Image credits: © Lamborghini.

1974 Lamborghini Countach

1974 Lamborghini Countach Coupe
Designer: Bertone
Chassis #: 1120010
Sold for $1,870,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours.
Lamborghini would introduce the concept of the supercar with its Miura. However, Lamborghini would go even further, producing a veritable supercar that many would only behold in posters on wall or on the big screen. Its wedge shape and angular lines would become immediately iconic; a futuristic sports car that fit an age when reaching to the stars never seemed closer.

In 1971, Lamborghini would arrive at the Geneva Motor Show with something straight out of science-fiction. It was an era of discovery and adventure, especially about the world of the stars. Man was still making visits to the moon and people were still talking about a computer named 'Hal'. It appeared the future and the present had collided. Lamborghini was about to introduce the world to that concept in an automobile.

Merely years prior, the Bertone design studio had introduced its Miura design. At Geneva, in 1971, the design firm was to shock and amaze again as the new Countach prototype took its place in the show. Generally reserved for adoration of a woman's beauty, the name 'Countach' seemed appropriate for this latest Lamborghini. It seemed as though the future was possible in the present. Everything about the car was futuristic, and therefore, evocative.

Just 42 inches in height, but wide and flat, the new Countach appeared an unidentified flying object. Everything about the car was straight out of science-fiction. There was the cabin-forward design, the wedged-shaped body and, of course, the scissor doors. And, with a five-liter engine providing the power, customers would have their own rocket ship for the road.

Following the appearance of that first Countach prototype in 1971, there would be a couple of years before the first production models would be completed. Inevitably, there would be some changes from the prototype. However, in the case of the Countach, those changes could be considered some of its most iconic of identifying marks. The first series to enter production would be known as the LP 400. They would remain similar to the prototype but they would include the vents above the rear wheels and, of course, the large NACA vents positioned to either side of the car. While some of these revisions would help to make the Countach so memorable, they would also come with a cost, mostly in rearward visibility. Therefore, to counter the problems with visibility, the first LP 400s would come with a periscope-style rear-view mirror. As a result, Lamborghini would have another small family of cars known as 'Periscopo'.

The very first example of the Lamborghini Countach LP 400 would be delivered in 1974. In total, just 150 examples of the LP 400 would be produced. These would become some of the most desirable of all of the Countach models.

The sixth LP 400 to roll out of the factory would be 1120010. Completed on the 5th of July, 0010 would be delivered to Achilli Motors in Milan on the 26th of the same month. The car would arrive adorned in Rosso Chiaro, or light red, and completed with a black leather interior. Famously, it would be the Innocenti family that would be the car's first owner.

The car would remain in Italy until around 1980 when it made its way to the United States. Upon arriving in the U.S. the Lamborghini make its way into the hands of Gordon Apker. Mr. Apker would recognize just what a powerful draw the Countach was and it's noted this car made frequent appearances in Make-A-Wish Foundation events.

The Countach would remain the symbol of Lamborghini for decades. Owners would have just as difficult a time parting with theirs. Apker would be no different. Having purchased 0010 around 1980, the car would remain in his possession until almost 1989 when it would come into the hands of its current owner.

The current owner had been taken by the Countach the moment he had first seen one and 0010 was certainly a prime example having less than 11,000 miles on it and everything inside and out being original. Even to this very day, 0010 remains highly authentic, if not a window into what was supposed to be. This is evidence by spots of light metallic green paint underneath Rosso Chiaro. This evidence would suggest 0010 is so authentic that it demonstrates the color it was to be before the order from the Innocenti family came into the factory.

Even with the chipped paint exposing its intended color, 0010 remains a genuine, real-life illustration of Lamborghini and Bertone colliding present and future, science-fiction and reality into one 'remarkably beautiful' icon of a supercar.

The 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP 400 Periscopo would be made available for sale at the 2014 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction. When it was all over, 0010 would garner a sale price of $1,870,000, far exceeding pre-auction estimates.

By Jeremy McMullen
Ferruccio Lamborghini wanted to build the ultimate driving machine when he began production in 1963. Not luxury cars (no power windows and minimal interior comforts), and not racing machines, Lamborghini's are about power and speed, and the Countach is easily one of the most recognized of all cars.

When ordering this vehicle, Walter Wolf (the legendary Formula One team owner) had the factory add the Formula One style wing, flared wheel wells, a periscope window, individually cast mage wheels, and his own personally modified 5-liter 'super engine.' The original plans for the Countach had included a 5-liter engine that would have pushed the car's top speed over 200 miles per hour. However, the engine was not ready when the car was introduced in 1973, and the factory substituted their existing 4-liter engine. Wolf had the factory install one of his own engines and many of Wolf's other styling changes made their way on to the later production models of the Countach.

With the 5-liter engine, this car can go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 195 mph. The car's rack and pinion steering has to be able to respond quickly, and only a serious driver can handle this car at its top speed.

Source - SDAM
The Countach was the predecessor to the very successful Miura. The body was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, and given a mid-engine layout in two-door coupe configuration. It featured an attractive and curvaceous body with elegant lines and fitted with modern mechanical components and technology. The engine was mounted longitudinally and replaced the transverse layout of its predecessor. The transmission was now fitted in front of the engine offering excellent weight distribution. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a driveshaft, which ran in its own tunnel in the engine's sump. Top speed was achieved at nearly 200 mph with zero-to-sixty taking under six-seconds.

The Countach was first shown to the public at the 1971 Geneva Motorshow. It was dubbed the Countach LP500, for its five-liter powerplant. It was finished in an eye-catching bright sunflower yellow and had small air intake ducts. The production version, though similar in design, was a vast departure from the prototype version. The car customers received did not have the five-liter engine or the monocoque chassis. Instead, a four-liter derivative engine was mounted inside a tubular frame. Though the engine was smaller in displacement size, it was much more reliable and durable. The 5-liter unit had failed initial testing and was destroyed during a high speed test session. Part of the issue was the cars poor ability to keep the engine cool, which eventually resulted in larger air ducts.

The prototype car was destroyed in a European crash test demonstration. A sad end to a unique vehicle that could only be described as 'priceless' in the modern era.

The Countach had elegant lines that ran from the front to the rear in classic Bertone style. The only things disrupting those lines were the vehicles cooling vents, which were necessary to provide air to the engine. The doors opened in scissor-like fashion and added to the ambiance and exotic nature of the vehicle.

Two years after the Geneva Motorshow debut, the production version was ready for the customers. The cars were called the 'Countach LP400', again, in reference to the vehicles engine displacement size. The car remained in production for two decades; during that time five different versions and iterations of the Countach were offered. By 1982, a suitable five-liter engine had been created and could be found in the vehicles engine bay; three years later the engine evolved again, being given four-valve heads and increasing horsepower to 455 for the European versions.

The first individual to receive a Countach was an Australian who took procession in 1974. D. Milne was a member of the Australian Defense Force Transport Corps.

This car, along with most of the other cars built by Lamborghini had one purpose: To beat Ferrari. Mr. Ferruccio Lamborghini, a tractor manufacturer, had an argument with Enzo Ferrari. He had bought a Ferrari and had a complaint with the car. When he approached Enzo Ferrari with his comments, Enzo replied that the problem was with the driver and not with the car. He also remarked that Ferruccio was just a tractor maker and did not understand real engineering. The result was a super car dynasty.

The first series of Countach's were known as the LP400 followed by the LP400S in 1978. The engine was further increased in 1982 to 4.8 liters and the model designation changed to LP500s. The LP500S was Lamborghini's response to Ferrari's 'Boxer' car, the 365 GT4. It was called 'Boxer' because it used a horizontally opposed engine which resembled a boxer boxing. Ferrari's response to the LP500S was the Testarossa. Once again, Lamborghini answered by creating the Quattrovalvole that produced 455 horsepower.

Electric fans and large ducts located behind the door helped with keeping the mid-engine V-12 cool. By placing the engine in the middle, better handling was achieved through better weight distribution. The body was made entirely of alloy except for the fiberglass doors.

Trunk space was limited. Both the front and the rear had minimal compartments for storage.

A rear spoiler was optional and provided extra down force and stability. It also looked good as well.

In 1991, after twenty years of production, the Countach was laid to rest to make room for the new Diablo. There were 157 examples of the LP400 produced; 237 of the LP400S. 321 of the LP500S were created and 676 examples of the LP500S QV. The 25th Anniversary edition had some of the highest production figures of all the Countach's, second to the LP500S QV, with 650 examples being production.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014

1974 Lamborghini Models

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