 cars delivered with Campagnolo “Bravo” wheels in 1978 & 79. The very early 1978 cars had the original LP400 steering wheel. Small Stewart Warner gauges, 45mm carburettors and a lowered suspension (lowbody) setting is a trademark feature of this celebrated first series. Halfway through 1979’s production, bigger gauges were employed. 50 cars were built.
Series Two — These cars are recognized by their smooth finish dished/concave wheels, and still retain the lowbody setting. 105 cars were built.
Series Three — The cockpit space available was raised by 3 cm. These cars are recognized by their raised suspension setting. 82 cars were built.

[Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach lp400s 2 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by automobilemag.com

 

 

lamborghini countach lp400s 3 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by automobilemag.com

 

 

lamborghini countach lp400s The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by automobilemag.com

 

 

lamborghini countach lp400s 4 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by automobilemag.com

 

 

The Lamborghini LP500S

 
1982 saw another improvement, this time giving a bigger, more powerful 5 litre engine. The bodywork was unaltered. This version of the car is sometimes called the LP5000S. [Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach lp500s The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by Auto Clasico

 

 

lamborghini countach lp 500s The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by Auto Clasico

 

 

purple lamborghini countach lp500s The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by AARON HAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

Lamborghini Countach 5000QV (Quattrovalvole)

 
In 1985 the engine was improved again, bored and stroked to 5.2 litres (5,167 cc) and given four valves per cylinder (quattrovalvole in Italian). The carburettors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better breathing — unfortunately this created a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some body panels were also replaced by Kevlar. In later versions of the engine, the carburettors were replaced with fuel-injection. [Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach 5000qv quattrovalvole 1985 1989 2 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach 5000qv quattrovalvole 1985 1989 5 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by SCOTT597 on Flickr

 

 

lamborghini countach 5000qv quattrovalvole 1985 1989 4 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by SCOTT597 on Flickr

 

 

lamborghini countach 5000qv quattrovalvole 1985 1989 3 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by SCOTT597 on Flickr

 

 

The Countach 5000QV U.S. Model with the Ugly Bumper

 
For the first time, a US specification model was produced by the factory, with styling changes to allow bumpers to meet US federal standards (large, bulky bumpers were used that, to many people, ruined the smooth lines of the car). Although this change was the most notable on the exterior, the most prominent change under the hood was the use of Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection providing 420 PS, rather than the six Weber carburettors providing 455bhp used in the Euro-spec model. The 1985 US model had a base price close to $100,000. Only two optional extras were available: a $5,500 aerodynamic spoiler and a $7,500 sound system. As for other markets, 1987 and 1988 model Quattrovalvoles received straked sideskirts. [Source]

 

 

us american lamborghini countach with bumper 5000 qv The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph via ALDEN JEWELL

 

 

Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary

 
Named to honor the company’s twenty-fifth anniversary in 1988, the 25th Anniversary Countach was mechanically very similar to the 5000QV but sported much changed styling. The rear ‘air boxes’ were restyled and enlarged, while the vents behind them were changed so that they ran front to back instead of side to side. In addition, a new air dam and side skirting, both with air intakes, were fitted, and the taillights were restyled to be narrower, with body-colored panels replacing the upper and lower parts of the previous large taillights. The styling changes were unpopular with many, particularly since the intakes had strakes in them that appeared to mimic those on the Ferrari Testarossa, but they improved the engine’s cooling, a problem the Countach had always struggled with. It also featured 345/35R15 tires; the widest tires available on a production car at the time. The Anniversary was produced through 1990 when it was replaced by the Lamborghini Diablo. [Source]

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 black 3 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by SCOTT597 on Flickr

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 black The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by CHRISTIAN (PIXELKLINIK on Flickr)

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 6 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 8 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 1 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 
lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 3 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 4 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

lamborghini countach 25th anniversary 1988 5 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
Photograph by LAMBORGHINI

 

 

1983 monaco grand prix lamborghini countach safety car The Legendary Lamborghini Countach
The Lamborghini Countach Safety Car at the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix via Jalopnik

 

 

 

 

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lamborghini aventador j geneva real pictures 6 The Legendary Lamborghini Countach

 

 

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