With all the force of a builder pushing a ton of bricks up a flight of stairs, Kazuki Ohashi wrestles his Lamborghini Countach out of the courtyard at Madlane’s brand new HQ in Okayama and onto the open road. The car is raw, untamed and fights Kazuki-san on every corner, but despite all that, it is – and always will be – utterly brilliant.
This marvel of Italian engineering has defined our very concept of the modern supercar. Except it isn’t really a car at all. No, the Countach is a parmesan-cheese-fuelled dream wrapped around a naturally aspirated V12. Yes, cheese dreams are a real thing, just ask Google.
I can’t quantify Marcello Gandini’s cheese intake during the 1970s when he designed the Countach, but one thing is for sure – the man had some pretty wild dreams. Luckily he knew how to get them down on paper.
It’s also interesting to note that before penning the Countach, Gandini actually started out in interior, furniture and industrial design. That might explain all those wonderful angles.
This is not the first Lamborghini we’ve featured from Madlane; last year we showed you Kazuki-san’s white Diablo. While that car had been remodelled in the image of the late-’90s Diablo Jota, for this build Kazuki-san has honoured the immortal lines of what is arguably the most recognisable and maniacal supercar of all time.
I can’t be 100% sure I’d ever actually seen a Countach in person before this. I have vague memories of seeing a red one on the streets of England, but that might just be a faux memory stolen from YouTube videos of Harry Metcalfe’s garage.
But, that’s the thing – this car is so iconic, so wild and so instantly recognisable, that it already somehow feels familiar. It’s like a mythical beast, a Griffin perhaps. We could all describe it as if we had ridden upon its feathery back, even though no one ever has.
I almost felt uninterested walking around it at Madlane HQ, but then suddenly slapped myself in sheer disbelief that I was in proximity to and even touching the Holy Grail of bedroom poster supercars.
It really was quite surreal, because the Countach has the same raw, mechanical grit that many ’70s-era cars have. Even a Mini Cooper has that forged-from-steel vibe as though it could have come from the industrial revolution.
But the ancient ambiance is where the similarities between other ’70s cars ends, because this thing has all the design cues of a spaceship, not something Mr. Bean drives.
And that’s because the Countach was conceived during the age of the space race, when the future was exciting and flying cars were a fanciful possibility. I think as soon as October 21st, 2015 ticked over (the day Marty McFly travelled to the future in Back to the Future II) and we realised we weren’t getting proper hoverboards, our view of the future has been less enthusiastic.
The 25th Anniversary Edition, released in 1988, is peak Countach. It’s the most extreme in terms of styling and a far cry from the softer lines of the original 1974 LP400 model.
For this last hurrah, another forward-thinking, genius designer was called in to add more extreme bits to Gandini’s cheese grater. Horacio Pagani.
The iconic top-mounted air ducts were extended and the exit fins rotated, which enabled the air intake boxes to be rotated too, thus freeing up space around the radiators, which allowed for better air flow and cooling. Not only did that improve the car technically, but also aesthetically, as it created a more continuous roof line on the side profile.
The Countach in black makes me wonder if Darth Vader ever had a drivers licence?
The lower Testarossa-style fins also aided engine and rear brake cooling, which along with the refined aerodynamics enabled the 25th Anniversary Edition to claim the fastest 0-60mph of all the Countach variants.
So how has Kazuki-san refined Pagani’s refinements? ‘Subtle’ isn’t a word often associated with the Lamborghini Countach, but subtle was the approach taken when modifying this particular 25th Anniversary model. If you look carefully, you’ll see both front and rear wheel arches have been widened, while retaining their original contours. The bumpers have been smoothed out too, and, most noticeably, the car has been slammed on air suspension.
That has allowed Kazuki-san to squeeze in a set of wheels befitting this behemoth of Bologna. Nothing less than BBS E57 center-locks measuring 17×9-inch up front and 18×14.5-inch at the rear.
The Countach is possibly the most controversial and radical car design of our age, but perhaps what’s even more infuriating or blasphemous for some people is bagging a classic supercar.
Feel free to let your screams of rage flood into the comments section – I don’t think it will bother Marcello Gandini one little bit.