It is hard to believe that an Italian tractor maker would produce one of the most exotic, spectacular, and influential automobiles of its era. The futuristic and angular styling was complemented by its powerful V12 engine and finely-tuned underpinnings. Lamborghini had defined the 'supercar' with the introduction of its Miura in 1966. The mid-engine high-velocity coupe put the nascent carmaker on the map for ground-breaking performance and design. Replacing the Miura was a monumental task, but the extent to which its successor eclipsed the greatest of the 1960s supercars was shocking to all.
Like its predecessor, the Countach wore styling penned by Bertone's Marcello Gandini, with design cues inspired from his revolutionary Lancia Stratos Zero concept the year before. It was given crisp lines, dramatic angles, and an angular wedge. A prototype was shown in 1971 at the Geneva Salon but the production version would not be seen for another two years, with deliveries commencing in 1974.
The 1974 Countach LP400 was powered by the Miura's four-cam V12 engine, mounted longitudinally behind the cabin. It displaced 3,929cc, had a 60-degree cylinder bank angle, two valves per cylinder, and double overhead camshafts per bank. The stated power output was 370 horsepower at 8,000 rpm which was less than the Miura SV, blamed on the use of side-draft Weber 45 DCOE carburetors instead of the down-draft setup of the Miura. Further engine development resulted in a 4,754cc displacement in the 1982 LP500S, and then to 5,167cc with four valves per cylinder the 1985 LP5000 Quattrovalvole. Six Weber carburetors were installed on all variants of the Countach until the arrival of the LP5000 QV model, some of which used Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection to comply with U.S. emissions regulations.
Designer Paolo Stanzani placed the five-speed gearbox ahead of the engine between the seats, and the differential (driven by a shaft passing through the sump) at the rear. This resulted in optimum weight distribution and delightful gear changes compared to the Miura. After testing various chassis configurations, the production version received a full space frame constructed of welded round-section steel tubing. Body panels were built primarily of unstressed aluminum alloy supported by thin steel frames welded to the main chassis. Later versions of the Countach incorporated body components made of fiberglass and carbon composites. A separate fiberglass and aluminum panel was installed underneath the passenger compartment, as the spaceframe chassis did not have an integrated floor panel.
Lamborghini produced 158 examples of the LP400 built through the end of 1977. It was followed by the LP400 S in 1978, with the most distinguishable feature being the Pirelli P7 345/35R15 tires which were the widest tires ever installed on a production car at the time. Fiberglass wheel arch extensions were added to accommodate the width of the tires, and an optional V-shaped rear wing was available over the rear deck. A total of 237 examples of the LP400 S were built through 1981.
The LP500 S was built from 1982 through 1984 with 321 examples built. The bodywork remained unaltered, however, the interior was updated and the engine grew to 4,754cc.
The LP5000 Quattrovalvole arrived in 1985 with a 5,167cc engine fitted with 4 valves per cylinder - quattrovalvole in Italian. The carburetors were relocated from the sides to the top of the engine for better cooling, and later versions of the engine replaced the carburetors with a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system. The new location for the carburetors required a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some of the body panels were also replaced by Kevlar.
With the Weber carburetors installed, the engine offered 455 horsepower. The Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system helped the Countach comply with new emission standards in the United States, but it reduced horsepower output to 414 bhp.
The final variant of the Countach was the 25th Anniversary Edition, introduced in 1988, and mechanically similar to the 5000QV. It wore a restyling performed by Horacio Pagani with smoother edges, an enlarged rear 'air-box' intake-ducts, and refashioned fins now running longitudinally rather than transversely. by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2021
Related Reading : Lamborghini Countach History
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 a 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..... Continue Reading >>
In 1986, this Lamborghini 5000 S Countach (European Version) was purchased by a Puerto Rican tycoon and was sent to San Juan. He used it as a daily driver to visit his food warehouses around island. It was a show stopper in the Puerto Rico highway sy....[continue reading]
The Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole (four valves per cylinder), debuted in 1985 with a 5,167cc engine, producing 455 horsepower. The first owner of this 5000 QV was Trevisan Narciso, a successful Italian builder, investor and industrialist and longtime ....[continue reading]
In 1971, the first Countach prototypes featured a 5-liter engine, but production cars were built with the 3,929cc capacity unit, denoted as the LP400. It wasn't until 1982 that the Countach finally received the 5-liter engine that it was originally d....[continue reading]
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