Lambo's superwedge was way ahead of its time.
An all-electric Lamborghini is inevitable, but the Italian marque's classic, raucous, V12 supercars will not be forgotten anytime soon. This year, one of those classics - the iconic Countach - celebrates its 50th anniversary. The distinctive design of the Countach still inspires modern Lamborghini models such as the Huracan several decades later and to celebrate a half century of this model, Lamborghini will be launching four videos online. The first of these videos showcases Marcello Gandini, the designer of the Countach, expanding on the lines of the supercar and the unique era in which it came to life.
The Lamborghini team was tasked with designing a revolutionary car that could replace the Miura, with a rear longitudinal engine layout instead of the rear transversal layout. This led to the transmission being placed in front of the engine and helped to explain Gandini's design. The Countach moved away from the curvier designs of the 1960s and shocked the world with its sharp, wedge-like profile, exceptionally low height, and broad stance.
"Form should follow emotion and nothing else," said Gandini, an approach which also explains the end result. Another highlight of the Countach were its scissor doors, which looked sensational but also made the car easier to get into.
The first incarnation of the Countach was the LP 500 prototype in 1971, followed by the first-generation Countach LP 400 in 1973. The LP 400's 4.0-liter V12 engine produced 375 horsepower and allowed the car to reach a top speed of nearly 300 km/h (186 mph). A mere 152 units were produced until 1977.
"People weren't used to seeing imagery that was so stark and so brutal," said Gandini when trying to put into perspective the enormous reaction to the Countach's design at the time of its reveal. In 1978, the LP 400 S arrived with larger Pirelli P7 tires, wheel arch extensions, and an optional rear wing that soon came to be closely associated with the Countach.
In 1982, it was the turn of the LP 5000 S. It had a new interior and an engine of close to 5.0-liters in capacity. It was followed in 1985 by the LP 5000 Quattrovalvole with its 5.2-liter V12; this model had Bosch KE-Jetronic electronic injection in the US and received a huge power hike to 455 hp.
The incredible Countach story concluded with the 25th Anniversary model of 1988, an unusually long production run for a single model. It wasn't massively different mechanically but achieved superior aerodynamic downforce thanks to smoother, more rounded exterior body elements. Fifty years later, the legacy of the Countach lives on.