Raging Bulls: Story of the Countach Vol. 3 - Issue N. 8 #RagingBulls
After a long hiatus, Raging Bulls is finally back!
Sorry if it took so long, but unfortunately i had to temporarly stop working on this issue because i had to concentrate on more important things, such as school, etc…
Anyway, this is my Christmas gift to all of you. Hope you like it and have a good read! Oh, and Merry Christmas!
In 1976 the Lamborghini factory built a special Countach LP400.
This LP400 was known as the ‘LP400 Speciale‘ and featured the same wheel arches found on the Walter Wolf specials. In fact, the entire car was built the same way as the second Walter Wolf special, but didn’t use the Wolf special’s 5.0-litre lump.
The Speciale was originally painted blue, with the wheel arch extensions, side mirrors, front bumper, windshield wiper and other parts of the body finished in gold.
Originally, the Speciale was delivered to a customer in Haiti, but nowadays it belongs to Junichi Yajima and is located somewhere in Japan. Yajima-san also repainted the car in bright blue.
The rear wing was not fitted when the car was first delivered, but it was installed at some point during its life, maybe by Yajima-san.
(Picture credits belong to: www.lambocars.com)
Following the debut of the Countach LP500 S at the 1982 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini took the Geneva show car (which was the first LP500 S ever made), shipped to to California and modified it to meet U.S. safety and emission standards, turning it into the LP500 S U.S. Prototype.
After the car arrived in California, it gained approval from the DOT and EPA and was later moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where it was ultimately tested and approved before returnig back to the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese, where it served as a base for the following U.S.-spec LP500 S models.
In 1986, the U.S. Prototype returned to the U.S., where it was sold to a lucky customer after being converted by Lamborghini U.S.A. to a fully electronic fuel injection.
Two years later, the car was sold again to an enthusiast, who used it mainly as a show car and occasionally displayed it at various car shows, including the Monterey Pebble Beach, although it is unlikely that he/she ever drove it, since it only traveled to shows in an enclosed trailer and has been stored in a controlled environment since 1989; As a result, this particular Countach has only traveled about 13,000 km (8,000 miles) during its life.
This LP500 S was sold again in 2000 by the same person who had owned it since 1988.
In 2010, this car was bought by philanthropist, craftsman, artist, engineer, naturalist, history lover, and racing driver Casey Putsch, who still owns it to this day.
This particulal Countach is very unique, not only because of its prototype status, but also because of its combination of metallic silver paintjob and blue leather interior, which was claimed to be unique to this car until 1989.
The U.S.-spec cars that followed this prototype were not much different from it; only the rear and the front were modified, but everything else stayed the same.
(Image credits belong to: Hemmings and www.lambocars.com)
The Countach 7000 was presented towards the end of 1986.
It looked completely different from the standard Countach: a deeper chin spoiler was added at the front and new side skirts, which integrated better into the enlarged wheel moldings, were also mounted. The pop-up headlights remained.
The new side skirts featured two big vertical air intakes, one to cool the massive, perforated rear disc brakes, the other to cool down the engine; along with altered air intakes on top op the rear shoulders, this would supply enough cold air into the engine compartment to prevent the big V12 from overheating.
The scissor doors’ design was also modified and now allowed full side windows to be used.
The rear end was also redesigned and now featured an integrated spoiler that made the standard Countach’s wing completely unnecessary.
The exterior looked radically different, but the most important upgrade was found under the hood. The Countach 7000 used a twin-turbocharged four-valve engine bored out to 7.1-litres, pumping out an astonishing 600 bhp. Top speed was an estimated 386 km/h (240 mph).
However, during development, before a running prototype was made, the exterior design was modified and the Countach 7000 as we know it was never actually made. Instead, the L150 Restyling was made, featuring the same 7.1-litre twin-turbo V12.
(Video credits belong to: VINwiki)
In 1984 Giulio Alfieri, Lamborghini’s General Manager at the time, decided to redesign the Countach into something that could be considered a transition between the Countach and its successor.
The result of Alfieri’s efforts became known as the Lamborghini Countach Restyling Prototype (also known by its project name, L150), which looked radically different from the standard Countach.
With this restyling, Alfieri had solved several disadvantages of the Countach’s original design, most notably the high Cx value that affected the model sice the LP400 S version.
To do so, the wheel wells were jointed to the body in a less abrupt way by mounting special rocker panels, softening several corners and redesigning the air scoops behind the side windows.
Some styling cues were also drived from the original 1971 LP500 prototype; Cooling air for the radiator, oil cooler and engine was now ‘grabbed’ through grilles similar to those used on the ‘71 prototype, but by increasing the inclination of the side windows, these air intakes conveyed more air. Because of the increased inclination, the side windows were now finished in one piece instead of two and were also electronically powered.
The NACA ducts on the sides were replaced by large side grilles, mounted in enlarged, flat rear wings like on a Porsche 935. These grilles used thermostatically-controlled vertical louvers, and the front spoiler was now blended into the body line.
The radiator and oil cooler were moved to the left of the engine, behind the driver’s seat, and the fuel tank was moved to the right of the engine, behind the passenger’s seat. As such, the chassis was redesigned accordingly.
Suspension, brakes and the rest of the space frame structure were left unchanged.
This car was developed during 1987, and Patrick Mimran himself decided to have this prototype actually built to be able to judge the entire car. The Restyling prototype was completed in April 1987, but it was never used for further tests. It was instead finished for Patrick Mimran, who added it to his collection of special Lamborghinis.
Nowadays, this car belongs to Japanese car collector Mr. Miura, who also owns a Reventon and one of just two Lamborghini F1 cars known to exist, as well as countless other Lamborghinis, Ferraris and other supercars, including a Jaguar XJR-15.
This is also known as the Alfieri/Mimran Super Countach L150.
Below, a rare video of the L150 prototype, two other videos (Credit: ochyoko pro, Japan Lamborghini Owner’s Club and effspot) and an image gallery:
(All pictures used here belong to their rightful owners)
An open-top Countach was never offered by the factory, but that didn’t stop American coachbuilder Al Mardikian from cutting the roof off a Countach in 1980.
The result of his work is known as the Countach SS and it is probably the most interesting among the various special Countach models.
The Countach SS was based on a regular Countach LP400, but the bodywork was heavily modified.
Giacabone’s Executive Coachcraft incorporated a Targa-style removable hard-top and also cut the doors. When the roof was fitted the doors were complete, but when the roof was removed the top section of the doors could be removed too, completing the look of a true Spyder.
That might seem quite simple, but it actually is more complicated than what most people might think, since the roof is a very important part of the Countach’s tubular chassis. As such, the chassis had to be strengthened, and this was accomplished by Mardikian’s import company Trend Imports Sales of Hermosa Beach, which specialized in importing Italian exotics legally in the U.S., who also fitted extended wheel arches (which, unlike on the S version, molded into the bodywork) and Pirelli P7 tires and modified the suspension accordingly.
But the modifications didn’t stop there. As a matter of fact, Mardikian claimed he had take out the car’s original 4.0-litre V12 engine and completely rebuilt it, increasing the displacement up to 4.4-litres by reworking the top end with genuine Lamborghini parts. The result was an improvement of the car’s performance: the engine’s power had risen up to 510 bhp at 8,000 rpm and the torque had also increased to 325 lb.ft. at 5,500 rpm, while top speed was an estimated 330 km/h (205 mph).
No turbochargers were used to accomplish said figures, which were questioned multiple times by the Lamborghini engineers, especially considering that only two 4.4-litre V12 were ever built by the factory, one of them blew up during testing and the other was used in a prototype, which meant no parts were available to increase the SS’s displacement up to 4.4-litres. The only possible explanation is that Mardikan modified the official Lamborghini parts himself to increase the engine’s displacement.
It is rumored that just 3 Countach SSs were ever made, but the exact number isn’t currently known. It is known, however, that British singer Rod Stewart owned a RHD one. Another one was owned by Alpine Electronics.
There is, however, a lot more to know about the Countach SS, which i am not going to write, otherwise this issue would be way too long. You’ll find all info here:
Below, an image gallery of the ‘80 Lamborghini Countach SS:
During the ‘80s German tuning house Koenig Specials GmbH was knows for its extreme modifications to European luxury cars, most notably the Ferrari Testarossa, which was turned into the 1,000 hbp, twin-turbo Koenig Competition Coupe. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the Countach would receive the Koenig treatment.
The first and only Koenig Specials Countach Turbo was built in 1983. It was based on an LP 500 S and, compared to other Koenig conversions, this one was less extremely restyled, being limited to custom side skirts, multi-piece BBS wheels painted gold and a redesigned rear wing with dropping ends. It was painted in a special Candy Apple Red metallic paint.
Inside, new Recaro sport seats replaced the original bucket seats, upholstered in reversed black leather. The big tunnel between the two seats was also finished in the same black while the dashboard on the other hand received a bright reversed red leather.
Most importantly, though, a turbocharger was strapped to the Bull’s V12 engine, pumping the power up to an astonishing 500 bhp. Later, Koenig managed to install a twin-turbo setup, but nobody bought it.
The Koenig remained in Germany until 1996, when it was sold to a member of the Dutch Lamborghini Club.
Below, an image gallery of the Koenig Specials Countach Turbo (Image credit: www.lambocars.com)
Swiss car designer Franco Sbarro also laid his hands on the Countach, turning it into the SV 5200 by Sbarro.
The Sbarro kept the original Countach’s front and rear spoiler, but the sideskirts were new and incorporated cooling ducts for the rear brakes. The 4th Sbarro Countach also featured an air intake on top of the engine cover.
The engine, however, did not remain untouched: the displacement was increased to 5.2-litres and power rose to 515 bhp at 7,800 rpm, although one particular car received an even higher tuned one, delivering about 550 bhp to the huge rear wheels.
According to Sbarro Design Studio, Franco Sbarro built eight cars in total. A white one was first delivered in Europe, before being shipped to the U.S., while a red one (the one with 550 bhp) is currently located in the Netherlands. Another red car with white interior (the one with the ‘hood scoop’) was sold to a Japanese customer, while a black over red one was wrecked by its owner in Switzerland just weeks after taking delivery of it.
Many Countach replicas were inspired by the Sbarro cars.
Below an image gallery of various Sbarro Countaches (credit: www.lambocars.com):
In the early ‘80s the most powerful factory Counatch model was the LP 500 S, which at the time was also the fastest car in the world, but the competition was catching up quickly and Lamborghini needed to do something to improve its flagship car.
For this reason, Swiss Lamborghini distributor Max Bobnar commissioned Austrian Master Technician Franz Albert to convert two Countaches to a twin-turbo configuration.
The two cars, known as Lamborghini Countach Turbo S, were completed between 1980 and 1982.
Two small turbochargers were attached to the 5.0-litre V12, and their pressure could be adjusted between 10.2 psi all the way up to 21.8 psi. On lowest boost settings the Turbo S already managed to deliver an impressive 510 bhp, but when the boost pressure was set to max, power rose to an unbelievable 747 bhp and torque increased to 646lb-ft.
The suspension was also modified, in order to improve high speed stability.
Quite predictably, the Turbo S’s performance figures were mind-blowing at the time. Despite a weight increase to 1,515 kg (about 35 more than a standard model), it was capable of launching from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, top speed, however, was never registered, since Bobnar feared that the suspension may have not been able to handle it, but it is estimated it could’ve topped out at an astonishing 335 km/h (208 mph). Had the Turbo S actually entered production, it would’ve been the first road-going car in the world to break the 200 mph line.
Sadly, it only remained a prototype, and an official turbocharged Countach was never offered.
One of the two prototypes, painted black, remained in Europe, while the other one, painted metallic red with white leather interior, was shipped to the U.S., where its original owner, Bill Pennington, parked it inside his casino. After Pennington’s death, the red Turbo S was sold to an owner in Reno, Nevada, who kept it in storage for many years. For a long time people thought that the red car had disappeared, with theories claiming it got destroyed in an accident, until it was recently found. It was then acquired by RSE Collection LLC, who still owns it to this day. The full story of this particular Countach’s discovery can be found in the video below (Credit: VINwiki):
Below, an image gallery of the Lamborghini Countach Turbo S:
A 1985 Countach 5000 QV, chassis #1121002, was heavily modified in the U.S. by the late Lamborghini importer and tuner Al Burtoni, owner of Milano Imports, who turned it into a record car.
This Countach is immediately recognizable for its cleaner and smoother body lines compared to the stock ones. For example, Burtoni removed the standard car’s wheel arch extensions and replaced them with a more aerodynamic widebody kit, while a huge, deep front spoiler was added at the front. To further improve aerodynamics, the wing mirrors were removed, a glass cover replaced the original engine cover and special chrome finished discs were mounted on the wheels. The only part that interrupts this QV’s clean lines is the rear high-downforce double wing aerofoil, which made sure the car would stay atttached to the ground.
The engine was a 5.2-litre carburated V12 and special race-spec suspension was fitted.
This Countach was driven by the late Jim Feuling (1945-2002) to an impressive speed of 339,2384498 km/h (201,793 mph), setting a record for ‘C’ modified cars that remained unbroken for 10 years.
Below, an image gallery of Al Burtoni’s Record Car (Credit: www.lambocars.com):
A Swiss owner modified his Countach LP 400 S by adding a Vortech supercharger, replacing the carburators with electronic fuel injection and two MoTeC ECUs. The standard front brakes were replaced with Alcon race-spec disk brakes.
This supercharged Countach is distinguishable from the standard models for its custom engine cover with two air intakes (which looks very similar to what we can see on the later Diablo SV), custom 17-inch chrome rims, bright red interior with carbonfibre inserts, bucket seats with 4-point harnesses, aluminium pedals and a Momo Fighter gear knob.
This car usually runs at a pressure of 0,45 bar, which is the maximum allowed by Switzerland’s laws. With that pressure, the engine pumps out 429 bhp, although the car can run with up to 0.8 bar, in which case it its power output is an impressive 529 bhp.
Below, an image gallery of this supercharged Countach (Image credit: www.lambocars.com)
In 1993, a heavily damaged 25th Anniversary Countach was bought by Teruaki Terai, a member of the Japanese Lamborghini Owner’s Club (JLOC). His intent was to build a Lamborghini that could take part in the Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC).
Due to the stock car’s enormous weight of 1500 kg, a massive weight reduction was necessary and, to do so, the bodywork’s aluminium was replaced with fiberglass and the interior got stripped of everything that was unnecessary.
When JLOC’s president Isao Noritake flew to Italy, in hopes of receiving support from Lamborghini themselves, the rumor of what fellow JLOC member Masahiko Mearashi and Terai were setting up at Terai Engineering spread. Although Noritake’s meeting with Lamborghini’s directorship proved to be futile, his confidence cemented the club’s relationship with the Italian brand, which continues uninterrupted today.
However, by the spring of 1994, the team found itself with no money, pilots and time to finish the car, so participation in the first JGTC race scheduled for May 1994 was in serious danger. The championship management didn’t like this and they “strongly advised” to get a move on and be present on the Fuji Speedway grid.
Mearashi invited mangaka and car collector Ikezawa Satoshi (author of “Circuit no Okami”) as a pilot and shortly afterwards he found an agreement with sports and luxury car dealership Art Sports, who furnished another Countach, which was slightly modified with some of the previously studied solutions.
The finished product was little more than a standard Countach: roll cage, stripped inerior, stronger brakes, slick tires, rims and fiberglass panels were all the modification that had been made.
The main sponsor was finally found in Rain-X and the team hired Takao Wada as their other driver. Finally, the Countach was ready to go racing.
Predictably, it didn’t perform well at all, despite being modified (especially in the aerodynamic sector) with the succession of rounds. It took part in all of the 1994 JGTC’s races, completing only two and retiring in the remaining ones.
Starting from the following season, the Countach would be replaced by the newer and more competitive Lamborghini Diablo SE Jota Corse. Teruaki Terai sadly died of a tumor in August 1995, a few months after the Diablo’s racing debut, and never had the chance to see his dream come true. The JLOC’s 1st victory would arrive only in 2006, when Marco Apicella and Yasutaka Hinoi brought the Murciélago RG-1 (a variant of the R-GT) to the first place in the inaugural race of the Super GT, the 300km of Suzuka, exactly where twenty-six years before Terai’s dream began.
Terai Engineering carried out a full restoration of the car, which culminated in 2016. The last public appearance of this yellow Countach race car dates back to the 2017 Old Timer in Odaiba, Tokyo.
Below, an image gallery of the Lamborghini Countach Rain-X racecar (Credit: www.lambocars.com and other sources):
Recently, an interesting red Quattrovalvole has appeared in the Netherlands. This particular example has been extensively modified at the rear, which now features a custom engine cover composed by six carbonfibre fins whose angle can be electronically adjusted by the driver. When these fins are closed, the engine warps up a lot quicker and, when the temperature rises, the driver can simply open the fins.
The airbox mounted on top of this Countach’s V12 engine has been replaced by a new, longer unit made out of carbonfibre. This new airbox, according to the owner, keeps the performance stable through the entire rpm range.
Additionally, the owner mounted a couple of canisters in the luggage compartment which are directly connected to the exhaust system and effectively turn this Italian beast into a literal flamethrower.
The entire exhaust system has been customized as well, and now this Countach makes a loud and thunderous noise.
Originally, this QV didn’t have a rear wing, although it got added later on.
Below, an image gallery of this custom Countach (Credit: www.lambocars.com):
At the 1991 Geneva Motor Show Japanese tuner Art & Tech presented the Sogna concept.
The Sogna was based on a Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary, although the exterior design had very little in common with the donor car, save for a few small styling similarities.
While the mechanical side of things was the same as a standard Anniversary model, everything else was redesigned by Art & Tech’s owner, 41-years-old Ryoji Yamazaki, who had dreamed of building a supercar since the age of 13.
The new body was made out of aluminium and a new interior finished in light gray leather was also fitted.
The Sogna was intended to become a limited production model, with a starting price of about $1,600,000, but unfortunately no one was interested in it, thus production never started.
Only two prototypes were ever built: a non-funtioning display one (the one showed at the Geneva Motor Show) and a fully working one, built for the 1994 Essen Motor Show, which was tested on the track and reached a top speed of 299 km/h (186 mph), although the quoted top speed at the time was 201 mph.
Rumor has it, the 2nd prototype was offered for sale in late 2013 on JamesEdition by the Enmann Corporation from Osaki-shi in Japan, with an asking price of €2,300,000 (aproximately $3,300,000). As of today it is still listed for sale in Japan, but no price is published anymore. Meanwhile, the non-functioning prototype is currently on display in a French museum.
Below, an image gallery of the Countach-based Art & Tech Sogna (Credit: www.lambocars.com and other sources):
Not much is known about this ugly abomination.
All we know is that it was made by German tuning company Zastrow at some point during the ‘80s and was then proudly presented in a German car magazine, in which the question “Can it be made better?” was asked, and then vanished leaving no trace.
The engine and other mechanical components were likely stock, with only the body being modified.
Most Countach enthusiasts hate this concept with a passion.
Below, an image gallery of the Zastrow Countach (credit: www.lambocars.com and other sources):
In 1985 Lamborghini’s official British importer, David Joliffe, attempted to run a modified Lamborghini Countach LP 5000 S in Group B racing, only to be prohibited by the car’s insufficient production run, which made it impossible to homologate.
Following this failed attempt, Joliffe started building an entirely new car to Group C regulations. And so, Joliffe bought a 5.7-litre V12 engine based on the one used by the Countach QV and commissioned Lamborghini engineer Luigi Marmioli to modify it for Group C racing at the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Marmioli used the data and the experience learned from Lamborghini’s successful marine engines and was able to extract a promising 650-700 bhp. The completed engine was then mated to a Hewland VG-C racing transmission.
In the meantime, Joliffe also commissioned Spice Engineering to develop a chassis for his racing Countach.
CC Motorsports were selected to run the car for the 1986 World Sportscar Championship season, with Tiff Needell and Mauro Baldi as the car’s drivers. However, the only sponsor the team could find was Unipart, Britain’s biggest spare parts factory.
A few minor races followed in 1985 but, despite some successful performances, the financial issues were apparent. The team, now known as Portman Lamborghini (after the name of the British importer) attempted to run the Countach QVX in its first international race at the 360 km of Monza in April 1986, but unfortunately the team did not attend the race. Three more no-shows followed, most notably including the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans, before the car was finally run by Spice Engineering at the 500 km Kyalami in November 1986.
As this was a non-championship race, the works teams of Jaguar, Sauber and Lancia were not present; however, the semi-works Porsche and Rondeau teams were, as was the works Tiga team. Tiff Needell drove the car and qualified in 7th place, behind all of the Porsche 956 and 962 entries, but ahead of the Zakspeed, the Tiga and the former-Joest Schuster Porsche 936C. The first race saw Needell sitting in 7th, but due to attrition he moved up to 5th in the second race. As a result, Needell was classified 5th overall, ahead of three other Group C1 cars (Ernst Schuster’s privately entered Porsche 936C, the works-run Tiga GC86 and Patrick Oudet’s privately entered Rondeau M382). This would be the only time the Countach QVX would compete in an international event.
Despite Portman Lamborghini making two further entries in 1987, at the 1000 km of Silverstone and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, they did not attend either race and the Countach QVX was retired. The financial issues that the team had suffered from simply proved insurmountable and it would be another few years before another Lamborghini-engined car, the Konrad KM-011, entered a major sportscar race, in 1991. Spice Engineering also attempted to enter a Lamborghini-engined Spice SE90C in the 1990 World Sportscar Championship but were ultimately unsuccessful. It would be ten years before a Lamborghini (the Diablo) appeared in top-class sports car racing again.
Below, an image gallery of the Countach QVX Racecar (Credit: www.lambocars.com):
Thank you for reading this article! Raging Bulls will return soon with Issue N. 9! Don't miss it! Merry Christmas!