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The history from the first Countach to the last counterfeit (Part 1)

Just like the replica’s, the genuine Countach suffered a long drawn out delay from prototype to production form.

A story from the original Lamborghini launch through to the last counterfeit.

They wandered around, they were confronted by an extraordinary, almost alien creation, they hesitated and they were transfixed. They stared in amazement, they gingerly moved in closer and they were captured by the encounter. The beast was outrageous. No-one had ever seen anything like it before.

The event was the 1971 International Motor Show at Geneva , and the incredible beast was the prototype Lamborghini Countach. Without question, it was the star of the show. It’s radical new shape was wild; Marcello Gandini had opened a complete new chapter in car design. It was mid-engined, using a thunderous 375bhp Lamborghini 4-litre V12 unit, and it was expected to achieve around 186mph. To add further sensation, it’s doors swung up and forwards, pivoting from the base of the screen.

Clearly, in creating this stunning supercar, Gandini’s imagination had been allowed total freedom. Maybe it had even run amok. Whatever, the deed had been done and now, following ecstatic response, the pressure was on to develop and productionise the car. But it’s structure and detailing were very complicated. The job was going to take time. Lots of it.

The first real Countach, by now named the LP400, appeared at the Geneva show in March 1973 – remember, the first car was little more then a show car, a pure styling experience. Although the LP400 was much closer to the eventual production model, more development was needed. It took until Geneva 1974 for the Lamborghini stand to feature the final production version.

With many, many detail changes made since the euphoria of March 1971, the first Countach proper was delivered to its new owner in Milan in April 1974. And then, even with the production line rolling, only 22 more of the gorgeous chargers were made before the year’s end. But at least the legend was born, an amazing chapter of automotive history was on it’s way....

Read further in chapter2!