Lamborghini Countach – The Book

Credit: Original article published by LamboCars News.

The Lamborghini Countach is celebrating her 50th anniversary in 2021 after being unveiled as the Countach LP500 prototype at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the Countach has arguably been the most important Lamborghini in history, the car that introduced the upward-opening doors on a production model and that was in production between 1974 and 1990, more than 15 years, in various evolutions, starting with the LP400 right up to the 25th Anniversary edition in 1988 … the Lamborghini Countach was a sensation in the Seventies, and 50 years later she still draws attention.

Automobili Lamborghini SpA recognized the importance of the Countach in their history by building a 50th-anniversary model as a modern-day homage to the classic from the Seventies and Eighties, the 2021 Countach LPI 800-4 which was unveiled during Monterey Car Week, a limited edition of only 112 units with an MSRP of about $2,600,000 that was sold out even before the public got the see the actual car in August 2021.

So the Lamborghini Countach has been famous ever since the Seventies, and while prices have dropped during the Nineties and early 2000s, these days a Countach has become a valuable collector’s item, not yet at the level of a Lamborghini Miura, but she’s getting there, especially the early LP400 models, and if you are looking to get into Countach ownership today, your best option would be to get either a QV or a 25th Anniversary, the latter two will still be expensive, but because these were made in larger numbers, prices haven’t gone into the 7 figure range … yet.

With all the craze about the Lamborghini Countach today, a Swiss collector even convinced Polo Storico to recreate the actual LP500 prototype for him, a one-off bespoke commission recently unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the timing was perfect for Thillainathan Pathmanathan and Anne Christina Reck to publish a brand new book on the Lamborghini Countach, the history, the cars, the special particularities of a 25-year-old V12 supercar from Sant’Agata.

Lamborghini Countach by Thillainathan Pathmanathan and Anne Christina Reck (ISBN 9781910505632, 336 pages) surely isn’t the first book written on this automotive icon, I already have Lamborghini Countach by Stefano Pasini (ISBN 888588010X, 104 pages) published in 1989 in my collection, also the famous Lamborghini Countach book written by Jean-Marc Borel (ISBN 2903652015, 176 pages) that was published in 1985 is on my bookshelf. And the list does go on, the Lamborghini Countach has been featured in many books over the years, another noteworthy book is Lamborghini Countach The Complete Story (ISBN 1852233613, 192 pages) written by Peter Dron in 1990, and last but not least the Lamborghini Countach book by Jean-François Marchet & Peter Coltrin (ISBN 9780850456813, 136 pages) which had an updated release in 1986 when they included the Countach Quattrovalvole.

So finding a brand new, English written book on what is probably the most well-known Lamborghini of all times, the bedroom poster supercar of an entire generation, is just great, and I couldn’t wait to receive my copy to read more on the very car that drew my interest into Lamborghini in the first place. Back in the Eighties, it was the Lamborghini Countach that caught my eye and planted the Lamborghini seed in my life, I started reading up on the car, but also on the history of the late Ferruccio Lamborghini, who wasn’t running the car factory anymore at that time, but he founded it back in 1963, digging further into Lamborghini history I really admired the legacy and just fell in love with the Miura, for me still the most beautiful and sensual looking car ever made.

Do keep in mind there is another recent book on the Lamborghini Countach, published in 2019 and written by David Thirion (ISBN 9791028302276, 192 pages), but it’s in French, and at the time of writing I haven’t found an English translation yet, so this new book by Thillainathan Pathmanathan and Anne Christina Reck is the first book written in English, dedicated to the sensational Lamborghini Countach, since the 1990 Peter Dron book, in the last three decades not a single book on the Countach has been published, now I understand younger people aren’t into reading books anymore, but nothing beats the look and feel of an actual printed hardback book, it’s almost mythical nowadays.

This isn’t the first book written by Thillainathan Pathmanathan in my collection, back in 2019 he also published Lamborghini Murciélago (ISBN 9781845849221, 160 pages), and I have to admit that while the book is packed with photos and information, the layout was a bit busy here and there, with this new Lamborghini Countach book that isn’t the case, the latter has a much more mature look and feel, perhaps more classic, but it suits the subject and I much prefer it this way, to be honest.

Do note Thillainathan Pathmanathan teamed up with Anne Christina Reck to put together this Lamborghini Countach book, next to a 2005 Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster featured in Path’s first book, they also own the red 1988 Countach Quattrovalvole JLA12399 featured on the cover of this new book, but there are other names associated with this latest release on the icon from Sant’Agata, the foreword has been written by none other than Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini’s very own, legendary chief test driver.

After decades of dreaming and the culmination of 5 years of writing and collecting more than 5,000 photographs, this new book starts with an introduction to the world of the Lamborghini Countach, the car that was signed off on by Ferruccio himself, and that would set the mold for all her successors, right up to the current Aventador.

In chapter one Path talks about the Countach he was able to acquire, finished in the classic Rosso Siviglia shade we’ve seen on so many cars, this specific model was the so-called 881/2 model with the special side sills and their air intakes in front of the rear wheels, today this classic has almost 34,000 km on the counter, and Path managed to retain the original clutch from the factory, that’s a feat on its own, sadly sourcing Pirelli tires for this classic lady is an issue, so he runs Yokohama rubber instead.

Just like any decently written book, the authors have to set the scene, and this is done by describing how Ferruccio Lamborghini came about to release a car as futuristic as the Lamborghini Countach into the automotive world in 1971, the founding of Automobili Lamborghini SpA in 1963, and that’s what we can read about in Chapter 2 (Grand Tours and Lamborghini), Chapter 3 (Genesis of an iconic marque), Chapter 4 (Vineyards, a cemetery, and a bull ranch), and then we reach Chapter 5, which details the world’s first supercar, the sensual looking Lamborghini Miura from the Sixties.

Chapter 6 is where it all starts for those looking to know more about the Lamborghini Countach, naturally, Path talks about the name itself, and where it came from, the connection with Bertone, and the design, taking inspiration from cars like the Carabo and the Lancia Stratos HF Zero concept, and while the Countach LP500 prototype had a steel plate chassis, the final production version would use a lightweight tubular chassis or Superleggera chassis.

The next chapter takes us deeper into the amazing Countach drivetrain, with her rear-mid engine layout, rear-wheel drive, and ‘south-north’ engine-gearbox mounting, naturally showing countless photos of the different engines used over the 16-year long production life, from the original 4-Liter V12? to the larger unit inside the LP500 S right up to the ultimate 455 hp Quattrovalvole unit.

Once the power is there, in comes the design, or aerodynamics, which according to many isn’t the Countach’s best characteristic, some describe it as a brick going through air, and that’s what chapter 8 is all about, while from chapter 9 on we first get the background on the Lamborghini Countach LP500 prototype, then the multi-year development path to production, until we are faced with the Countach LP400 in chapter 11.

The next chapters take us through the evolution of the Lamborghini Countach during her production life, from the LP400 S inspired by the Walter Wolf specials, to the LP500 S and later the Quattrovalvole, while an entire chapter is dedicated to the Countach Evoluzione before Horacio Pagani comes in with the Countach 25th Anniversary redesign, by now we’re 200 pages into this very impressive, filled with amazing photographs, book on what is arguably the most coveted Raging Bull ever in automotive history.

The authors then go into the difficulties Lamborghini had to make the Countach legal for the United States market, at that time probably the largest market segment in the world for a car like the Countach, only to swing back to Italy in chapter 19 to talk about Linea Montaggio N:1 at Sant’Agata … the Countach production line, where they publish a photo depicting a red Countach with the doors up in front of a line of Fiat 127 … a bigger contrast would be difficult to capture on film.

Chapter 20 was probably a serious pitfall while doing research on this book, the production data, how many were made, when were they made, and what model … let’s not forget we’re talking about an Italian car manufacturer back in the mid-Seventies to late Eighties, that might not have been keeping ‘the books’ as rigorously as they should have been, so getting exact, correct figures would have been difficult for sure for both authors.

A short stint into the various magazines and other publications that covered the Countach, and a face-off against her competition during production is taken over the next two chapters, very interesting reading material for sure, but chapter 23 had me reading into the early hours one evening, Dr. Tonino Lamborghini talks about the common myths, misconceptions, and mistakes about Lamborghini, and it is really interesting to hear what stories his son mentions, naturally, the Museo Ferruccio Lamborghini is mentioned among other things.

After a ten-page look at what came after the Countach in chapter 24 where they discuss the Diablo and Murciélago, they foray into a subject I’m particularly interested in too, Lamborghini automobilia, going over things like cards, lanyards, original Lamborghini wine, scale models, and posters … I think my entire generation had at least one Lamborghini Countach poster on their bedroom wall, I had multiple posters on mine and today I have a collection of well over 1,000 scale model cars, all Lamborghini, in various scales.

The final chapters in this book talk about the painstaking restoration of this V12 engine Bull, and interviews with experts on this legendary car, while they end the book with final thoughts and reflection on their own car, owning and maintaining a supercar that’s over 30 years old by now and they’ve owned for 20 years as they bought it back in 2001,  beautiful journey for sure, that had it’s ups and downs no doubt, but having a Lamborghini Countach parked in your garage, next to a Murciélago Roadster, is such a sight to behold each morning, who wouldn’t wake up with a smile on your face to open those garage doors.

By now I gather you must have gotten the impression I like this book, but I would go even further and state that I really love it. As I said, I own just about every book ever written on Lamborghini, so I also have the books on the Countach, but this one is refreshing, written from the perspective of an actual owner, two people that have been living with a Countach for 20 years and that spent 5 years to write this book, and while I still cherish my old books, I have no issue putting this one on the same shelf, next to my other Lamborghini books, a collection of nearly 100 pieces at this time.

I’m sure your local bookstore, if you still have one in your neighborhood, as I don’t actually, would be able to order this book, but you can probably also find it in the usual online shops, just look for ISBN 978-1-910505-63-2, Lamborghini Countach by Thillainathan Pathmanathan and Anne Christina Reck, published by EVRO Publishing, UK pricing is £60 while US$ 80 and CAN $100 is printed at the back … and that really is a bargain for this book, it deserves its place on your table or shelf for sure.

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