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The history from the first Countach to the last counterfeit (Part 4)
Part 4

Clearly, the Countach replica was going to require quite some breeding. The hopelessly ambitious people trying to create the Venom, had neither the technical expertise or the financial resources. Predictably the project soon fell apart. A company called Venom Cars L.t.d. advertised the car from shabby premises in Chapeltown Street, Manchester, through part of 1986 but, at just over 4000 pounds for the body / chassis kit, it is thought that only some six kits were ever built. And not all of them had a chassis.

There were problems with the chassis. Apart from getting the assemblies right, Venom Cars immediately ran into legal trouble. Words has it that GT40 replica specialists, GT Developments, had supplied the first chassis and that GTD were soon sueing Venom. You can imagine why…

The real significance of the Venom episode was that at last three of the company’s customers were subsequentially to develop their own Countach replicas. With the Venom’s arrival, a startingly michievous seed had been planted in other enthousiasts minds. There were plenty more entrepeneurs willing to feed that seed’s growth. The concept of copying a millionaire’s toy wasn’t going to lie down and die. At some point a decent car may emerge from this crazy situation.

One guy happy to walk away with a Venom bodyshell in his hands was Paul Lawrenson, whose Prova Countach was eventually to become one of the biggest selling replica’s of the lot. Another was Phil Cheetham, who took his time, grafted hard and eventually made quite a success story out of the Mirage Countach.

Due to the link-up with the chassis, it also seems likely that the GTD Countach, which was advertised in 1986, was directly derived from the Venom. GTD later sold this project to Broadbest L.t.d. under the name of Broadbest Primo. A particularly unfortunate tale, that one.

While these names were prematurely vying in 1986 and 1987 to grab the Countach crown, another company appeared under Darryl Kershaw, who had been involved in the GRP work on the first Venom bodyshell. So, when he set up Conan, also operating from run-down premises in Manchester, it was almost certain that his starting point was another Venom. Kershaw took a slightly different route though, fitting his Conan Countach to a Lotus Esprit chassis. He claimed to have made several but none have since materialised and, in any case, he didn’t last long.

The point was, it was too much to expect anybody to develop a fully working Countach replica within two years time. The job had taken lamborghini at least three years and even though the forgers were simplifying their body’s, chassis, power units and running gear compared to the true craftsman-made v12 original, the task of building any Countach was still obviously complicated.

To be continued