Why the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary was so important
When you ask people about their favorite car, the one they had as a poster on their bedroom wall, chances are you’ll get the Lamborghini Countach a lot, this futuristic supercar from the Eighties was a poster car for an entire generation, but usually, it was one specific version of this by now classic, the one with the wide 345mm Pirelli P7 tires at the rear with the large wheel arch extensions and the deep, concave five-hole wheels … either with or without the massive rear wing … but there were more versions of the Lamborghini Countach made apart from that wild-looking one.
Initially, Lamborghini released the Countach LP400, also known as the Periscopio for the periscope-style rear view mirror treatment, but sometimes also referred to as the narrow-body Countach because this first model had some narrow 14-inch wheels with 205/70 tires fitted, no extended wheel arches nor spoilers, already powered by a 4-Liter V12 engine with 375 hp and 365 Nm of torque, some impressive numbers back in the Seventies, but nothing compared to what we would see later on, as in 1978 Lamborghini revealed the Countach LP400 S, inspired by some of Walter Wolf custom cars, now with wheel arch flares, a deep front spoiler and massive 15-inch wheels, still 205 at the front but now 205/50 VR 15, while the rear was fitted with the widest tires in the world at that time, Pirelli P7 345/35 VR 15, steamroller rubber, and while Lamborghini never officially offered the rear wing, it became a sought after option anyway, but it was never fitted on the assembly line as rumor has it Lamborghini never officially homologated that iconic aerofoil at the rear.
As a response to the competition from Maranello, Lamborghini increased the engine for their flagship in 1982 with the Countach LP500 S, the previous models came with a V12 and a 3929 cc (240 ci) displacement, the LP500 S became the 5-liter model, 4754 cc (290 ci) to be exact, and power output grew to 375 bhp, but that still wasn’t enough when Ferrari came up with the Testarossa, so Lamborghini created what is for many the ultimate Countach, apart from the original LP400 … the Countach Quattrovalvole, yes, now with four valves per cylinder, but that wasn’t all Lamborghini changed in 1985, displacement grew once again, now to 5167 cc (315 ci) and a very important rise to 455 hp and 501 Nm of torque.
Along came 1988, a celebration year as Automobili Lamborghini SpA was founded back in 1963, so they had to prepare something special for the 25th anniversary, something along the lines of the Ferrari F40 that was a homage to 40 years of the Prancing Horse, and the intention was to unveil the Countach successor in 1988, remember the Countach had been in production since 1974, so almost 14 years, which is extremely long for one single model, even if it had evolved into the Quattrovalvole already. But management quickly discovered having a brand new car ready by 1988 wasn’t going to happen, in the end, we wouldn’t see the Diablo until 1990 remember, so they had Horacio Pagani restyle the current V12 flagship into a special 25th Anniversary model.
Yes, you are reading that correctly, we are talking about the same Pagani that would start his own company and create automotive history with the Zonda and Huayra hypercars, but back to the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary, which wasn’t just a restyle of the Quattrovalvole although many still think that to this day, but if you look closely you’ll notice a lot has been changed in 1988 to create what might very well be the best Countach in the series, and still it isn’t the one that gets the highest bids at the auction, and that might have something to do with the fact the 25th Anniversary was produced the most of all Countach models, 657 units over a period of fewer than two years.
But for many fans, the Countach 25th Anniversary had lost a lot of the appeal a Quattrovalvole still had, the latter had the angular styling from the original LP400, only with the added arches, spoilers, and wide wheels from the S model, while on the 25th Anniversary all that was toned down a lot, the wheel arches were more molded into the aluminum body, there were side skirts with fins on the intakes in front of the rear wheels (some late QV also had these side sills by the way), at the front the bumper was less aggressive, especially on Euro-spec models, while the 25th Anniversary Countach received a rear bumper and totally different ‘shoulder’ air intakes and vents, it just looked less aggressive compared to the raw QV styling.
And the changes didn’t stop there, this celebration model also received completely new wheels, still the massive 345mm tires at the rear, but those famous concave ‘telephone dial’ wheels were gone, and things got considerably more ‘plush’ on the interior too, new seats, with electric adjustments, a digital airconditioning controller on the central console, and even those tiny side windows got power operated now for the first time in a Countach, and according to those that have had the chance to drive both the S or QV model and this 25th Anniversary edition, it seems the latter even drives differently, the overall experience is different, but still totally different from the Diablo which feels considerably ‘larger’ compared to the Countach.
But let’s hear from Curated TV why the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary might have been forgotten for a while by purists, and why it is the perfect ‘anti-hybrid’ car today: