The Miura might have been the car that launched the notion of the supercar into the world, but the Lamborghini Countach was the true icon, the car that adorned the walls of millions of teenagers around the world between the likes of Farrah Fawcett and Madonna.
Indeed, the Countach was the Miura’s successor, and it moved the supercar game on in every conceivable way. They were from different eras, these cars – the 1966 Miura expressed a certain restrained elegance, whereas the 1974 Countach gunned for unsubtle machismo.
Even the name is a bold choice. Countach is the anglicised version of a light swear word in the Piedmontese dialect that as designer Marcello Gandini tells came from a man who worked on the prototype that was going to the Geneva show. What started as late night banter ended up being the car’s production name.
Part of the car’s exotic charm are the scissor doors – a production car first – and the evocative V12 engine mounted at the rear. The power unit was supposed to have a 5.0-litre capacity, but reliability issues meant a lightly upgraded version of the Miura’s 3.9-litre unit (370bhp) was popped in at launch, later expanded to 4.8 litres in 1982 and then 5.2 in 1985.
The LP400 launch car might not have been stratospherically overpowered, but it still managed a 0–60mph time of 5.4s and a top speed of 179mph – plenty scary 50 years ago. The first big update was the LP400 S in 1978, which saw the Countach gain its now iconic ironing board rear wing as an option (that lopped 10mph off the top speed but improved downforce and stability) and fat 345/35R15 Pirelli rear tyres.
The 1982 LP500 S got a new engine and an upgraded interior, while 1985 saw the arrival of the LP5000 Quattrovalvole. The LP5000 QV got the ultimate version of the V12 fitted to the Countach, the 5.2-litre version that got four valves per cylinder (hence the name) and a power boost to 449bhp. The biggest styling changes came with the 25th Anniversary Edition of the car (Lamborghini’s birthday, not the Countach’s), styled by none other than Horatio Pagani. The 1988 car was the ultimate Eighties wedge of supercar, leading the Countach nicely towards its Diablo successor in 1990.
A total of 1,983 Countachs were built during the car’s 16-year run – small fry for most other models, but impressive for handbuilt Italian exotica. Lamborghini has recently sought to mine the nostalgia with its retro Sián-based throwback, but aficionados will always look back to the original, even if prices have ballooned in recent years. Just beware that saving money on your purchase could cost you down the line... the Countach hasn’t calmed down with age.2023-12-01T05:07:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd