Hands up all those baby boomers who had one of those ‘Body by Lamborghini. High fidelity by Alpine’ Countach posters on their bedroom walls – quite probably the most popular ‘pin-up’ amongst adolescent boys during that period; with the possible exceptions being the one with Farrah Fawcett posing in little more than a skimpy red swimming suit and a massive, toothy smile, or the ‘cheeky’ tennis girl.

Of course, those days are far behind us – Farrah is long since gone and Lamborghini’s Countach would almost be considered as being a tad slow when compared to modern-day hypercars such as the McLaren P1, Koenigsegg One:1, Bugatti Chiron or Ferrari LaFerrari. However, no matter how gob-smackingly fast (not to mention gob-smackingly pricey) those cars are, the classic V-winged Countach remains a major attention-grabber, while the orchestral clamour of its V12 engine is still capable of raising the short hairs on the back of any true enthusiast’s neck.

And although driving a Countach provides a massive shot of adrenalin, the lack of ventilation turns the cockpit into a sauna on a hot day, rearwards visibility is minimal (even without that iconic wing) and reversing is something of a specialised task. And while that massive rear wing – which made its first appearance, along with larger fender flares, on the first special Countach to be built for F1 team owner Walter Wolf – adds high-speed stability, it also cut the car’s top speed down by around 16kph.

(Classic Alpine Tour photos courtesy of Cully Patterson, Jeff Williams & Paul Halford)

Countach Origins

Having first appeared in 1971 as a concept car designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, the first LP400 Countach, subtly redesigned for production by Paolo Stanzani, officially went on sale in 1974. Amazingly, the Countach would remain a current model until 1990, during which time the capacity of its V12 engine went from 3929cc (LP400) to 4754cc (LP500S and Turbo S) and then to the four-valve-per-cylinder 5167cc for the 5000QV and Anniversary models. Although the V12 sucked fuel through Weber carburettors for most of its production life, the Evoluzione prototype adopted fuel-injection. The original LP400 was listed with a top speed of 288kph, while the final production models were capable of 298kph. Most quoted figures indicate that 2042 examples were built, the most numerous being the 5000QV and 25th Anniversary models at 676 and 650 respectively.


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