1971 Lamborghini LP 500 Countach gets a proper rebuild
The Lamborghini Countach has graced the wall of many bedrooms and living rooms as posters. First revealed in 1971, the LP 500 Countach was the immediate star of the Geneva Motor Show. As quickly as its rise to fame, it quickly disappeared. Many of the cars were sacrificed in crash tests after three years of development, and after March 1974, the LP 500 was all but extinct.
That is until now.
Before the end of 2017, a private Lamborghini customer asked for help and if possible build a reconstruction of the Countach LP 500. Of course, it’s possible if Polo Storico, Automobili Lamborghini’s division for the preservation of the company’s historic identity, had a say about it. Legends are never meant to die, and with a lot of photos, documents, meeting reports, original drawings, memories, and man-hours (more than 25,000 hours to be exact), the LP 500 is reborn.
This wasn’t a normal and simple restoration job. The first months were spent just gathering all the information they had on the LP 500, down to the very last detail. How much detail? They had to tap Fondazione Pirelli for support to recreate the same tires that were mounted on the Countach during its unveiling. When they said “form and function of every single detail as accurately as possible”, they meant it.
Next came work on the chassis. Compared to tubular frames of today, Lamborghini and Polo Storico had to physically redesign it with reverence to the production methods of yesteryears. After that, the same care was given in making the bodywork. Once everything was to spec – of course with some aids of modern technology – it was back to the traditional methods of employing the skills of a battilastra. In modern speak, this is your highly skilled tinsmith who carried out magic with creativity and tools of the trade. As for the interior, the same principle of accuracy was used, so much so that even the lighted diagnostic instruments shown in the 1971 prototype were included.
Let us not forget Pirelli’s part in all of this. With the help of their archives, they were able to manufacture the model of the Cinturato CN12 tires fitted on the LP 500 during its debut to-spec. From the 245/60R14 front and 265/60R14 rear tires, down to the exact same tread pattern, this is about as faithful to the original as it gets.
As for the engine and all of the build’s mechanical components, only original Lamborghini parts or restored components were used. But what about parts that were unusable? Those were completely rebuilt by Lamborghini. No expense was spared, and that much was evident.
Now for the color. Archives of another brand provided valuable help, and those made it possible to identify what PPG used. After careful analysis, the exact composition for the iconic yellow color was identified and recreated. The final piece of the puzzle was completed, and this LP 500 got its dress in no less than Giallo Fly Speciale.
“The collection of documents was crucial. There had been so much attention paid to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications,” said Giuliano Cassataro, Head of Service and Polo Storico.
“The LP 500 is of paramount importance to Lamborghini because it gave rise to the design DNA of all subsequent models,” added Mitja Borkert, Head of Design of Lamborghini Centro Stile, who oversaw the historical reconstruction of the original design.
The force that is Lamborghini started with humble beginnings. We don’t have to go through their entire history, but what’s immediately evident is how design and function borne of skill and passion remain in their DNA to this very day. From collector, customer, to those who work with the brand, a proper icon deserves proper homage, and that’s exactly what they did with this Countach LP 500.
If only all manufacturers would think the same way, then maybe we could relive the glory days of sports cars again in this millennium. Now, how about a revival of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, Ferrari?