How iconic is the Lamborghini Countach? As Lambo’s incredible supercar turns 50 this year, the Italian automaker looks back on the genesis of Lamborghini’s styling DNA. The Countach’s ‘Italian Wedge’ body styling and all its elements are the basis for modern Lambos like the Aventador, Huracan, Sian, and the Urus SUV – that’s how iconic the Countach has become.
“There are works of art that always remain relevant, and the form of the Countach is one of them,” said Mitja Borkert, Head of Design at Lamborghini. “The Countach is comprised of perfect proportions, characterized by a very pure and essential approach.”
Starting life as Project LP112 in 1970, the Countach is one of the last models to be built under the supervision of founder Ferrucio Lamborghini. Created as a successor to the Lamborghini Miura, the Countach debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in 1971. Marcello Gandini of Bertone is behind the Countach’s luscious wedge design, while the development is under the supervision of chief engineer Paolo Stanzani and assistant engineer Massimo Parenti.
However, production did not start until 1974. And by 1980, Lamborghini Automobili went bankrupt. Brothers Jean-Claude and Patrick Mimran bought Lamborghini in 1980. The Mimrans sold the company to Chrysler in 1987.
The Countach went through many iterations since debuting in 1974. The earliest Periscopio models are the purest interpretation of Gandini’s design language. Meanwhile, the 1978 Countach LP400 S came with wider wheels and tires, bulbous fender flares, and a gigantic V-shaped rear wing. The LP5000 S model came in 1982 with an upgraded 4.8-liter V12 engine.
Production for the Countach ended in 1990, but not before getting an updated 5.2-liter V12 with four valves per cylinder, hence the LP5000 QV (quattrovalvole) monicker. And by 1998, Horacio Pagani (yes, the same man behind the Pagani Zonda and Huayra) created the Countach 25th Anniversary Edition, the most outrageous rendition of Gandini’s trademark shape.
It’s hard to look at a modern Lamborghini without seeing the elements that made the Countach a legendary poster car. That long and wide hood with powerful diagonal lines, the squared passenger compartment, and rakish windscreen are still evident in the Aventador, Huracan, and Sian – even the Urus. The Countach is proof that harking back to the past is the best way to move forward.
Happy 50th birthday, Countach!