What does it mean to be an icon? And above all, is there a magic formula for becoming one? The Lamborghini Countach is by definition one of the most iconic models in the company’s history and of the automotive world in general.
In a year that saw the reconstruction of the first Countach, the LP 500, by the Polo Storico, and the presentation of its contemporary version, the Countach LPI 800-4, the tribute to Lamborghini’s heritage in which visionary design meets future technology; the celebrations dedicated to its 50th anniversary came to a close with a talk on excellence followed by immersive and experiential activities to help people discover and experience the world of Centro Stile and Polo Storico Lamborghini.
The meeting opened with a presentation by Stephan Winkelmann, Chairman and CEO of Lamborghini and then continued with a discussion featuring some of the company’s most influential figures: Federico Foschini, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, who oversees Polo Storico Lamborghini; Maurizio Reggiani, Chief Technical Officer and member of Polo Storico’s Comitato dei Saggi (Wise Men Committee), and Mitja Borkert, Head of Design.
They were joined by an exceptional special guest, Stephen Bayley, writer, curator, critic, design expert and founder of the Design Museum in London, who opened the discussion by explaining the concept of classic: “It is something definitive and universal, where by definitive we mean a concept that goes beyond the passing of time and universal means that everyone likes it.” Bayley then added: “If we can recognize a city by the buildings that make up its skyline, for example, Paris with its Eiffel Tower and the Montmartre Basilica, Florence with its Duomo and bell tower, or London with Big Ben and the towering The Shard across the Thames, then the design of those individual works is so extraordinary and so powerful that it makes those buildings different from all others. Their form can hardly be improved, but some details can be developed, keeping the basic concept intact. This is what I think about as I look at the two Lamborghini Countachs side by side: the 1971 LP 500 and the new Countach LPI 800-4. Fifty years of history face to face and icons of their time, whose distinctive style and extraordinary performance have earned them their place in the automotive elite.”
“There are works of art that always remain relevant, and the design of the Countach is one of them.” This is how Mitja Borkert described the styling of this automotive icon. “Its distinctive feature,” he added, “is dictated by a single longitudinal line, visually connecting its front and rear. It’s a perfect inspiration since even if you change the rest, it’s an element of visual continuity between past and present. It’s the sum of the design elements in Lamborghini’s DNA, the tradition of the styling language from the company’s origins to the present day.”
Federico Foschini remarked: “The reconstruction of the first Countach took 25,000 hours of work and study and involved every company department. We wanted to recreate the LP 500 prototype presented at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the same one that after years of road tests was destroyed in the crash tests necessary to obtain homologation.
Few people saw it in person, but everyone fell in love with it from the photographs. The attention and success we achieved when we presented this reconstruction was a clear and further sign that this car is now a legend.
What was even more striking was the fact that it attracted different generations without distinction, though they are usually quite distant in terms of their tastes and definition of beauty.”
For Maurizio Reggiani, who remembers the huge impact the Countach LP 500 had on him and his professional growth, the new Countach LPI 800-4 has all the necessary characteristics to become part of the collective imagination. “The technical formula of the LP 500, with its V12 engine in a longitudinal position at the rear and the gearbox positioned in front behind the cockpit, led to a new way of imagining super sports cars in terms of both design and performance. The vertically opening doors, which debuted on the LP 500, and the mechanical layout remained unchanged, confirming the original choice. The Countach LPI 800-4 adds modern technology, including composite materials, improved aerodynamic features, and a 12-cylinder hybrid engine equipped with a supercapacitor and four-wheel drive. All elements that have not changed the extraordinary spirit of the original Countach.”
A total of 112 units of the Countach LPI 800-4 will be produced. The cars, all of which have already been sold before being officially unveiled to the public, will be delivered during 2022. Most of the orders were placed by enthusiasts who already own an original Countach model and couldn’t resist the temptation to configure their new Countach with the same colours as the classic one.