Lamborghini Countach

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Lamborghini Countach LP500S
Lamborghini Countach
Manufacturer: Lamborghini
Class: Sports car
Body Styles: 2-door coupe
Production: 19741990
Engines: 4.0 L (3929 cc) V12
5.0 L (4754 cc) V12
5.2 L (5167 cc) V12
Measurements relate to the 1988-1990 25th Anniversary Countach
Length: 4140 mm
Wheelbase: 2500 mm
Width: 2000 mm
Track: 1536 mm (front)
1606 mm (rear)
Height: 1070 mm
Weight: 1490 kg
This article is part of the automobile series.

The Lamborghini Countach was a supercar produced by Lamborghini in Italy. The first prototype emerged in 1971, and production lasted until 1990. It did not pioneer but did popularise the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high performance cars since.

The word Countach is an expletive of astonishment in the local Italian dialect, and somehow the name stuck. The word is somewhat akin to the American expression, "Holy Cow!" All previous Lamborghini names were associated with bullfighting (Ferruccio Lamborghini being an aficionado of the sport).

1986 Lamborghini Countach at Wheels Of Italy

In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and it was listed as number ten on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.


The styling was by Marcello Gandini of the Bertone design studio. 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. Its angular and wedge-shaped body was made almost entirely of flat, trapezoidal panels. There were curves, notably the smoothly coke-bottle wing line, but the overall appearance was sharp.

The doors, a Countach trademark, were of a 'scissors' fashion—hinged at the front with horizontal hinges, so that the doors lifted up and tilted forwards. This was partly for style, but just as much because the width of the car made conventional doors impossible to use in an even slightly confined space. Care needed to be taken, though, in opening the doors with a roof overhead. Also, for any large people to get in through the doors is a feat as they did not leave much room to get in (the doors had a nasty habit of lowering, then smashing shut on the occupants, a la De Lorean.)

Aerodynamics, however, were quite poor for such a sleek-looking car—but looking fast was more important to Lamborghini.


Power was by a Lamborghini designed and built 60° DOHC V12 engine mounted longitudinally in a mid-engined configuration. For better weight distribution, the engine is actually 'backwards'; the output shaft is at the front, and the gearbox is in front of the engine, the driveshaft running back through the engine's sump to a differential at the rear. Although originally planned as a 5 L powerplant, the first production cars used the Lamborghini Miura's 4 L engine. Later advances increased the displacement to 5 L and then (in the Quattrovalvole model) 5.2 L and four valves per cylinder.

The engine was claimed to be able to push the car to over 200 mph, but in real driving, anything over 180 would stress the engine greatly.


The Countach utilised a skin of aircraft-grade aluminum over a tubular space-frame, as in a racing car. This is expensive to build but is immensely strong and very light. The underbody tray was fiberglass.

Countach models

Prototype LP500

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 no longer survives; it was sacrificed in a crash test to gain European type approval, even though its construction method was utterly unlike production vehicles.

Production LP400

LP400 front-side

The 4 L production car was first delivered to a customer 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 rather more aggressive than Gandini's original conception, with the required large air scoops and vents, but the overall shape was still very sleek. The original LP400 rode on the quite narrow tires of the time, 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.


LP400 rear-side

In 1978 a new LP400S model was introduced. This car had wider tires with glass-fibre wheel arch extensions, which gave the car the fundamental look it kept until the end. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which improved high-speed stability at the cost of at least 10 mph of top speed. Most owners ordered the wing. Dynamically, the LP400S was a better car, the wider tires making it more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original while some prefer the more aggressive lines of the later vehicles.


1982 saw another improvement, this time giving a bigger, more powerful 5 L engine, which improved performance to be more in line with Lamborghini's somewhat exaggerated claims. The bodywork was unaltered.


In 1985 the engine was improved again, bored and stroked to 5.2 L and given four valves per cylinder (quattrovalvole in Italian). The carburetors 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.

For the first time, a US specification model was produced by the factory, with styling changes to allow bumpers to Federal standards.

Countach Anniversary

Named to honor the company's 25 year anniversary in 1988, this was mechanically very similar to the LP5000QV but sported much changed styling. The rear 'air boxes' were restyled and enlarged, and a new air dam and side skirting, both with air intakes, were fitted. The styling changes were unpopular with many, but did improve the cooling. The Anniversary was produced through 1990 when it gave way to the Lamborghini Diablo.

1989 Lamborghini Countach S 25th Anniversary

Wolf Countach

The most famous Countach was Wolf Countach that produced only three cars. In 1975, A Canadian wealthy businessman and the owner of famous Wolf F1 Racing team in 70s, Walter Wolf purchased LP400; however he was not satisfied with the LP400's engine. Then, he asked Dallara, the chief engineer of Lamborghini at that time and the founder of Italian f1 racing team Scuderia Italia in the early 90s, to create a special high power version of Countach. It was the "code NO 1120148" Walter Wolf special with the original 5. The engine from the Countach prototype produced 447 hp / 7900 rpm and reached a supposed maximum speed of 315 km/h. This machine was painted in red and it was also called "LP500S" (Countach was called LP500S in 80s, but it was different models). The machine currently exists in Japan. Wolf Countach had produced other two machines, one painted blue, NO 1120202 (Currently exist in Germany) and one painted navy blue, NO 1121210. (The machine had been owned by Mr. Wolf for long time, however he had already sold it. The location of this machine is currently unknown.)

Production Figures

A total of 2,042 cars were built during the Countach's sixteen year lifetime:

  • 1 prototype
  • 157 LP400
  • 237 LP400S
  • 321 LP500S
  • 676 LP500QV
  • 650 25th Anniversary

Substantially more than half were built in the final five years of production, as Lamborghini's new corporate owners increased production.


The Countach made famous in Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II. And in the cartoon

External Links

More from

Lamborghini Models
Current models: Reventón | Murciélago LP640 | Murciélago LP640 Roadster | Murcielago Spider | Gallardo | Gallardo Spyder

Historic models: Miura | Countach | Diablo | Espada | Silhouette | Jalpa | 350GT | 400GT | Islero | Jarama | LM002 | Urraco

Concept models: Athon | Bravo | Cala | Cheetah | Concept S | Flying Star II | 3500GTZ | Genesis | LM001 | LM003 | LM004 | LMA002 | Marco Polo | Marzal | Miura Concept | Portofino | Raptor

Owned Group:Volkswagen | Audi | SEAT | Škoda | Bentley | Bugatti | Lamborghini

Lamborghini road car timeline, 1960s–1980s
1980 - current timeline Next »
Type 1960s 1970s 1980s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Owner 20px-Flag of Switzerland.png Jean-Claude
and Patrick Mimran
22px-Flag of the United States.png Chrysler Corporation 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png Megatech 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png V'Power 22px-Flag of Germany.png AUDI AG
2 plus 2 400GT Islero Jarama
Coupé Espada
RMR V8/V10 Silhouette Jalpa
2 plus 2 Urraco
V12 Miura Countach
Founder: Ferruccio Lamborghini | Lamborghini Corporate website | A brand of the VWAG group
« Previous Lamborghini road car timeline, 1980s–2000s – part of the Volkswagen Group
1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3
Owner ← Receivership 20px-Flag of Switzerland.png Jean-Claude
and Patrick Mimran
22px-Flag of the United States.png Chrysler Corporation 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png Megatech 22px-Flag of Indonesia.svg.png V'Power 22px-Flag of Germany.png AUDI AG
Mid/RWD V8 Jalpa
Mid/4WD V10 Gallardo*
Sesto Elemento
V12 <··· Countach Diablo Murciélago Aventador
Front/4WD V12 LM002
Founder: Ferruccio Lamborghini | Lamborghini Corporate website | A brand of the VWAG group

Bertone Designs
Abarth: 1952 Abarth 1500 Coupé | 1958 Abarth 1000 GT Coupé | 1965 Abarth OT 1000 Spider

Alfa Romeo: 1953 Alfa Romeo BAT-5 | 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 Sport Spider | 1954 Alfa Romeo 2000 Sportiva | 1954 Alfa Romeo BAT-7 | 1954 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint | 1955 Alfa Romeo BAT-9 | 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale | 1962 Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint | 1962 Alfa Romeo GTA | 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale | 1964 Alfa Romeo Canguro | 1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior | 1967 Alfa Romeo Montreal | 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo | 1976 Alfa Romeo Navajo | 1978 Alfa Romeo Alfetta | 1980 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000 | 1983 Alfa Romeo Delfino | 2003 Alfa Romeo GT
ASA: 1962 ASA Coupé
Bertone: 1970 Bertone Berlinetta | 1992 Bertone Blitz | 2003 Bertone Birusa
Ferrari: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso | 1974 Ferrari 208/308 GT4 | 1976 Ferrari Rainbow
Fiat: 1967 Fiat Dino Coupé | 1968 Fiat 850Sport Spider | 1978 Fiat Ritmo/Strada | Fiat X1/9
ISO: 1962 Iso Rivolta | 1965 Iso Grifo | 1969 Iso Lele
Lamborghini: 1967 Lamborghini Marzal | 1967 Lamborghini Miura | 1968 Lamborghini Espada | 1970 Lamborghini Urraco | 1971 Lamborghini Countach | 1974 Lamborghini Bravo | 1980 Lamborghini Athon | 1988 Lamborghini Genesis | 1990 Lamborghini Diablo
Lambretta: 1968 Lambretta Luna line: Lui, Vega & Cometa | 1969 Lambretta GP/DL Scooter
Lancia: 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero | 1972 Lancia Stratos | 1978 Lancia Sibilo
Maserati: 1972 Maserati Khamsin | 1974 Maserati Quattroporte II