GRR

Lamborghini has recreated the Countach-spawning LP500

03rd October 2021
Ethan Jupp

Lamborghini has recreated the LP500, otherwise known as the one-off prototype that spawned the Countach. That makes it, by extension, the one-off prototype that paved the way for 50 years of wedge-shaped exotica. The Polo Storico historical arm of the Italian manufacturer took 25,000 hours to complete the process.

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An extensive process indeed, given that this wasn’t a restoration, building from a base car. Nor was this a production vehicle. Just two LP500s were made, one a styling buck and one a running car, in time for the 1971 Geneva Motor Show. Both have been lost over time, so this in every sense, is a faithful ground-up recreation, with little more than period imagery and the expert craftsmanship of Lamborghini Centro Stile to guide the project. 

“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.”

“The LP 500 is of paramount importance to Lamborghini because it gave rise to the design DNA of all subsequent models,” said Mitja Borkert, Head of Design at Lamborghini Centro Stile. 

“To arrive at the car that debuted in Geneva in 1971, a 1:1 scale styling model was developed, which along with the car itself was lost over time, but extensive photographic evidence of it remains. Starting from publications of the time, from images on homologation sheets and other material recovered from Polo Storico, we were able to reconstruct the mathematics necessary for creating the first 1:1 scale model.

“The biggest challenge was to create the exact volume of the car, and for this, we used the opportunity to take a 3D scan of our LP400 (chassis 001), which was an enormous source of information. It took us 2,000 hours of work altogether to arrive at the final model, with lines that satisfied us. The exact same procedure was followed for the interior.”

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Even down to the chassis, which differed greatly from the production Countach, Lamborghini has been entirely faithful to the original LP500. Similarly, the bodywork was created as it would have been, with sheet metal beating. Under the skin, restored or remanufactured mechanical components were used. The engine for instance was a near-direct swap from the then-current Miura. Lamborghini also worked with Pirelli using original plans, to recreate the unique Cinturato CN12 tyres – retro treads and all – for this LP500 recreation.

Why was the LP500 so unique? Well, this show car, as-was, proved to be compromised when it came to testing. If you’re thinking it looks quite smooth and subtle compared to the generously ventilated production LP400 Countach, you’d be right. The slatted intakes couldn’t draw enough air to cool and feed the V12, hence the box intakes that made production. The LP500 is Marcello Gandini’s vision for the Countach in its purist form and a vital piece of Lamborghini’s history.

  • Lamborghini

  • Countach

  • LP500

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