When it was first seen at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show the prototype Lamborghini Countach LP 500 powered by a 5 litre / 302 cui V12 with a Bertone body designed by Marcello Gandini was like the Muira before it nothing short of sensational. Unfortunately despite featuring extensive use of honeycomb aluminium in it’s construction, ironically unlike the later production models, the prototype was destroyed in European Countach type approval tests.
Appropriately the Countach name, Piedmontese slang for extremely beautiful women, lived up to the original, but production variants needed cooling intakes which broke up the smooth roof line. Due to a financial crises which resulted in founder Ferruccio Lamborghini selling a 51% stake of his company to Georges-Henri Rossetti in 1972 and the remainder to René Leimer in 1974. The first 1974 production iteration of the LP 400 Countach featured only a 4 litre / 244 cui longitudinal mounted V12 enough to give the car a 192 mph top speed though it was slightly slower 5.4 second rest to 62.5 mph time.
The second production Countach LP400S launched in 1978 https://www.psychoontyres.co.uk/had slightly reduced power, and only 181 mph top speed, but wheel arch extensions first seen on two cars commissioned by Canadian oil magnate and Formula One entrant Walter Wolf in 1977.
1982 saw the introduction of the 500 S with a 4.8 litre / 292 cui motor which took the top speed back up to 186 mph and acceleration times back to the same level as the original LP400.
In 1985 the 5000 QV with four valve cylinder heads was launched and a larger 5.2 litre / 315 cui motor as used in the, LM 002 SUV, which increased the power to well over 440hp taking the rest to 62,5 mph time below 5 seconds to 4.9 seconds bettered only by the Evoluzione which managed the same test in 4.2 seconds and prototype twin turbo 400S which got to 62.5 mph in 3,6 seconds with over 700 hp available.
Today’s featured car is a 1987 5000 quattrovalvole but without either the optional rear wing which took at least 10 mph off the top speed, or the dreadful seemingly Ferrari Testarossa inspired side skirts running between the front and rear wheels.
For 1988 designer Horacio Pagani was commissioned to rework Gandini’s original Countach lines into a model celebrating Lamborghini’s first 25 years of production. The 25th Anniversary edition Countach remained in production until 1990 when it was replaced by the Diablo. By 1992 2,042 Countachs of all types had been manufactured it remains significantly rarer than the Ferrari 512 BB of which 2,323 were produced from 1973 to 1984 and Ferrari Testarossa variants of which over 10,000 were manufactured from 1985 to 1996.
Thanks for joining me on this “Estremamente Bella Donna” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at what is going on with Brighton Speed Trials. Wishing all GALPOT readers and contributors a Happy, Healthy and prosperous new year, don’t forget to come back now !
Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !
In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.
If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.
It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.
You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.
Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.