Lamborghini Countach: The Bull is back!

Many Lamborghini fans could not have imagined this picture in their dreams. What the Italians have brought up in front of the headquarters in Sant’Agata is beyond the imagination of the full-throttle faction: next to the silver Countach from the 25-anniversario series, which otherwise ekes out its existence in the factory museum, is the prototype with which almost exactly 50 years ago, in the spring of 1961, the history of the super sports car was rewritten.

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And this despite the fact that the LP500 was sacrificed on the altar of crash safety in the development of the production model. Parked next to it in innocent white is another Countach that the community of expressive speed drivers has been waiting for since production ended in 1990: the new edition of the icon. Unlike the yellow debut, this LPI 800-4 is not a one-off, is at least in small series for prices of over two million euros, and 112 are built.
Lamborghini Countach

It takes a real guy to rule the Countach. Stiff steering, no driving aids.

It will take a while, and the prototype doesn’t really like to drive either. But because you can only understand the new Countach if you know the old one anyway, the Anniversario gets a run out again today and proves on the first few meters that it rightly bears its name.

Countach an exclamation of breathless astonishment

The Countach is one of the few Lamborghinis not to honor a fighting bull. Countach, in the Piedmontese dialect of its designer Maurizio Gandini, that is an exclamation of breathless astonishment. And that’s what the silver wedge still provokes today: On the tranquil Piazza of Sant’Agata, life seems to come to a standstill from now on, as the Countach rolls over the cobblestones with an evil rumble and strikes a pose for the photographer – and that, although the Countach calls this place his home. Even the church bells seem to fall silent and the barista’s coffee overflows.
That’s exactly how it must have been when Lamborghini pulled the cloth off the Countach for the first time 50 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, turning the world of super sports cars upside down. Everything that had hitherto rushed into the fast lane from Italy, England or Germany was suddenly yesterday, stamped as scrap by a car with an extraterrestrial design and crazy performance.
Lamborghini Countach

How many air slots fit on a super sports car? The Anniversario attempts to answer this question.

In the meantime, the 455 hp of the twelve-cylinder in its most powerful version may no longer be quite as spectacular, and the top speed of 300 km/h can already be reached by overbred middle-class models, but the look is still unmatched. Angular instead of organic, extreme instead of elegant, brutal, brute – an infinite wedge: None is more Lambo than the Countach. Since then, every car from Sant’Agata has had the same silhouette, and even the Miura has somehow been forgotten.

Getting into the Lamborghini requires agility

As spectacular as the car still looks today, it is just as difficult for the driver. Even getting in requires a certain amount of agility when you thread your way over the endlessly wide sill and under the guillotine-like door into the hip flask, which is only 1.07 meters high. The footwell is already closed with shoe size 36 due to overcrowding. And when the broken neck disappears between the shoulders so that the head somehow fits under the roof, you feel like a toilet duck on speed.

Lamborghini Countach

The front of the LP500 is much more wedge-shaped than later in the series. exterior mirrors? Only disturb the optics.

But all of that is forgotten the moment the 5.2-liter twelve-cylinder engine in the rear ignites and 5,200 small explosions per minute throw the load towards the horizon at 500 Nm. That it’s as hot in here as in a Finnish sauna after only two minutes? Free! The deafening noise? To forget! And you no longer have an eye for the comparatively loveless plastic ambience when your eyes are trying desperately to find a hold in the streaks of fast forward. Whoever grabs this bull by the horns feels chosen, proud and also a bit heroic because somehow one keeps this fury in check.

Countach has a lot of character

And that’s not easy at all. The comparatively small Pirellis are almost as wide as they are high and stick to the slopes like Pattex, but where today an army of electronic helpers makes every super sports car manageable like a city car, it still takes a whole guy to fight the king of the bulls.

The steering wheel craves a firm grip, the brakes after a heavy foot, and a bit of dexterity can’t hurt if you stick the comparatively long gear knob through the open six-speed backdrop. Anyone who has mastered this will experience the Countach as a speeding time machine on a sightseeing flight through Emilia-Romagna, which properly whirls history upside down. Because the car was so ahead of its time back then, it doesn’t even feel that old today – and has more character than many a Lamborghini after it.

Lamborghini Countach

The then futuristic cockpit was a design gimmick.

While the Countach makes a long detour via the lonely roads of Emilia-Romagna on the way back to the factory museum, life returns to the center of Sant’Agata. But not for long, because in a few months the developers will be finished with the new Countach. Even if design legend Gandini is said to be “not amused” about the reinterpretation.

The not even 1.20 meter flat flounder wants to be anything but retro. Instead, design boss Mitja Borkert put a cool wedge of carbon over the platform of the Aventador, which uses the same clear and razor-sharp line up to the bat ears of the air intake, but still points far into the here and now.

6.5 liters displacement and 780 hp

Under the hood, the Countach remains true to itself and still moves with the times. Because here a V12 engine roars in the rear, which has now grown to a displacement of 6.5 liters and delivers 780 hp – instead of 375 at the beginning or 455 hp in our test car. As a green fig leaf, there is also a small electric motor in the gearbox, which starts at 48 volt is fed and contributes another 34 hp.

You hardly notice it with so much power, and the Countach certainly cannot be driven electrically with it, but Lamborghini does not use a battery for this, but feeds the electric motor from a supercapacitor, which stores three times as much energy with the same weight.

Lamborghini Countach

Countach or rather a late Diablo? The front design of the LP800 is ambiguous. Fantastically beautiful nonetheless.

With at least 814 hp system output and more than 750 Nm, the new Countach accelerates to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and lets the original disappear very quickly in the rear-view mirror at 355 km/h at full throttle.

However, the ultimate test of the example is still pending – it is not for nothing that one of the first test drives for every new Lamborghini traditionally leads across the Piazza in Sant’Agata. Only to see how life suddenly comes to a standstill there and the barista once again overflows with coffee.

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