Lamborghini’s Countach LPI 800-4: When Retro Goes Wrong

Companies know that nostalgia is a powerful tool for pulling at customers’ heartstrings and making them more likely to purchase a product that offers a retro feel. This is why so many shows from decades past have gotten reboots and why toys from previous eras have been revamped and re-released for parents to give their kids a similar experience to their own. Lamborghini attempted to hop on the retro bandwagon by releasing its Countach LPI 800-4 with much fanfare, but it ended up receiving a lukewarm response from the public. 

An overview of the Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4

The Lamborghini Countach at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire
The Lamborghini Countach | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

Lamborghini is often considered the king of style for sleek and mighty sports cars, and the company has been around since 1963, giving it plenty of years to perfect its craft. One of its most buzzworthy vehicles, the Countach, came in 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show. According to Evo, to celebrate 50 years since that first unveiling, Lamborghini will release a fleet of 112 units of the Countach LPI 800-4. Each car is priced at around $3 million. 

The exterior is absolutely striking. Its narrow hood and trunk, as well as the futuristic angular headlights, are sure to turn heads when driving down any street, and its gilled vents and side-ducts command attention and allude power. The wheels feature a flattering hexagonal pattern, as do the taillights, making the car look like a fascinating mix between retro and futuristic.

The new Countach comes with a 6.5-liter V12 engine, capable of producing a whopping 814 horsepower. Intriguingly, this sportscar also comes with an electric motor that can deliver 32 supplemental horsepower on its own. The LPI 800-4 has a top speed of 220 mph, and it can go from zero to 60 mph in approximately 2.8 seconds. Overall, it has all of the style and flair Lamborghini fans have come to expect. So, why were people so disappointed with the LPI 800-4 when it was revealed?

Lamborghini afectionatos were unimpressed with the new Countach

Many adults today grew up with a Lamborghini Countach poster on their wall and dreamed of driving or owning the luxurious powerhouse someday. The announcement of a callback to the original Countach stirred excitement online and at various car shows across the globe. Those high expectations didn’t end up paying off for the Countach LPI 800-4, as many people expressed disappointment with its looks and features. 

Johnny Lieberman at MotorTrend speculates that the disappointment came from the fact that the LPI 800-4 “just isn’t absolutely bonkers.” He states that the LP400 S, released in 1978, was so nuts with its flared fenders, Pirelli tires, and trademark wing that people expected this new iteration to be much wilder than what was released. 

Lieberman also remarks that “The most glaring detail is the shark-gill vents that sit above the comically oversized faux-NACA docs on the body sides. Not one production car had those gills- just the prototype, which was subsequently destroyed in crash testing.” The LPI 800-4, it turns out, is more of a combination of different Lamborghini cars from that era instead of simply a redesign of the Countach as people assumed and hoped. 

One designer created a different concept similar to the original

After the controversy about the LPI 800-4 design, one designer from Estonia released his version of the Countach that more closely resembles the beloved designs of the past. According to MotorTrend, Siim Designs also reworked the front grille of the 2021 BMW 4 Series, which experienced its share of disdain from car enthusiasts. 

By many accounts, Siim Designs nailed the rework of the LPI 800-4. Many appreciate that this designer included the iconic tail and familiar phone-dial wheels while giving it a more modern aesthetic. 

Love it or hate it, the LPI 800-4 certainly got people talking. 

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