The Lamborghini Countach Is So Wrong It's Just Right
Looking back on the bad boy car of the 1980s, and finding it's the last true automotive event.
"The Countach is wrong," says John Pogson, a lifelong Italian-car tech, former racer and owner of West Yorkshire's Italia Autosport. "The engineering and everything. Every area is wrong in that car, but that's the appeal."
Pogson guides us through this video profile on the Countach at its most flamboyant: The 1989 25th Anniversary Edition. That car featured bodywork drawn up -- in a bit of supercar foreshadowing -- by Horacio Pagani, who at the time was a Lamborghini engineer. Changes included thick, body-color-straked air intakes behind the doors and two-piece forged alloy wheels.
"I don't really like the anniversary and I think there's too many busted bits stuck on it, Pogson says. "Pre-anniversary models, I'm in love with them, because of all the wrong reasons. [The Countach] is such an event, it's a massive event."
The anniversary edition, and the Countach in general, is a car enthusiasts either love or hate. Either way, it's impossible not to look at those crazy lines, all those non-functional aerodynamic bits, and the massive body-panel gaps, and marvel at how slapdash it seemed, in stark contrast with today's supercars.
"Today, a Lamborghini, a modern Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, whatever; they're all the same," Pogson says. "Close your eyes, sit in the car, you don't know what you sat in.”
"The Countach is just a bad boy," he says. "It's got everything wrong with it. It's got the powertrain, it's like a tractor. In engineering terms, it's going to crash the car because of the unequal length drive-shafts. It's really bad inside. You can't see out the back window. You smell fuel. The AC doesn't work.
"But that's the appeal. It's so far away from a modern Lamborghini, but I'm a dinosaur. The young guy who can't drive yet, in the near future, is going to walk into a Ferrari showroom and buy a car with a 1,500cc engine on two turbochargers and a battery. And he's gonna go to the wine bar and he's gonna say I've bought a Ferrari. Now, I'm sorry, but this isn't where I come from. I come from an era where cars had a personality."
Produced and directed by Adrian Larkin (www.autocreative.tv).