It seems a big-time Lamborghini collector was able to convince Lamborghini’s in-house restoration department, Polo Storico, to rebuild the 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500, the actual 1971 Geneva Motor Show show car, the milestone in Lamborghini’s history that celebrated her 50th anniversary in 2021 with the launch of the Countach LPI 800-4 at Pebble Beach with a limited production run of 112 units, each priced at $2,600,000 and sold out even before her public unveil.
Lamborghini hasn’t released more info on who commissioned Polo Storico to put together the 1971 Countach LP500 prototype, nor how much they requested for this amazing feat, but rumor has it this car could be going to the Albert Spiess collection in Switzerland to join his over 100 car collection that already comprises of other important Lamborghini like the one-off Miura Roadster, Marzal prototype, the 350 GTS, one of only two 350 GT convertibles, one of nine Veneno Roadster … and he also owns the actual 350 GTV prototype, the first-ever Lamborghini model.
I’m sure money wasn’t an object when this collector came to Lamborghini’s Polo Storico department in 2017 with the question to have them built him, or her, the actual 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500, arguably the most important and most influential model ever to be built in Sant’Agata, the car that gave us the upward-opening doors we know all know as ‘Lamborghini Style Doors’, the legendary car that suffered a hard life during development after the 1971 unveiling, only to be crashed into a barrier at Mira in March 1974.
But the original wreck of the 1971 Countach prototype disappeared after being crash-tested, so building a correct recreation of this unique Lamborghini became quite a challenge for Polo Storico, who even had to involve the Centro Stile in the process, Mitja Borkert, Head of Design remembers it was a massive project to get it right … more specifically because all they had to go from were photos, drawing, and memories of those that were involved in the development back in 1971 as the actual car didn’t exist anymore, not even the 1:1 scale static model made back in the Seventies survived.
So work started finding information on this 50-year-old Lamborghini, photos, documents, reports, even original drawings found in storage to make sure every part, every single detail, down to getting period-correct tires through Fondazione Pirelli, “The collection of documents was crucial,” underscored Giuliano Cassataro, Head of Service and Polo Storico. “There had been so much attention paid to all the details of the car, to their overall consistency and to the technical specifications.”
Remember the Countach LP500 didn’t have the famous tubular chassis, this prototype was built on a one-off platform, so Polo Storico had to build this chassis from scratch, after which the beautiful steel body had to be made from sheet metal, and while the most modern scanners and computers were used to make sure the new car would be as accurate as possible to the original … once the metal had to be shaped things changed considerably. Lamborghini reverted to the metal hammering method used fifty years ago, going so far as to employ real “battilastra” with their inherited creativity and old-school tools from the Seventies.
Not all parts required for the recreation of the Lamborghini Countach LP500 are still available, there was only so much Polo Storico was able to get from the spare parts bin at Sant’Agata, despite having access to restored parts, some parts had to be rebuilt from scratch too so the result would be as period-correct as possible … but there were a few compromises to be made, with the tires for instance.
The 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP500 was fitted with Cinturato CN12 from Pirelli, these no longer exist today, but the archives of Fondazione Pirelli still had the original plans for this old tire, complete with images and preserved materials, so it was possible for the Milanese company’s technicians to create four Cinturato CN12 from the Pirelli Collezione to be fitted to this recreation, 245/60R14 for the front and 265/60R14 for the rear, fitted with the identical tread pattern and aesthetics from 1971, but using a modern compound and structure for safety.
While the Countach LPI 800-4 was unveiled in Bianco Siderale, the 1971 Countach LP500 was finished in yellow, but not just any generic shade of yellow, it took the experience and skills from PPG to recreate ‘Giallo Fly Speciale’ based on information and photos from the real car back in 1971, and from these photos, it looks like a warm shade of yellow, perfectly suited for this homage to the legendary Countach prototype.
Mitja Borkert even took a car from the factory museum when it came to making sure the exact volume for this recreation, they used a large 3D scanner to digitize the green Countach LP400 chassis #001 from the museum to get the correct overall measurements, it would still take another 2,000 hours to combine the data with the photos and actual homologation sheets to create a perfect digital model of the unique, but lost Countach prototype.
If you remember seeing the three teaser video’s released over the last few weeks, you’ll notice that no detail was left untouched by the artisans at Polo Storico, the interior has been recreated as close as possible to the original car, complete with the very special, black leather seats, but also the engine is an almost exact replica of the 1971 V12 with the gold manifolds.
Enjoy the short intro video Lamborghini released on their official YouTube channel on the 2021 recreation of the 1971 Countach LP500 below:
It took Lamborghini’s Polo Storico and Centro Stile over 25,000 hours to recreate the beautiful, one-off Lamborghini Countach LP500, and we can all admire it in real life at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este where she’s entered in the class reserved for concept cars … I can hardly wait to see more of this important Lamborghini …