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1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 Prototipo

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 by Richard Owen
type Concept / Prototype Car
released at 1971 Geneva Auto Show
built at Santa’Agata Bolognese, Italy
body stylist Marcello Gandini
coachbuilder Bertone
engineers Paolo Stanzani
production 1
engine 60° V12
position Mid, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain DOHC 2 Valves / Cyl
fuel feed 6 Twin-throat Weber 45 DCOE Carburetors
displacement 5000 cc / 305.12 in³
body / frame Aluminum Body over Steel Spaceframe
driven wheels RWD
wheel type Campagnolo Cast Magnesium
steering Rack & Pinion
f suspension Independent w/Coil Springs, Telescopic Shock Absorbers
r suspension Independent w/Coil Springs, Telescopic Shock Absorbers
transmission 5-Speed Manual