Like so many others, Phil Robinson saw the Countach as the ultimate supercar, but unlike most of us, he wasn’t prepared to leave it as simply a dream. As a young boat builder there seemed no chance of him owning a real Countach, so in 1980, long before replica kits became available, he started building a replica from scratch, scaled up from a 1/12-scale model. Although it was an ambitious project for a 22-year-old, his job at Cooke Brothers Boat Builders in Christchurch meant that fabricating moulds and working with fibreglass wasn’t unknown territory. Cooke’s didn’t just build boats; among other products they also created the Volkswagen Beetle-based Taipan sports car, building around 40 in total. With that experience, Phil chose to use a VW front floor pan with its easily adjustable suspension.

Four body shells were produced from his mould; three for others and one for himself. The project took several years and may never have been finished without the enthusiasm and pressure of other people. There were times when he was heartily sick of looking at it. He spent quite some time puzzling over how to make scissor door hinges, before finally giving in and settling on butt-hinged gullwing doors. He chose a Ford 3-litre V6 as the power unit, mated to a Volkswagen gearbox/transaxle with a reversed crown wheel and pinion assembly. The first test run revealed that the 1000kg replica was considerably faster than expected and too fast for its front suspension, so this was replaced by a Ford Cortina Mark III assembly. A full box-section chassis was also fabricated and installed.

Finally the car was completed and Phil had his own version of his dream car, never imagining that one day he would own the real thing.


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