Thursday, September 23

50 years of Lamborghini Countach LP 500

Exactly 50 years ago, at the 1971 Geneva International Motor Show, Lamborghini Countach LP 500 made its first public appearance. The unveiling of the prototype was so well received that the company raced against time to satisfy the customers’ requests and transform the futuristic show car into a production car.

The Countach project, with internal code number LP112, where LP indicates the rear longitudinal position (“Longitudinale Posteriore” in Italian) of the 12-cylinder engine, stemmed from Ferruccio Lamborghini’s desire to maintain the image of a company at the forefront of style and technology following the Miura.

The LP 500 was a substantially different car than the Countach that would go into production in 1974. It had a platform frame rather than a tubular one, it was equipped with a 12-cylinder 4971cc engine (one of a kind), the engine air intakes had a shark gill design, and inside it featured sophisticated electronic instrumentation.

Following the LP 500’s success in Geneva, Lamborghini’s chief test driver Bob Wallace used the car, equipped with a more reliable 4-liter engine, for every possible kind of road test. The career of this extraordinary car ended at the beginning of 1974, when it was used for the crash tests required for the homologation of the production car and subsequently scrapped. The dream lives up to today. From 1974 to 1990, 1,999 Countachs in five different series were produced, fascinating and enchanting (the bedroom walls of) an entire generation, destined to enter permanently into the halls of legend.

 

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