A Retro Modern Masterpiece
Lamborghini has produced some absolutely wild cars over the years. Known for their aggressive styling, loud and obnoxious ear piercing V12’s, and dream filling capability, the brand has always dominated children’s walls with posters and memories. Although I was born in the 2000’s, I can say with confidence that my dad and all of his friends had posters of the menacing Countach on their walls, and that trend followed with myself having the Aventador, Diablo, Veneno, and more pinned up somewhere in my room.
But today, I want to focus on that first car. The Countach, aka, the Dream Machine. The Countach was unveiled in 1970 as the Lancia Stratos concept car, but was later fully revealed as the Countach in 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show. The car sported a mid-engine 3.9 liter V12 that would produce 370 horsepower, linked to a 5-speed manual transmission, all of which powered the rear wheels. The Countach was an instant hit for its aggressive and angular styling. However, there was an issue for us Americans. Like the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, the Countach was not produced to meet US or Canadian safety and emissions regulations. This led to individual customers having to pay for homologations once the car was state side, which stopped almost nobody. This led to the so-called “Grey Market”, where customers would homologate cars to fit the needs of the EPA and DOT (Countach, Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, and Range Rover were some of the first Grey Market Vehicles).
The Countach, LP400, was such a hit with clients that in 1978 they redesigned it. This became the Countach LP400 S. The engine was slightly downgraded to 350 hp, but to compensate for the downgrade a radical new design was made. The tires were changed to even wider 345/35R15 Pirelli P7’s, the widest tire fitted to a car at the time. Fiberglass wheel arch extensions were added giving the Countach that stellar and famous widebody look. This redesign was also the first to come with the famous V-Shaped spoiler, albeit as an option. Funnily enough, this wing actually resulted in a 10 mph decrease from top speed, but majority of clients still ordered it anyways.
4 years after the LP400 unveiled, Lamborghini decided to turn up the juices on there aggression, and out came the LP500 S. Although the exterior was the same as the 400 S, the interior received some updating and the engine was boosted to a 4.8 liter capable of 375 HP. However, Lamborghini wasn’t done just yet with the LP500. So, they added a 0 on to the end of the name and changed the engine, thus making the LP5000 Quattrovalvole (QV). The QV had some major changes to the engine. The engine was bored and stoked to a 5.2L and was given 4 valves per cylinder, thus giving it the name Quattrovalvole. The carburetors were also moved from the sides to the top of the engine to allow for better cooling. The design change also led to the iconic hump on the back of the Countach. Although limiting the already poor visibility, the car was beginning to shape into the poster child we know and love today. Also interestingly enough, some of the body panels on the car were replaced with Kevlar.
Lamborghini and Clients loved the Countach so much, they decided to produce one more final edition (sounds like the Aventador at this point). Given that the company was now 25 years old, in 1988 Lamborghini created the masterpiece that we know and love, the 25th Anniversary Edition Countach. It was mechanically very similar to the 5000QV, but this time the car had restyling done by none other than our favorite Argentinian: Horacio Pagani. Yes, the man who now makes some of the most beautiful cars in the world also happened to be the brain behind this masterpiece. The most noticeable of changes came in the air ducts that sit just above the rear fenders and the rear bumper. The air ducts were larger and more protrusive, giving the car its 80’s looks. The rear bumper also sticks out from the back of the car. The car was loved by clients. In fact, it actually outsold the Ferrari Testarossa, thus proving the capability of the car’s timeless design as performance wasn’t amazing.
The Countach lasted until 1990 when Lamborghini unveiled the Diablo, thus confirming the death of the Countach. The car that sat on children’s walls for almost 2 decades was being replaced by what would become the next poster child for the 90’s.
The Countach’s legacy is simply timeless and still carries into today’s day and age. If there’s a Countach at a car show I almost guarantee some parent will tell their child, “I used to have a poster of that car”. Hell, the owner will probably say it first. But that’s the power this car has. It, along with the Ferrari Testarossa, defined the 80’s. The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, even drove one himself. I mean, does it get any more opulent than that? The Countach is simply one of those ageless cars that probably will never die… in fact it’s been revived.
Today, August 13, 2021, marks Easter for Lamborghini fanatics like myself. Today, for the first time in company history, Lamborghini have released the brand new Countach. Based on the newly released Sian, the Countach produces 769hp from its raging V12 and another 34hp from an electric supercapacitor. Capable of about 803hp, the Countach, now named the LPI 800-4, will reach 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, 124mph in 8.6, and will max out at about 221mph.
The new Countach is riddled with design cues from the old one, but definitely has parts from the Sian, and cues from previous models particularly the Diablo. The interior itself is straight from a Sian as are the rear lights, but these are definitely added bonuses as they look fantastic. The hexagonal brake lights are simply glorious on this car. The engine cover and air vents are definitely reminiscent of the Countach, although the air vents look almost Diablo-ish oddly depending on the angle you look from. The LPI 800-4 has an almost identical hood inlet as the LP 400 did years ago, and the headlights are a great retro-modern restyle. All in all, the car looks fantastic and will probably be a pleasure to drive. As an homage to the Countach, I personally think Lamborghini did a fantastic job. It does take cues from the Diablo and definitely looks like an Aventador at times, but for a retro styled modern day car, it looks amazing.
As for cost, Lamborghini hasn’t confirmed a number yet, but rumors say $1,000,000-$2,200,000, which seems a little far-fetched. However, only 112 of these will be built, which is also the test name the original Countach had back in 1970 (LP112). Lamborghini will offer all of the original colors from the Countach’s original color palette while also offering a ton of modern colors. This brings the total choices to over 30 colors.
All in all, the LPI 800-4 is simply amazing. I know it’s controversial as it’s quite the lackluster Homage to such an important car, but for what it is I think it’s top notch. Not a 10/10 by any means, but maybe more like an 8-8.5/10. I definitely would have liked to see an LP 5000QV revival instead of an LP 400, as to me the most memorable part of the Countach is it’s absolutely ostentatious wing, but I can’t complain with what we got.