Whereas its predecessors, the Miura, was sensual and muscular, the Lamborghini Countach was a futuristic razor edged wedge, that at the time its launch, you could believe had just roared out of the hyperactive imagination of a sci-fi writer with a particular obsession for automotive speed and excellence. Like the Miura, its V 12 engine was mid mounted, but it was a much better developed car, not to mention much easier to live with (despite the show off lift up doors), and a lot more forgiving in its handling, as well. It was also ever faster than the Miura, with Lamborghini claiming a top speed of 186 mph (298 km/h). Countach, incidentally, is a Piedmontese expletive meaning Wow!’ or something stronger, depending on how it is pronounced. The first Countach went to their owners in 1974, and the model got progressively more tasteless in its styling as the years went by, especially once the bespoilered 5 liter model appeared in 1982. The car began to put on as much flab as muscle, yet it remained popular, and kept the troubled Lamborghini, long since out of its founder’s control, afloat through the dark abyss of the 1970s and 1980s.
The last QV, Quattrovalvole, four valve per cylinder cars were built in 1991, with talk of a top speed if 200 mph (320 km/h). In its later years the Lamborghini Countach became a kind of parody of itself, a car for anyone with too much money and not enough taste. Yet how many other 25 year old super cars can any child recognize at a glance?