The first time I saw a photo of the Lamborghini Countach I knew it was something special. I was probably 11 or 12-years old, but even at that age, after seeing Jaguars, Porsches, and Ferraris, the Countach looked like it was from another planet. Lamborghini had only been in business for seven years when the concept was first revealed in 1971. Although they had built several cars—and the stunning Miura was unquestionably beautiful—the Countach wasn’t beautiful in traditional ways; it was chiseled, crisp, and wicked. As a budding car designer, I immediately changed my undulating curved profile drawings to the razor sharp triangular profile of the Countach. Much to my delight, the crisp architecture lent itself well to building crude cardboard cutout scale models. The Countach was not only new and inspiring, it introduced me to the third dimension of car design; model making.
Unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the shocking Gandini design was low, angular, and powerful. And while the debut of the concept car was shocking enough—and Lamborghini certainly could have been happy to rest on their conceptual achievement—instead they immediately began preparing the car for production. The dramatic cab-forward architecture, longitudinal V12 engine and the aggressive geometric design captivated everyone with visions of the future.
After three long years refining its production, the first production cars arrived. The Countach immediately became a worldwide object of desire for legions of ambitious kids aspiring to one day own one. Arguably the father of modern supercars today, the Countach succumbed to increased regulations, bumper height restrictions, wheel flares and changes in ride height. Then there was the rear wing. A whopping $5,000.00 extra cost, the rear wing was both expensive and heavy. By the late 1980s, the Countach had become the equivalent of the automotive “Vegas Elvis.” Bloated and overdone, stumbling on stage, still hoping to charm fans with memories of earlier bravado.