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The Lamborghini Countach was a sight to behold in 1971 when it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. Its sleek design, masterful engineering, and revolutionary performance put this Lambo at the top of car lovers’ wishlists. So, what inspired the creation of this celebrated supercar? How many did the Italian automaker produce? And how do you pronounce “Countach”?

The Lamborghini Countach’s name and the story behind it might surprise you.

A brief history of this legendary supercar

Pronounce Lamborghini Countach pronunciation
Lamborghini Countach | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

Lamborghini unveiled the Countach project alongside the Miura SV in a double presentation to showcase the carmaker’s prowess and innovation. The company called its yellow prototype the Countach LP 500, with “LP” standing for the longitudinal positioning of its 12-cylinder, 4,971cc, one-of-a-kind engine.

The debut didn’t just display the Italian automaker’s inspiration to continue producing stylish and technologically advanced frontrunners. It also prompted enthusiasts to demand the new supercar be mass-produced.

The masterminds behind the Lamborghini Countach — Marcello Gandini and Paolo Stanzani — set out to create a groundbreaking concept car for the Geneva Motor Show. After enjoying acclaim at the event, Lamborghini raced to produce the prototype.

A more reliable 4.0-liter engine came later, and other Countach series continued through 1990. But that yellow prototype still stands out to fans and continues to be immortalized on posters and calendars. From its scissor doors to its sophisticated electronics, the car was special. 

How to pronounce Countach

As cool as it is, the Lamborghini Countach faces one common problem: the name’s pronunciation. And though the carmaker names most of its models for bulls or bullfighting terms, the Countach is an entirely different beast.

The word comes from the Piedmontese language, an Italian dialect most often spoken in the country’s northwestern regions, according to Motor1. The term literally translates to “contagion” but has transcended to also mean a feeling of awe or wonder at the sight of something extraordinary. 

And to pronounce the name correctly, you would say, “kuŋˈtaʧ,” using the International Phonetic Alphabet and pronunciation guidelines. But to those not of Italian descent, “koon-tahsh” — with the accent on the second syllable — is also acceptable. You can also listen to the pronunciation in this YouTube video.

How did the Lamborghini Countach get its name?

The details behind how the Lamborghini Countach got its name vary. But the official story from Lamborghini says the name came from Marcello Gandini, who “almost only spoke Piedmontese.”

The dialect can sound more French than Italian. And Gandini often exclaimed, “Countach!” in amazement while he worked late nights designing the prototype. As a joke, others on the team began calling the car the “Countach” because Gandini expressed the term so often.

So, when it finally came time to name the car, the Piedmontese nickname stuck, and the team decided on “Countach.” However, the term now has yet another meaning: a superfast high-performance machine.

Lamborghini officially introduced five Countach series from 1974 through 1990. The carmaker produced only 1,999 examples, although thousands of images undoubtedly still hang on the walls of bedrooms and auto shops.

And even if you aren’t one of the lucky owners of this legendary supercar, at least you know now how to pronounce its name.


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