1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Concept - The undisputed star 50 years ago | Cars Blog

More than 50 years ago at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the undisputed star of the event was introduced: the yellow Lamborghini Countach LP500. At 10 a.m. in the exhibition space of Carrozzeria Bertone, this prototype made its first public appearance. Its launch was so successful that the company had to race against time to meet customer requests and turn the show car of the future into a production car, albeit with a small series. The decision to present the Countach LP500 in the Carrozzeria Bertone space was motivated by the fact that the Lamborghini booth featured the latest appearance of the House of the Raging Bull: Miura SV, completed after five years of production. With this dual presentation, Lamborghini communicated and affirmed its strength not only in production but especially in innovation.

Project Countach, with internal code LP112, where the LP indicates the rear longitudinal position ("Longitudinale Posteriore" in Italian) of the 12-cylinder engine, stemmed from Ferruccio Lamborghini's desire to maintain its image. image of a company at the forefront of style and technology in the Miura era.

At the top of this record-breaking achievement is engineer Paolo Stanzani, who has worked for Lamborghini since 1963, and in 1968 was appointed General Director and Technical Director, responsible for Countach's mechanical division. .

The beautiful, clean, futuristic lines of the Countach, still so after 50 years, were styled by Marcello Gandini, Design Director of Carrozzeria Bertone. Gandini was also responsible for the decision to use the scissor doors, which since that time have characterized the production of Lamborghini's 12-cylinder models. The LP500 was a substantially different car than the Countach that would go into production in 1974. It had a platform frame rather than a tubular one, it was equipped with a 12-cylinder 4971cc engine (one of a kind), the engine air intakes had a shark gill design, and inside it featured sophisticated electronic instrumentation.

The origin of the name of this car lies in the dialect of the Piedmont region. In its final stages of assembly, the car was hidden in a shed for agricultural machinery on a farm near Grugliasco (province of Turin) to avoid possible work stoppages related to labor unrest, and was "discovered" by a farmer who exclaimed in amazement and enthusiasm, "Countach!" (a word in Piedmontese dialect expressing wonderment). When Piedmont-born Marcello Gandini became aware of the fact, he thought that this word had a particularly strong communicative force and also convinced Nuccio Bertone, Ferruccio Lamborghini and his colleague Paolo Stanzani of this.

Following the LP500's success in Geneva, Lamborghini's chief test driver Bob Wallace used the car, equipped with a more reliable 4-liter engine, for every possible kind of road test. The career of this extraordinary car ended at the beginning of 1974, when it was used for the crash tests required for the homologation of the production car and subsequently scrapped.

From 1974 to 1990, 1,999 Countachs in five different series were produced, representing a model that, in addition to ending up displayed on the bedroom walls of an entire generation and being used in dozens of films, allowed Lamborghini to survive the most difficult years of its history and to enter permanently into the halls of legend.

2021 reconstruction project

The Countach LP 500 has returned, entered in the class reserved for concept cars at the 2021 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. It is a passionate reconstruction carried out by Automobili Lamborghini's Polo Storico that required over 25,000 hours of work on behalf of an important collector. The contribution of the Lamborghini Centro Stile was fundamental in the reconstruction of the bodywork and supervision of the styling.

"The Countach reinvented high-performance cars," said Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, "and it became an icon in terms of stylistic language that even today, after decades, still inspires contemporary Lamborghinis. Bringing the reconstruction of the first Countach to the concept class of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, in the year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this model, is something extraordinary because it allows us to admire the legendary 1971 LP 500 in person for the first time in so many years."

At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1971, Automobili Lamborghini presented its "idea car", the LP 500 Countach. The car immediately became the star of the show, and the photographs of it, which went viral, were published in major magazines around the world. This new model was conceived to replace the legendary Miura and wrote a new page in the history of the automobile, both for its technology and design. After three years of development, the LP 500 was sacrificed in crash tests in March 1974 and then disappeared.

At the end of 2017, a classic car aficionado and important Lamborghini customer asked Polo Storico if there was any possibility of creating a reconstruction of the Countach LP 500, a legendary model known only through photographs of the time.

The first months were spent acquiring all the material available and undertaking an in-depth analysis. "The collection of documents was crucial," underscored Giuliano Cassataro, Head of Service and Polo Storico. "There had been so much attention paid to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications." Photographs, documents, meeting reports, original drawings, and the memories of some the protagonists of the time: all this contributed to establishing the form and function of every single detail as accurately as possible. The support of Fondazione Pirelli was also fundamental in providing historical archive material to recreate the tires mounted on the original LP500 model.

The work began on the platform chassis, completely different from the tubular frame of the Countach models that would follow. In addition to physically redesigning it, Polo Storico had to decide which work system to use for building it in order to respect the production methods of the time. The same procedure was used for the bodywork, with various modern technological instruments employed for its analysis and definition. Once the sheet metal beating phase was reached, technology gave way to the traditional Italian system, carried out by the "battilastra" with his creativity and tools. A similar process was followed for the interior, which included the lighted diagnostic instruments, as shown on the 1971 prototype.

For all the mechanical components, as in 1971, original Lamborghini spare parts or restored components of the time were used, or failing that, parts were completely rebuilt.

For the historic reproduction of the original design, Polo Storico turned to the Lamborghini Centro Stile, where the team led by Mitja Borkert, Head of Design, embarked on a very challenging project. "The LP 500 is of paramount importance to Lamborghini as it forms the design DNA of all subsequent models." Mitja Borkert said. "To get the car to its debut in Geneva in 1971, a 1:1 scale styling model was developed, along with the car itself which has been lost to time, but extensive photographic evidence. about it remains. This is the same approach as we. Decided to tackle the project. Started with the publications of the time, from the pictures on the homologous papers and other documents recovered from it. Polo Storico, we were able to reconstruct the math needed to create the first 1:1 scale model.The biggest challenge was to create the exact mass of the car and because of this we were able to do that. used the opportunity to 3D shoot our LP 400 (chassis 001), which is a huge source of information.It took us 2000 hours of work to come to the final model, whose contours made us satisfied. The same procedure was followed for the interior."

The partnership with Pirelli - which has existed since 1963 - to rebuild the tires mounted on the LP 500 prototype has proven invaluable. Thanks to the images and documents kept in the archives of the Fondazione Pirelli, one can use the original plans of the Cinturato CN12 tires fitted on the LP 500 for its debut in Geneva. From these documents, the technicians of the Milanese company began to create the Cinturato CN12 of the Pirelli Collezione series, a tire line today dedicated to the most iconic cars built between 1930 and 2000. , preserving the originality of rubber by combining a classic image with modern technology. Specifically, Pirelli Cinturato CN12 tires for the Lamborghini Countach LP 500 are offered in sizes 245/60R14 for the front and 265/60R14 for the rear,

When it comes to color selection, the PPG archives prove to be very important, making it possible for us to determine, after careful analysis, the exact ingredient used to produce the yellow color used. is "Giallo Fly Speciale". 

1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Concept - The undisputed star 50 years ago | Cars Blog 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Concept - The undisputed star 50 years ago  | Cars Blog Reviewed by Dang Nhan on October 24, 2021 Rating: 5

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