1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S Series II Designer: Marcello Gandini at Bertone
The Lamborghini Countach is a mid-engined, V12 sports car produced by Italian car manufacturer Lamborghini from 1974 to 1990. Its design pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high-performance sports cars. It also popularized the "cab forward" design concept, which pushes the passenger compartment forward to accommodate a larger engine.
The word countach (pronounced [kuŋˈtatʃ]) is an exclamation of astonishment in the local dialect (see Piedmontese language), that means "perbacco" or "accidenti" ("Heavens!").
The prototype was introduced to the world at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. Most previous and subsequent Lamborghini car names were associated with bulls and bullfighting.
The Countach was styled by Marcello Gandini of the Bertone design studio, the same designer and studio that designed the Miura. Gandini was then a young, inexperienced designer — not very experienced in the practical, ergonomic aspects of automobile design, but at the same time unhindered by them. Gandini again produced another striking design. The Countach shape was wide and low (1.07 metres or 42.1 inches), but not very long (only 4.1 metres or 163 inches). Its angular and wedge-shaped body was made almost entirely of flat, trapezoidal panels.
The doors, most often credited as a Lamborghini trademark, were a remarkable design feature for the Countach. They first appeared on the Alfa Romeo 33 'Carabo' concept car in 1968, an earlier design accomplishment, also by the talented Gandini. The doors have come to be known as scissor doors: hinged at the front with horizontal hinges, so that they lifted up and tilted forwards. The main reason is the car's tubular spaceframe chassis results in very high and wide door sills. It was also partly for style, and partly because the width of the car made conventional doors impossible to use in even slightly confined space. Care needed to be taken, though, in opening the doors with a low roof overhead. The car's poor rear visibility and wide sills led to drivers adopting a method of reversing the car for parking by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and reversing while looking over the back of the car from outside.
The pure style of the prototype was progressively altered by the evolution of the car to improve its performance, handling, tractability, and ability to meet mandated requirements. This began with the first production model, which included several vents that Lamborghini found necessary to cool the engine adequately. These included the iconic NACA duct on the doors and rear fenders. The car design changes ended with a large engine vent directly behind the driver, reducing the rear view. Later additions—including fender flares, spoilers, carburetor covers, and bumpers—progressively changed the car's aesthetic values.
The Countach's styling and visual impression made it an icon of great design to almost everyone except automotive engineers. The superior performance characteristics of later Lamborghini models (such as the Diablo, or the Murciélago) appealed to performance car drivers and engineers, but they never had the originality or outrageousness that gave the Countach its distinction. The different impressions left by the various Lamborghini models have generated numerous debates and disagreements over what constitutes "classic" or "great" automotive design (elegant looks and style, versus technical and engineering superiority). Despite the impracticality and (required/needed) updating over time, one should note that the basic iconic shape of the first Countach prototype revealed in 1971 remained virtually unchanged over an exceptionally long 19-year lifespan.
The rear wheels were driven by a traditional Lamborghini V12 engine mounted longitudinally with a mid-engined configuration. This contrasted with the Miura with its centrally mounted, transversely-installed engine. For better weight distribution, the engine is pointed "backwards"; the output shaft is at the front, and the gearbox is in front of the engine, the driveshaft running back through the engine's sump to a differential at the rear. Although originally planned as a 5 L (310 cu in) powerplant, the first production cars used the Lamborghini Miura's 4-liter engine. Later advances increased the displacement to 4754 cc and then (in the "Quattrovalvole" model) 5167 cc with four valves per cylinder.
All Lamborghini Countaches were equipped with six Weber carburetors until the arrival of the 5000QV model, at which time the car became available in America, and used Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. The European models, however, continued to use the carburetors (producing more power than fuel-injected cars) until the arrival of the Lamborghini Diablo, which replaced the Countach.
The Countach used a skin of aircraft-grade aluminium over a tubular space frame, as in a racing car. Although expensive to build, it is immensely strong and very light; despite its size, the car weighs approximately 1,400 kg (3,100 lb). The underbody tray was fiberglass.
Countach LP400 S Series II(pictures in attach)
In 1978, a new LP400 S model was introduced. Though the engine was slightly downgraded from the LP400 model (355 metric horsepower (350 bhp; 261 kW)), the most radical changes were in the exterior, where the tires were replaced with 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 tyres; the widest tyres available on a production car at the time, and fiberglass wheel arch extensions were added, giving the car the fundamental look it kept until the end of its production run. An optional V-shaped spoiler was available over the rear deck, which, while improving high-speed stability, reduced the top speed by at least 16 km/h (10 mph). Most owners ordered the wing. The LP400 S handling was improved by the wider tires, which made the car more stable in cornering. Aesthetically, some prefer the slick lines of the original, while others prefer the more aggressive lines of the later models, beginning with the LP400 S. The standard emblems ("Lamborghini" and "Countach") were kept at the rear, but an angular "S" emblem was added after the "Countach" on the right side.
There are three distinct Countach LP400 S Series:
Series one: The first 50 cars delivered with Campagnolo "Bravo" wheels in 1978 and 1979. The very early 1978 cars had the original LP400 steering wheel. Small Stewart Warner gauges, 45 mm (1.8 in) carburettors and a lowered suspension (lowbody) setting is a trademark feature of this celebrated first series. Halfway through 1979's production, bigger gauges were employed. 50 cars were built, and the last one is 1121100*.
Series two: These cars are recognized by their smooth finish dished-concave wheels, and still retain the lowbody setting. 105 cars were built, and the last one is 1121310*.
Series three: It is claimed that from chassis number 1121312 onwards, the cockpit space available was raised by 3 cm (1.2 in). These cars are recognized by their raised suspension setting. 82 cars were built, and the last one is 1121468*.