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.
In 2004, American car magazine Sports Car International named the car number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and listed it number ten on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.
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 word countach (pronounced [kuŋˈtatʃ]) is an exclamation of astonishment in the local dialect (see Piedmontese language), that means "perbacco" or "accidenti" ("#Heavens!").
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 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.