The story of the Countach is that of a team of engineers and designers who decided to launch a very ambitious challenge: they were going to astound the car world, with something very different yet as iconic and recognizable as Miura.
The prototype was shown in Geneva, and the year was 1971. The atmosphere there was the same, and we presented the prototype of a supercar that looked as though it had come straight from the future.
But it was the Lamborghini Countach’s futuristic shape that made a clean break with the past: the wedge-shaped design and the vertically rotating scissor doors became icons of style. To say nothing of the chassis, a creative masterpiece by Marcello Gandini and Paolo Stanzani, with its mid-rear-mounted engine and gearbox, but with the latter almost inside the passenger compartment.
It took until the Geneva Car Show in 1973 for the prototype to become a series car – though it was finally perfected and defined in every detail the following year – but it was something radically different. The engine was a 375 HP four-litre, and its air intakes and windows were completely revolutionised. An absolute marvel with a top speed of 315 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 6 seconds, Countach was the fastest among the cars of that time.
Countach: a car as amazing as the name it bears. One anecdote about this is fascinating, to say the least, and only helped the legend grow. They say that a member of the safety staff at the Bertone studio, upon seeing the prototype for the first time, exclaimed “Contacc!” – a term in the Piedmontese dialect that expresses absolute amazement and surprise. He just couldn’t believe his eyes.