Lamborghini Countach LP400

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  • "Countach!" This was the exclamation, used by Piedmont villagers on seeing a beautiful woman pass by, that the designer Bertone also exclaimed on first seeing the LP 400.
  • With its 375 hp, 4 liter, rear-mounted V12 engine, it could reach speeds of 180mph and remains the most virile sports automobile of the seventies.
  • The 1971 Geneva Motor Show, on the Lamborghini stand, something entirely new and alien attracts onlookers, totally eclipsing its neighbors; the LP500, the prototype for the Countach.

Ferruccio Lamborghini was a sports car enthusiast and a regular customer of Ferrari, owning a number of its models. He drove them regularly, but was not happy with their level of fit and finish and could see room for improving their reliability. This bothered him so much that he committed the ultimate sacrilege of making his feelings known in person to Maranello’s ‘Commendatore’ ... to which Enzo Ferrari famously replied: "You may know how to drive a tractor, but you will never know how to drive a Ferrari!"

By the end of the 1950s, Ferruccio Lamorghini was a wealthy industrialist and Italy's third largest tractor manufacturer. Enzo Ferrari’s famous put down was the beginning of a rivalry between the two men that would spill over onto the race-track. Lamborghini rose to the challenge and the Sant'Agata-based company was born. Automobili Ferrucio Lamborghini was set up in October 1963, barely a stone’s throw from..... Modena!

Thanks to Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani and a team of young engineers, the fledgling company was quick to develop its first model, the 350 GT, which evolved into the 400 GT interim model and the 400 GT 2 + 2. Engine designer Bizzarrini helped to conceive the V12 engine, while stylist Francesco Scaglione penned the initial bodywork which then went to Touring for fine detailing.

Even though this first attempt met with success, the ‘Raging Bull’ company didn't rest on its laurels and wasted no time in creating its first shockwave with the famous Miura, code named P400. Unveiled at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, this was the first sports tourer to have a transverse mid-engined V12, and is today still considered one of the most beautiful automobiles ever produced.

To be continued...