The legendary Lamborghini Countach is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, it’s ground breaking wedge shape ushering in a new era of super car design. Over its 16 year production life, just 1,983 examples were produced, making it one of the rarest super cars of its generation. Today the influence of the Countach can be seen on the latest generation of Lamborghini’s, including the Aventador, Huracán, Sián, as well as the Urus.
The Countach LP500 prototype was first unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Motorshow and it was a groundbreaking achievement for celebrated designer Marcello Gandini. It firmly establish the “Italian Wedge” design era, with Carrozzeria Bertone leading the way with this new and exciting automotive style.
Speaking about the legacy and continuing influence of one of Gandini’s most iconic designs, Mitja Borkert, Head of Design at Lamborghini stated “There are works of art that always remain relevant, and the form of the Countach is one of them.”
“Its design,” adds Borkert, “is comprised of perfect proportions, characterized by a very pure and essential approach. Its distinctive feature is the single longitudinal line that visually connects the front and rear parts.”
Conceiving a successor to the Lamborghini Miura was no enviable task, with Ferruccio Lamborghini keen to continue the success of his companies first ever supercar. That task fell to Chief Engineer Paolo Stanzani, assistant engineer Massimo Parenti, test driver Bob Wallace, and designer Marcello Gandini. It was decided early one that the Countach had to be offer the greatest performance and aerodynamic efficiency possible. And above all it needed to look daring and stylistically move Lamborghini onto a whole other level.
“From a stylistic point of view, it’s a perfect inspiration because, even when the rest is modified, the line is an element of visual continuity between past and present. It’s the epitome of the DNA in all Lamborghini design, the tradition of the stylistic language from the origins to the present day.”
Low and wide, the front view of the Countach is characterized by diagonal lines on the hood, which are also repeated on the engine compartment, making it immediately recognizable even from a distance. The shape of the passenger compartment, low and squared, combined with the typical slope of the windscreen, influenced the design of the various models that have followed the Countach.
It is these shapes that have remained unchanged over the years, along with the particular and characteristic cut of the side windows, which make a Lamborghini easily identifiable at first glance.
The Countach introduced a futuristic style ahead of its time during the 1970s, an era of explosive creativity and one of the most significant moments for design. These were years of important social achievements, which would inspire designers and creatives around the world.
The space race; the advent of high tech with the development of modern computers; the trends in fashion linked to geometric patterns, extravagant choices and the explosion of bright colors; the advent of individualism and the Jet Age; are all elements that influenced the stylistic choices of the Countach’s designer, Marcello Gandini.
The Countach is also the result of the vision of Ferruccio Lamborghini, who would have celebrated his 105th Birthday this year. He believed right from the start in the revolutionary project, one that 50 years on is still influencing the style of future Lamborghini models.