The original Lamborghini Countach LP500 of 1971 is one of my all-time favourite cars, probably one of yours too. A mere three years after the future shock of Bertone’s ultra-wedge, scissor-door Carabo show car had left the car world reeling, here was something pretty similar in road car form.
The hot yellow paintwork was resprayed red, and it was then slammed into a concrete block at MIRA’s Nuneaton labs…
Actually, it took three years for the first Countach, renamed the LP400, to reach its impatient owner’s hands. And to drive, it was every bit as exhilarating as its mid-engined V12 spec suggested.
A few differences emerged between the original LP500 show car – that shone with the drool of a generation of supercar worshippers – and the finished object. Unfortunately, the chunky air intakes, thin front bumper and hasty redrawing of much sculptural detail sacrificed purity for practicality.
Still, it would be great to make a pilgrimage to a museum to gawp again at the original. But that is impossible.
That sensational show car led a short and brutal life. Once its stint on the motor show circuit was complete, it became the one and only development prototype, thrashed mercilessly for weeks. When that was over, the hot yellow paintwork was resprayed red, and it was then slammed into a concrete block at MIRA’s Nuneaton labs in 1974 in a demonstration of chassis strength.
This in itself was a sham, because the modified LP500 ‘mule’ was built around a welded steel monocoque while the LP400 production car it was masquerading as would use a tubular-steel spaceframe. Its wreckage returned to Italy, and it was never seen or heard of again. The iconic remains are probably part of the steel frame of a Milan office block…