Lamborghini Countach From Cannonball Run Makes History

The Lamborghini Countach is an iconic car for various reasons. Its wild and aggressive looks made it the personification of 1980s excess. The Countach was the go-to splurge purchase for “hair metal” rockstars and wall street moguls. The Italian supercar became a piece of 80s pop culture in the same way that other material items such as Nintendo video game consoles or Swatch watches did. Lamborghini recently tried to rekindle the nostalgia that the Countach created, but the results were mixed.

It didn’t matter if the Lamborghini Countach had quality control issues or used interior parts from significantly cheaper cars. All that mattered was that the Lamborghini looked the part. It was the 80s, after all.

Considering how superficial 80s pop culture was, it shouldn’t be surprising that what really catapulted the Lamborghini Countach into the American lexicon was a Hollywood film. That film was called The Cannonball Run. The film was an instant hit with audiences and helped elevate the Countach to its iconic status.

Cannonball Run 1979 Lamborghini Countach Makes National Historic Vehicle Register

The 1979 Lamborghini Countach from the film "The Cannonball Run" on display at the National Mall to celebrate its inclusion in the National Historic Vehicle Register
1979 Lamborghini Countach from The Cannonball Run | Lamborghini

You might not know this, but the United States Library of Congress has a division dedicated to recognizing important historical vehicles. It is called the National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR). It includes notable pop culture movie cars like the 1981 DeLorean DMC from Back to the Future and the 1985 Modena Spider from Ferris Buller’s Day Off. The NHVR doesn’t just include movie cars. Vehicles that are important to American history and culture are also included, such as the first-ever Plymouth Voyager Mini Van dubbed “Magic Wagon No. 1” and a 1966 Volkswagen Bus used by Esau and Janie B. Jenkins as they traveled the country championing civil rights issues.

The NHVR recently announced that the 1979 Lamborghini Countach used in The Cannonball Run is officially part of the Register. With the inclusion of this Lamborghini, the NHVR has a total of just 30 cars on its list. So, this Countach is joining a very exclusive club.

To celebrate the Lamborghini’s inclusion into the NHVR, the car is being displayed in a special glass case on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the home of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

As part of the Countach’s inclusion into the NHVR, all information regarding the car, its history, copies of all its documentation, and a 3D scan of it will all be kept for posterity in the Library of Congress.

History of “The Cannonball Run” Lamborghini

The 1979 Lamborghini Countach from the film "The Cannonball Run" on display at the National Mall at night in a special glass display case to celebrate its inclusion in the National Historic Vehicle Register
Lamborghini Countach from The Cannonball Run | Lamborghini

This specific Lamborghini Countach (chassis #1121112) was featured prominently in The Cannonball Run‘s opening sequence. The car was delivered new to a Lamborghini distributor in Rome then exported to the United States, where it was sold at a dealership in Florida. The car’s owner happened to be a friend of Hal Needham, the director of The Cannonball Run. The owner loaned to Hal for the film. During filming, it was noticed by Ron Rice, the founder of Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen. Rice was on set as one of the other cars in the film featured branding from his company. Rice fell in love with the Countach and bought it on the spot. He kept the car until 2004 when it was purchased by Florida-based Lamborghini aficionado Jeff Ippoliti who still owns it.

With the automotive industry making significant changes and shifting toward electric vehicles, keeping records of noteworthy cars from the past is pertinent. This Lamborghini Countach has just officially made its mark on American history.

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