1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Prototipo

Only 3 years after Bertone released the first wedge-shaped Alfa Romeo Carabo concept, Lamborghini got their turn with the Countach in 1971. Among all the prototypes with this universal shape, Lamborghini became the most prolific when the car was put into production in 1976. The car was named after it’s 5000-litre V12 which stood for Longitudinale Posteriore 5000.

Marcello Gandini, who had shaped both the Miura and Espada was responsible for the Countach design. The low profile wasn’t too far off his Lancia Stratos 0 from just a year earlier, and Lamborghini remained much more true to the Bertone concept than Lancia ever did. Maybe that’s why the Lamborghini became so much more of a icon than the Lancia.

Unique traits of the concept included forward-swinging doors from the Carabo and a periscope rear view mirror, both which were retained for production.

Paolo Stanzani had the task of making a usable supercar underneath Marcello Gandini’s impossibly low design. He elected to run the gearbox forward of the engine to provide direct gear changes. This raised the height of the engine for the driveline, but made the Countach look even more purposeful with its muscular rear stance.

Initially a fully-digital instrumentation system was fitted that was later replaced by analogue units so Bob Wallace could test the car. Afterward the car led a hard life and was highly modified during testing to help with production development. At met a final fate with a barrier at MIRA in Britain which destroyed the car completely.

1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Prototipo

In Detail

submitted byRichard Owen
typeConcept / Prototype Car
released at1971 Geneva Auto Show
built atSanta’Agata Bolognese, Italy
body stylistMarcello Gandini
coachbuilderBertone
engineersPaolo Stanzani
production1
engine60° V12
positionMid, Longitudinal
aspirationNatural
valvetrainDOHC 2 Valves / Cyl
fuel feed6 Twin-throat Weber 45 DCOE Carburetors
displacement5000 cc / 305.12 in³
body / frameAluminum Body over Steel Spaceframe
driven wheelsRWD
wheel typeCampagnolo Cast Magnesium
steeringRack & Pinion
f suspensionIndependent w/Coil Springs, Telescopic Shock Absorbers
r suspensionIndependent w/Coil Springs, Telescopic Shock Absorbers
transmission5-Speed Manual