The Lamborghini Countach, the ‘Plague’ of the 1970s, Is Back

You’d have to be a certain age to remember when the Lamborghini Countach originally debuted in the early 1970s. Designed by Marcello Gandini, one of the greatest car designers of the 20th century, for Gruppo Bertone, the Countach was an epic car. The magnificence of its elegant lines and thrilling performance blew away everything else on the road at the time.

Flash forward 50 years, and Lamborghini has revived the iconic supercar with an interesting name.

The new Lamborghini Countach

A white Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 corners on a mountain road
Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 | Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Lamborghini unveiled the new Countach LPI 800-4 at the Quail: A Motorsports Gathering last year. It’s the main attraction at Monterey Car Week at Pebble Beach.

With its signature scissor doors and edgy lines, the new Lamborghini Countach is a revival of the wedge-shaped classic. The original LP 500’s design has influenced the luxury brand since the car’s 1974 debut, the duPont Registry reports. And the new LPI 800-4 is an impressive homage to the classic from half a century ago.

But before you get too excited, know this car costs $2.6 million with a limited production of only 112 examples. Those who can afford one will add a piece of automotive history to their collection.

Blending Lamborghini’s hybrid supercapacitor technology and naturally aspirated V12 engine, the LPI 800-4 boasts a satisfying growl. It harnesses an overall 814 hp, with the electric motor kicking in 34 horses. Though four-wheel-drive beast can roar from 0 to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and top out at 220 mph.

Its sleek lines are instantly recognizable. The new Countach offers an artistic mix of ’70s style with modern aerodynamics and safety features. It reimagines the lines from the five Countach models produced across two decades and makes them into something like moving art.

How the Lamborghini Countach got its unique name

When design masters like Gandini created Lambos for shows, they’d work all hours of the day and night. To help keep morale high, they’d joke around, Gandini told Lamborghini.

One night, a profiler who made the locks was working with the team. The man didn’t speak much Italian but mostly Piedmontese, which sounds more like French. He often exclaimed, “Countach!” while they worked. The literal meaning is “contagion” or “plague.” But it’s often used as an expression of surprised delight or admiration, such as “goodness” or “wow.”

As they toiled on the soon-to-be-legendary supercar, they jokingly called it “Countach.” Bob Wallace, who worked on the model’s mechanics, was in earshot. Asked how the name sounded to an Anglo-Saxon ear, he explained that, oddly, it worked. What made an impression was that one of his younger co-workers called it that. So the name stuck.

By the way, “Countach” is pronounced “koon-TAASH,” with the accent on the second syllable.

A powerful legacy

Despite its rarity, the Lamborghini Countach hasn’t been completely out of sight since the ’70s. Before production ended in 1990, it appeared in the 1981 Burt Reynolds action/comedy The Cannonball Run. It also turned up in an unforgettable scene with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Countach is a legend that turns heads wherever it goes. It reinvented the high-performance car, explains Stephan Winkelmann, CEO of Automobil Lamborghini. Even decades later, its iconic style inspires the newest generation of Lambos. 

Winkelmann adds that bringing a reconstruction of the first Countach to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for today’s concept class is significant. And revisiting this supercar on its 50th anniversary allows us to appreciate the extraordinary 1971 LP 500 firsthand. 

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