The Lamborghini Countach is one of the most iconic cars from the 1980s but that’s just when it became an international superstar. Between movies like The Cannonball Run and posters featuring scantily-clad women as car covers, Lamborghini’s momentum for Countach only seemed to gain speed as it grew older. Though the overall design stayed intact, in its close to two-decade lifespan, the exotic actually underwent some dramatic changes over the years.
By the time I became aware of the Countach, at the dawn of the ’80s, the original LP400 had been replaced by the LP400 S. It’s at that time Countach adopted its enduring appearance. With significantly wider tires the fiberglass wheel well extensions were necessitated and the massive rear wing became an option. By 1985, the 5000 Quattrovalvole (QV) was introduced and, for the first time, Countach was available in the U.S. from the factory — ungainly federally-mandated bumpers and all. Apart from that, the 5000 QV’s carburetors had been repositioned which resulted in a bulge on the rear deck.
All of those add-ons appeared quite natural to me because that’s really all I knew of the car. However, it only takes a cursory look at the initial design, from 1974, to gain a better understanding of the original language imparted by its Italian designer, Marcello Gandini (from Bertone). Hence, a question persists as to which iteration I like more.
To illustrate the differences and solicit your opinions, here are some comparison pictures. Remember, this is not a matter of performance but, rather, a purely design-related discussion. Put plainly, is unadulterated or accessorized a more appealing look for Countach? Juxtaposed below are the original LP400, in blue, and 5000 QV, in red.
To mark Lamborghini’s quarter-century mark, a 25th anniversary version was produced. It had an integrated rear bumper but incorporated even more complex detailing, including the rocker panel strakes. Though it hinted at the Diablo, the Countach’s successor, I felt it took on too much design-wise.