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Offline AshSimmonds

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Source: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090117/MOTORING/962931020/-1/OPINION

The Countach created a whole new genre: the supercar

Tim Brooks

It was impractical and almost impossible to drive, but the Countach set the benchmark for Italian style.

Motoring enthusiasts always have an exhaustive list of adjectives at hand to describe the latest sleek saloon or curvy coupe.

But the Lamborghini Countach is a car so brash and outlandish that it leaves even the most verbose of car lovers speechless. There is not a lexicon in the history of human civilisation that can even begin to do it justice.

In the late 1960s, Lamborghini was a brand that set the benchmark for Italian style. The lines of its iconic Muira were so classic that, when one pulled up at a palazzo, you would half expected Julius Caesar to emerge wearing leather racing goggles.

And so when, in 1974 they unveiled the revolutionary Countach, the collective gasp was such that seconds later many observers fainted through a lack of oxygen. Its bulging bodywork, cockpit-style seating and comically oversized air ducts were more reminiscent of a fighter jet than a road car.

This wasn’t just a new model, it was an entirely new genre; a brave foray into an as yet uncharted and unexplored world. The supercar was born.

The Countach was always a statement car. Driving one on an everyday road was, quite frankly, a preposterous proposition. It was far too fast for your average suburban ring road, ridiculously thirsty, embarrassingly unreliable and would get grounded on even the most shallow of speed bumps.

But none of this mattered. This was never a car designed to score highly in a What Car diagnostic test. It had one purpose and one purpose alone: to turn heads. Indeed, the designer, Marcello Gandini of the famous Bertone styling house, was well aware of this.

Hence the nearest translation to “Countach”, a Piedmont slang term, is not a word at all but a wolf whistle.

To owners, the cost was irrelevant for you were buying sex appeal, and that was priceless. Like a toddler at mealtime, it demanded constant attention. This goes some way to explaining the incredible longevity of the car.

For what must have seemed like a concept car fated to cause a stir and die a quick but glorious death on its 1970s release, the Countach lasted for 15 years. But don’t think this makes them common. The Countach is anything but common and only 2,000 rolled off the production line.

Although you are unlikely to see one on the road today, the Countach endures as a symbol of 1980s materialism. As an ostentatious display of wealth and status it has few equals. And so, despite being the most impractical vehicle ever to have placed a tyre on tarmac, it has written its own chapter in the history of the automobile.

Offline jim501

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Except that the genre "supercar" had already been introcuded with the Miura.

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