It was 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show when Lamborghini unveiled its “idea car,” the LP 500 Countach, which quickly became the star of the show and of the sports car world.
Lamborghini set out to replace the Miura with the LP 500 Countach, but after three short years of development, the car was sacrificed in crash tests in March 1974.
“The Countach reinvented high-performance cars,” Stephan Winkelmann, chairman and chief executive of Automobili Lamborghini, says in the automaker’s news release. “It became an icon in terms of stylistic language that even today, after decades, still inspires contemporary Lamborghinis.”
Toward the end of 2017, Lamborghini customer Polo Storico asked the Italian automaker if there was any chance of reconstructing the Countach LP 500. The company said yes and began gathering drawings and the essential materials needed for such a project.
“The collection of documents was crucial,” head of service Giuliano Cassataro is quoted. “There had been so much attention paid to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications.”
The LP 500 was built on a platform chassis, different from the later Countachs built on tubular frames.
“Once the sheet metal beating phase was reached, technology gave way to the traditional Italian system, carried out by the ‘battilastra’ with his creativity and tools,” the automaker explains. “A similar process was followed for the interior, which included the lighted diagnostic instruments, as shown on the 1971 prototype.”
Lamborghini used spare and restored parts from 1971 for the mechanical components.
For design, the Lamborghini Centro Stile’s team, led by Mitja Brokert, carried on the project.
“The LP 500 is of paramount importance to Lamborghini because it gave rise to the design DNA of all subsequent models,” Brokert says. “To arrive at the car that debuted in Geneva in 1971, a 1:1 scale styling model was developed, which along with the car itself was lost over time, but extensive photographic evidence of it remains. This is the same approach with which we decided to tackle the project.
“Starting from publications of the time, from images on homologation sheets and other material recovered from Polo Storico, we were able to reconstruct the mathematics necessary for creating the first 1:1 scale model,” Brokert continues.
“The biggest challenge was to create the exact volume of the car, and for this we used the opportunity to take a 3D scan of our LP 400 (chassis 001), which was an enormous source of information. It took us 2,000 hours of work altogether to arrive at the final model, with lines that satisfied us. The exact same procedure was followed for the interior.”
Lamborghini partnered with Pirelli to reconstruct the original Cinturato CN12 tires fitted on the 1971 Countach LP 500.
When it came time to choose the color, the team carefully analyzed the original model’s paint composition to produce the same exact shade of yellow, Giallo Fly Speciale.
After 25,000 hours of work, the reconstructed LP 500 was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.