first day Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to establish his own sports car
factory, the only idea in his
mind was: knock down Ferrari
! Within 3 years, he did that with Miura, a mid-engined V12 supercar with
beautiful look and incomparable speed.
Having fulfilled the original
goal, his next dream was to create an all-time greatest supercar. That
car should be
unbounded by any existing
rules, should be so outstanding that no word could describe its excellence.
Therefore he named this car "Countach", an Italian word simply meaning
"Wow ! Look at this !".
Miura, the fastest car in
the world then, could run up to 172 mph. Countach, on the other hand, aimed
at 200 mph. Yes, it was TWO HUNDRED MPH. Besides, it should have an appearance
that could stun everybody. Having these 2 basic goals in his mind, Ferruccio
Lamborghini ordered his engineering team to start the project.
was developed under the leadership of chief engineer Paolo Stanzani, although
some technical background came from Miura, which was penned by Giampaolo
Dallara (the famous chassis expert for Formula 3).
From the beginning, Stanzani
chose the most advanced technology available (most expensive, too) without
the slightest hesitation, these included:
V12 engine with 4 camshafts
Space frame chassis
At nearly the same time,
Bertone studio was chosen to responsible for the styling. Very lucky, Nuccio
Bertone had already recruited a young and ingenious designer, Marcello
Gandini. This man created a really stunning design for Countach. Without
installing an engine, the so-called "Countach LP500" prototype was unveiled
in Geneva motor show 1971 and immediately became the star of the show.
In fact, more work need to be
done for production. Gandini's design obviously lacked practical concern
because of his non-technical background. When chief tester Bob Wallace
methodically sorted out the problems, a so-called "NACA" duct was added
behind each door in order to draw sufficient air for engine cooling. A
pair of big "air boxes" was also added behind the side windows for the
same purpose. However, one of the most important gimmicks, scissors doors,
was retained as a unique feature of Countach.
LP500 prototype shown in 1971. Notice its pure lines compared with the
tail was even more stunning.
When Lamborghini showed the
car again in the 1973 Geneva show, it was very much closer to production.
Next year's Geneva show displayed a real production Countach, now called
LP400 because it adopted V12 displacing roughly 4 litres instead of the
originally proposed 5 litres. The bigger engine was discarded because of
In April 1974, the first
Countach was delivered to a customer in Milan.
you spot the difference between this LP400
the LP500 prototype ?
pure, more aggressive.