Lamborghini Countach (1974)
How do you track a car like the Lamborghini Miura? Well, initially by pointing out areas for improvement in the car that is considered to be the first real supercar. The Miura’s high-speed handling was poor, with stability issues and a tendency to oversteer. The transverse engine placement also created problems with weight distribution, access and cooling. Its replacement, dubbed ‘LP112’, had a longitudinally mounted V12 – a first for a road car – with the transmission between the front seats and the drive shaft looping back from there, through the engine crankcase, to the rear differential, centering most of the mass placed in the chassis of the space frame.
The next step was to invite Marcello Gandini, the designer of the Miura, for a second time. After the curvaceous Miura, Gandini had gone on to explore extreme wedge styling with the Lancia Stratos Zero and Alfa Romeo Carabo. Here he sought inspiration for the new Lamborghini with its extremely low, steep nose that runs straight into the windshield, trapezoidal shapes, scissor doors and sharply truncated tail. Gandini has also claimed that it was he who jokingly suggested calling the car ‘Countach’, a Piedmontese profanity that expresses surprise.