Countach LP400

After Bob Wallace tested the prototype during the entire year 1971 it was the time to build a new prototype to go further to production.

For the Lamborghini engineers it was clear that an extraordinary car like the countach was, could not have a normal steel sheet welded chassis, no, it must have a chassis, which is as "avant-garde" like the cars shape.
So they constructed a Formula 1 like tube frame, this tube frame was created by Marchesi and weighted 90 Kilos, 17 less than the prototypes steel correspondent.

Like on the prototype a 4l engine was used, the engine derived from the Espada was modified for higher performance, it got bigger carburettors and the camshaft timing was changed. On the following picture you can see the engineers discussing the fitting of the engine into the new frame.

Creating this second ever built Countach was an immense work, the car had to be shown on the Geneva Motor Show of 1973 where it was presented in red.

The completed chassis was sent to Bertone where the bodywork and interior was to be completed.

This time aluminum alloy of 1.2mm thickness was used to work out the body, whereas the prototype was made of steel.

The car had 2 windscreen wipers which rested in a V-Position, the dashboard was covered with suede, the hide was black leather.

The midtunnel was lenghtened up to the dashboard housing the ventilation and several controls.

The handbrake lever was positioned in the left door sill, on the right sill was also a little compartment, unfortunately this little useful compartment didn't occur on the production cars.
It took up to the 25th Anniversary cars till this useful space was used again, this time to house the switches for the electrical seats and windows.

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Short after the Geneva Show it was again Bob's part to develop the car further on....

Countach LP400

The red car was later painted green and shown at the 1973 Paris Motor Show, now changed to a single windscreen wiper and it got riveted on air scoop under the front spoiler for brake cooling.

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Countach LP400

This second ever built Countach was then used to construct a master model. The workshop of Mr. Raniero in Orbassano created this master of Elmwood.
On the 22nd October 1973 the master model was taken to St.Agata, being used to build all further Countachs.
From this master model it was possible to produce all necessary tools to build the bodies.

Now it was the time to produce the first examples of preseries cars, the best known of them all was the yellow one of the first sale brochure and commercial releases.
This car was also to be shown on the next Geneva Car Show in 1974, so to say up to the last minute the work on the car was done, at 2:30 am at the opening day the car was ready and trucked to Geneva.

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Countach LP400

This third built car had now the brake cooling integrated into the front wings, though more obviously was the change of the door windows, during the process of constructing the prototype, about 20 glasses broke while welding them into the curved form. The new 3 piece window layout solved this problem and integrates prefect into the car's angular shape.
The NACA induct was now entirely painted satin black, as the front grille too.

The Aluminium body panels thickness was changed from 1.2 to 1.5mm, also the dashboard was changed now having 8 gauges supplied by the american firm Stewart Warner. The dashboard was covered with suede, a material which lowers the chance of distrcting reflections on the windscreen.
As can be seen on the picture below, the door sills were also changed, no more useful compartments were included, the handbrake lever was moved frontwards.

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Countach LP400

Producing the LP400 meant also to homologate the car in different countries, this made it necessary to crash test it and also test parts like seats, belts and so on to confirm safety regulations.

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Countach LP400

As Lamborghini was in a lack on Money they rebuilt the first made LP400 and sold it also, nearly 20 years after it's birth I was able to find this historic Countach in the swiss alpes. I found it in 2000 in a Yahoo-Auction, but unfortunately it was much too expensive for my own budget...

After inspecting the car, it was now doubt it was the first Countach #1120001, inside the wheel house were still traces of the first red colour, on the below picture you can see the riveted on air scoops for brake cooling as well as the different grille. The suspension was fitted with height adjustable Konis and also other parts of the car like the small window was different from the production cars.

On the second picture you can also see the difference in the passengers room, the compartments in the door sills and the completely different shape of the middle tunnel. Also the dashboard has a other form, it becomes narrower against the drivers position, perhaps to prevent reflections.

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Same car in 1974

Countach LP400

After assailing Valentino Balboni with pleases to take the chance, he and Mr. Gamberini finally took the chance in 2001 and visited the car in Switzerland, finally the factory bought back the first ever built LP400 Countach.
The famous first LP400 Countach is now part of the factory museum where it resides side by side to the last built Countach 25th Anniversario KLA12085.

During the presentation of the Murciélago I was one of the rare people who did really know what piece of history I was standing nearby...

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Countach LP400

In 2002 #1120001 was also shown at the Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance.

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© Copyright Bjoern Schmidt www.barchetta.cc


© Copyright Bjoern Schmidt www.barchetta.cc

Countach LP400

In 1975 there was a special Countach made for a very good customer, Walter Wolf the Austria-Canadian Millionaire got this special LP400 #1120148.
This car had for the first time the flat Pirelli P7 tires, it had rims like the Bravo-Prototype in telephone-dial style.
To cover the enlarged wheels the car got fender flares, painted in black. On the rear a massive wing was installed which was adjustable from the cockpit, also the steering was changed to a more direct way and a smaller Wheel was fitted.

But, very important, this car got the 5 litre engine for loan which was planned for the Countach Prototype LP500, this is the reason why this car was known as Countach LP500s.
When Wolf changed to his second LP500s #1120202 the engine was replaced by a normal 4l unit, the car is now in Japan (where else?)

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Countach LP400

Below the second LP400 prototype built for Walter Wolf, this time in Bugatti Blue. It originally had the 5 litre engine on loan from the factory that was later transfered to Wolf Countach #3, the first LP400s. It has the Bravo type wheels finished in Gold paint and gold plated mirrors. This car now belongs to the Rosso Bianco Museum of Aschaffenburg in Germany.
The two photos below show the car while it was registered in switzerland.

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Countach LP400

The two Wolf Countachs leaded finally to a new Version the LP400s, built from 1978 on, again it was one of Walter Wolfs car who made the Countach famous, he simply got the first LP400s #1121002.

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