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The history from the first Countach to the last counterfeit (Part 5, End) E-mail
Part 5

By 1987, Countach replica kits were being offered by a big variety of companies: Venon, Conan, Prova, GTD/Broadbest and GB Racing sports. Word was also heard that another company, Cheetah Cars, from Newcastle, was working on yet another version. But Cheetah couldn’t even get it’s Cobra replica right, so heaven knows what became of their Countach.

One thing is for sure: None of that initial group of would-be supercar counterfeiters was finding it easy to fully develop and finish a demonstrator. The first powered Venom body/chassis was claimed to have seen action at Bruntingthorpe testing ground in the Midlands and was actually photographed at speed (no-one knows what speed) on a disused Wiltshire aerodrome the same year. But it was years before the car was fully completed.

Prova had a Renault V6 powered white car fullly road legal and working by the middle of 1987 – in fairness, that one seems almost certain to have been the first ‘official’ production-specification demonstrator of the breed. Broadbest might have had its Primo prototype running a little sooner, but that car could hardly be called ‘production specification’

As new names like Brightwheel, Silhouette, Sienna and ABS entered the fray, Paul Lawrenson’s Prova Designs thrived. Paul clearly knew something others didn’t, although Phil Cheetham’s Mirage operation was always beating a path towards Prova’s door. With the competition soon foundering, Prova and Mirage had the market almost entirely to themselves by the early 1990’s. Whilst most of the replicators had found the cost, skill, effort and time required in recreating the Countach far too draining, Paul Lawrenson and Phil Cheetham had found the answers.

Yet, perhaps quite startingly, still new names appear and new dream merchants attempt the difficult job. Despite the pitfalls and disasters encountered by so many, two more Countach replica’s appeared in 1992 alone. The predator 250, offered by Cybertech Developments of Birmingham, made quite an impact at the Stoneleigh Kitcar extravaganza in May 1992, with it’s Countach anniversary, dry ice, music and smart, miniskirted promo girls. First impressions were of a very well finished GRP bodyshell and a strong attempt at professionalism, but at the time of writing of this article (edit: 1993) the car had yet to be presented to press or public in finished form. Talking to the company since, it is clear that there’s no shortage of determination, resolve and finance to produce a top quality car, so it looks like this one must be taken seriously  (edit: anyone heard of them? If so, please let me know, send articles, etc.)

Unfortunally we can’t say much about yet another new Countach replica that is currently showing the first signs of life, called the Challenger 2000. The model made its debut on at Sandown Park in August 1992 in body/chassis form. Offered from an address in Helston, Cornwall, it was very much in embryonic form, having no doors, inner panels, trim, etc. etc. The chassis looked good, but who would dare to predict its future?

 If we’re going to be truly comprehensive, we must mention a little known company called Mastermoulds that began to offer Countach kits from a Bolton address around 1990 time. Did someone say one Gary Thompson, he of Venom fame, was involved? We don’t know, but we don’t hear very good things of the Mastermould operation. It even claims that its car can be build under 8000 pounds!

 All in all, so many companies have attempted to copy the great Lamborghini Countach that the whole scenario is almost mind-boggling. Just as the original car created a fascinating history, so too has the cheekiest of all replica’s. In this story you’ve just read, and in all the stories of success and disaster, I’ve tried to chart accurately the patterns of an extraordinary period of Britain specialists and kit car history. No need to say it makes intriguing reading.

When that first Countach show car appeared at Geneva in 1971, little could Marcello Gandini and Lamborghini have imagined the furore it would stir up. And no way they could have dreamed up that some 15-20 years later, replica’s of their neat little motor would be sprouting up all over the world. Some measure of the vast impact the stunning Countach has had on this planet.

Editor notes:
To sum up, in this article we have encountered no less then 14! companies that, at one point in time, tried or succeeded to sell a Countach kit. In the end, only Mirage survived, albeit changing owners a couple of times, this Countach kit now lives on under supervision of  DC Supercars (2006). Find below a list of all UK based companies, past and present that did a Countach kit:

Venom
Conan
GB Racing sports
Prova
Brightwheel
Broadbest/GTD
Mirage
Sienna
ABS
Silhouette
Cheetah Cars
Cybertech Developments
Mastermoulds
DC Supercars

If I am missing a company that you know of, please DO let me know.


 
The end.