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October 11, 2021

Lamborghini Recreated The First-Ever Countach Using Photographs And A Whole Lot Of Research

When a classic car aficionado and VIP Lamborghini customer asked the Italian supercar maker to reconstruct the first-ever Countach LP500, they did so. Taking 25,000 hours of work and using only photographs for reference, Automobili Lamborghini’s Polo Storico—the company’s restoration department did the job.

As a bit of history, Automobili Lamborghini presented its “idea car”, the LP 500 Countach at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971. The car immediately became the star of the show, and the photographs of it, which went viral, were published in major magazines around the world. This new model was conceived to replace the legendary Miura and wrote a new page in the history of the automobile, both for its technology and design. After three years of development, the LP 500 was sacrificed in crash tests in March 1974 and then disappeared.

At the end of 2017, a Lamborghini customer asked Polo Storico if there was any possibility of creating a reconstruction of the Countach LP 500, a legendary model known only through photographs of the time.

Automobili Lamborghini’s Polo Storico took on the challenge and combed through not just photographs but documents, meeting reports, original drawings, and even interviews with people involved in the project to establish every single detail as accurately as possible.

The work began on the platform chassis, completely different from the tubular frame of the Countach models that would follow. In addition to physically redesigning it, Polo Storico had to decide which work system to use for building it in order to respect the production methods of the time. The same procedure was used for the bodywork, with various modern technological instruments employed for its analysis and definition. 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. A similar process was followed for the interior, which included the lighted diagnostic instruments, as shown on the 1971 prototype.

For all the mechanical components, as in 1971, original Lamborghini spare parts or restored components of the time were used, or failing that, parts were completely rebuilt.

For the historical reconstruction part of the original design, Polo Storico turned to the Lamborghini Centro Stile.

Starting from publications of the time, from images on homologation sheets, and other material recovered from Polo Storico, the in-house Lamboghini design studio was able to reconstruct the mathematics necessary for creating the first 1:1 scale model. The biggest challenge was to create the exact volume of the car. To that end, they took a 3D scan of the LP 400 Chassis 001 to arrive at the final model.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini’s collaboration with Pirelli helped them reconstruct the tires mounted on the LP 500 prototype. Thanks to the images and materials preserved in the archives of Fondazione Pirelli, it was possible to use the original plans of the Cinturato CN12 tire fitted on the LP 500 for its Geneva debut.

From these documents, the Milanese company’s technicians set out to create the Cinturato CN12 of the Pirelli Collezione range, today’s line of tires dedicated to the most iconic cars built between 1930 and 2000, which preserve the originality of the rubber by combining a vintage image with modern technology. Specifically, the Pirelli Cinturato CN12 tires for the Lamborghini Countach LP 500 were supplied in the sizes 245/60R14 for the front and 265/60R14 for the rear, and are now fitted with the same tread pattern and aesthetics as in the 1970s, but with a modern compound and structure.

Finally, when it came to choosing the color, the PPG archives proved to be crucial, making it possible to identify, after careful analysis, the exact composition for producing the yellow color used, identified as “Giallo Fly Speciale”.

About four years later, the end result made its public debut in a class reserved for classic cars at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

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