The Lamborghini Countach was styled by Bertone – Italian masters of automotive design. In its first incarnation, the Countach flew to a top speed of 186mph. That was exceptionally quick in the Seventies. Its engine – a classic Lamborghini V12 – produced 375bhp. Again – in the 1970s – that was a gargantuan stat. The models that followed output still more power.
Handling-wise, too, the Countach was well up to snuff. Mid-engined as it was, its gearbox was at the front – nestled snugly beneath the banana seats. Weight distribution was optimised. As a consequence, the Countach’s cornering capabilities soared. A 5-speed set-up only added to the fun!
Countach is a Piedmontese exclamation/expletive. In its mildest form, it means ‘wow’ – though it can have fruitier connotations! Certainly, the first definition was more than apt. Later versions of the Countach, though, somewhat over-egged the stylistic pudding. Pointless spoilers – and over-sized wheel-arches and ducts – bordered on the kitsch. To be fair, by the time such models hit the showrooms, the firm’s founders were no longer at the helm. Financially, it found itself in choppy waters. Latter-day faux pas notwithstanding, it was largely down to the Countach that Lamborghini stayed afloat. When it made its début – in ’74 – the Countach stunned show-goers. Lamborghini’s rivals were left reeling. In a way – over the course of its run – the Countach summed up the Seventies. Insomuch as it was a decade which could veer wildly between masterpiece and parody!