1989 Lamborghini Countach Still Has What It Takes to Blow Your Mind

1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition article highlights:

  • Few cars command as much attention as a 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition
  • YouTube team Throttle House recently drove one and called it “the most physical, intense driving experience [they’ve] ever had”
  • These wild, raw 1980s supercars are going up in value because of their looks, performance, and cultural impact

What makes a car iconic? Though you can classify classic cars by age, ‘icon’ status is much harder to earn. And no matter how big the marketing budget is, it can’t buy that status. But if your car adorns countless bedroom walls and embodies a pop culture era so well that it’s named a National Historic Vehicle, that’s a pretty good sign it deserves to be called ‘icon.’ And a recent video shows why the 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition is just such a car.

The Lamborghini Countach still belongs on posters

Lamborghini didn’t invent the term ‘supercar’ with the Countach: that honor technically belongs to the Miura. However, if you look up ‘poster car’ in a dictionary, it probably just displays a picture of a Countach. I mean, how many cars are named after an NSFW Piedmontese expression of awe and wonder? And that was in its ‘70s incarnation.

No, that’s not a typo. After showing the Countach LP 500 concept in 1971, Lamborghini launched the production version in 1974. However, it didn’t arrive on U.S. shores until 1982. By that point, it had already gained some of the flares, intakes, and wedges that made it such a 1980s machine. And it had already played a leading role in the original Cannonball Run movie, just one of several silver screen appearances that propelled it to icon status. But the best—or rather, wedgiest—was yet to come.

It arrived in 1988 for the 1989 model year: the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition. With bodywork penned by Horacio Pagani—yes, that Pagani—and a rocking rear wing, the Countach 25th Anniversary looked like nothing else on the road. And over 30 years later, it still draws attention like nothing else.

The photos you see above? They’re from a Chicagoland exotic car rally that featured Vipers, GT-Rs, NSXs, and more 911s than you could count. Yet when that Countach LP5000 QV pulled up, everyone ran towards it like kids chasing a summertime ice cream truck. The Miura might be the OG supercar, but the Countach remains ‘the’ supercar.

And not just because of its looks.

The 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition’s head-turning looks match its neck-snapping, forward-thinking performance

A silver 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition driving around a mountain road
1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition | Lamborghini

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1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition
Engine5.2-liter V12
Horsepower455 hp (Europe)
420 hp (US)
Torque369 lb-ft (Europe)
341 lb-ft (US)
TransmissionFive-speed manual
Curb weight3280 lbs
0-60 mph time4.2 seconds

Compared to its reborn LPI 800-4 incarnation, the 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition doesn’t seem that impressive. It has less than 500 hp, only five gears, and neither hybrid assistance nor AWD. But take a closer look at those numbers, that build date, and that engine.

In 1989, the ultimate Countach was the fastest production car in the world, Hagerty says, topping out at 186 mph. That speed came not just from the 5.2-liter V12, but also from its racecar-like design featuring aluminum bodywork and a tubular space frame. The so-called Wolf Countaches—no Wall Street relation—had even more race car touches, including wider tires, upgraded brakes, sportier suspension, and faster steering racks. And if you look closely, you’ll recognize their familiar rear wings.

Admittedly, the rear wing on the 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition doesn’t produce downforce. But that’s because its wedge-tastic body produced too much front-end lift, Hagerty explains. However, Pagani’s changes did improve engine cooling.

And speaking of engines, that V12 didn’t just set a record for lowest EPA-record fuel economy. It’s part of a lineage that extended through the last Murcielago. In addition, because the five-speed transmission is mounted ahead of it, the driveshaft passes through its oil sump. A bit complicated, sure, but this arrangement improved weight distribution and led to Lamborghini’s first AWD system. And while the Aventador has a different V12, it still has this same driveshaft layout.

Plus, in 1989, 455 hp was a mind-boggling figure. That’s over 65 more horsepower than the other 1980s supercar poster child, the Ferrari Testarossa, makes. Hence why the Lamborghini Countach is faster.

But more shocking than the outright performance is how it feels to experience it.

Loud, raw, ridiculous, terrifying, epic—this supercar deserves its superlatives

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Fun fact: the earliest Lamborghini Countach models are called ‘Periscopo’ due to the periscope-like devices on their roofs. They need those devices because of how non-existent the rear visibility is. It’s so bad that the official Countach reversing technique involves a spotter and leaning out of the open scissor door. And that’s arguably the least extreme part of driving this bonkers “acid trip of a supercar,” Throttle House says.

The clutch, for example, is ridiculously heavy, as is the steering, while shifting the dog-leg manual is a full arm workout. And apart from the not-very-good brakes, these are the only things standing between you and that V12 screaming angrily behind your ears. Oh, and did I mention that it bellows all the way to 7000 rpm? Furthermore, it’s accompanied by intake noise, gear whine, and interior creaks. This is a full symphony of 1980s supercar sounds.

Also, while Lamborghini gave the 1989 Countach 25th Anniversary Edition better A/C, it didn’t change the slit-like window openings. Add in the wide transmission tunnel and the fact that this car is “three feet off the ground,” TH quips, and you have a hot, cramped interior. And this is all happening in a straight line. Even on modern reproduction tires, this is an intimidating car to drive on a twisty road.

But therein lies the appeal. Apart from Gordon Murray Automotive’s creations, where else can you find a mid-engine, V12-powered supercar with a stick? Not to mention one that ‘only’ weighs 1.5 tons and has no safety aids, not even ABS? What other car has this level of, to quote TH, “hot, cramped danger to it”? And what other vehicle looks like a spaceship penned by someone who might not pass a modern workplace drug test?

It’s crazy, it’s cool, it’s the Countach.

How much does the 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition experience cost?

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Another reason why the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition became such an icon might be its sales figures. However, while it’s the best-selling Countach model, that doesn’t make it common. Lamborghini sold 657 examples before ending production in 1990. And not all have survived in one piece, as Wolf of Wall Street eloquently demonstrated.

Regardless, as with many other icons, these 1980s supercars aren’t cheap. A good-condition 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition is worth at least $300K, Hagerty claims. And a pristine one is worth roughly $500,000 or more.

Still, even if the only Countach you can afford is on a poster, know that it deserves to be there.

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