Unleashing the Lamborghini Countach in 1974


Riding the success of the Lamborghini Miura of the late 60s, Ferruccio Lamborghini faced a growing concern. The competition was fierce, and it was time to raise the stakes. He knew it was not a time to be timid; a bold new model was essential. Ferruccio unleashed his dream team of designers and engineers to embark on the LP112 project, later named “Countach,” which would propel the company to new heights and continue to push the boundaries of the iconic supercar brand.

Lamborghini Countach

The Name Says It All

Most Lamborghini models are either named after famous bulls or have a name that can be traced to bullfighting culture in some way. For example, the Lamborghini Miura was in reference to the Spanish fighting bull, bred from the Miura Cattle Ranch. The ranch was owned by Ferruccio Lamborghini’s friend, Don Eduardo Miura.

Luckily, there’s an inside source who can shed light on how the Lamborghini Countach’s name came to be. The car designer, Marcello Gandini, described one of the workers on the design team who spoke nearly all Piedmontese, which is a language sounding more like French than Italian. The man worked around Gandini and had a favorite word, “Countach.”

It’s a great word, “Countach.” The word originated from the province of Piedmont, an area of northwestern Italy bordering France and Switzerland. Usually used as an expletive and commonly written in English with an exclamation mark. There is no literal translation to any other language from Piedmontese for the word “Countach.” The word conveys a sense of startled astonishment or wonder with a touch of slight concern.

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This is a 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Prototype. You could imagine how the term “Countach” could be a fitting description of such an amazing and ground-breaking design.

After long hours into the night designing the car, week after week, Gandini and his team started using the word as a joke in an effort to keep up morale. The term stuck, and the Countach was born. “Countach” perfectly describes an astounding design that changed the car company forever.

The Original Lamborghini Countach 1974 Design

The Lamborghini Miura was a hit. By the late 1960s, Ferruccio Lamborghini was ready to take his company to the next level with a new and exciting model to build on the Miura’s success. He tapped Marcello Gandini of Bertone design to a new concept that would include a more angular geometric design. Gandini had already unveiled similar wedge-shaped concept cars for Lamborghini competitors. He unveiled the Alfa Romeo Carabo at the 1968 Paris Auto Show and the Lancia Stratos Zero during the Turin Motor Show in 1970. He was ready to make a few iterations and give Ferruccio what he was looking for.

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The Lamborghini Countach L150 early prototype.

The first prototype must have left people wondering if the car had come from outer space. There were so many unique features in the Countach design, many of which were not apparent to the first glance. Prototypes were designated with an “LP,” which was an abbreviation for “longitudinale posteriore,” meaning the engine placement was not in the front of the car but behind the driver, a concept unheard of at the time. After the “LP” designation was the engine configuration. “400” for a 3.9-liter engine and “500” for the 4.8 and 5-liter engines.

Building a car that looked like it might have landed on Earth from another planet meant constructing it with new design techniques never before attempted. While Gandini attempted the incredibly daring “scissor doors” on the concept car he designed on the Alfa Romero Carabo, it was perfected on the Countach. Gas struts assisted the smooth opening of the doors as they raised and lowered.

The third prototype was ready for the 1974 Geneva Motor Show and was the first model produced entirely inside the Lamborghini factory.

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The 1974 LP400 Lamborghini Countach

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Scissor Doors on the 1974 Lamborghini Countach
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The Lamborghini Countach 1974 LP400 was the first production model.

What’s Going on With Countach Values

Although 1974 Lamborghini Countach values have soared over the decades following its successful release, recent prices have lagged various other models. Excellent condition models are valued at anywhere from $1 million to $1.25 million. In comparison, fair condition models are valued for roughly $750,000.

Auction house Hemmings sold a 1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopica for $1.87 million in 2014. Looking at Hagerty’s price guides, prices have fallen for some high-end cars back to those same levels in 2014. Another sale of a 1974 Countach was recorded in 2018 for $784,000.

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1974 Lamborghini Countach price history over the last 3 years from the Hagerty price index.

One place I like to watch for high-end car values is the fractional share investing platform Rally. They feature a 1980 Countach Turbo that I’ve been watching carefully lately. The car has recently been valued at $400,000, after initially being offered at a value of over $600,000. If you feel like the Countach heritage will be stronger than ever in the coming years, now might be a good time to pick up a few shares on Rally.

Incredible Video From a 1987 ’60 Minutes’ Feature on the Lamborghini Countach

“The company does not have a test track, our cars are built for the road.”

This is an incredible video clip from the news show, “60 Minutes.” Back in 1987, cameras followed the Lamborghini founder and top designers around Italy while discussing the Countach and its ground-breaking design. It’s an unbelievable trip back in time when the Countach was one of the most amazing machines anyone had ever seen. Just as the name describes, the “Countach” first sight left people stunned, surprised, shocked, and bewildered.

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Ferruccio Lamborghini standing with a later model of the Countach.