I recently went to South Florida to drive a Lamborghini Countach. This was a tremendously exciting moment in my life, largely because I’ve always wanted to drive a Countach, and also because I drove this Countach — the big-winged, over-the-top 25th Anniversary model, painted in white — around the Miami area. It just seemed perfect.
I had the chance to drive this Countach thanks to Performance Auto Wholesalers, an exotic-car dealership in Miami with an excellent inventory of cool performance and exotic cars. But I was most excited about the Countach, which remains one of my all-time dream cars and one of the most exciting vehicles ever made.
Here’s why: The Countach was the first Lamborghini to really utilize the wedge shape when it came out in 1974. Initially designed by Marcello Gandini, the Countach got larger, and wider, and more expressive until the end of the line: The model I drove — the 25th Anniversary version — which was the most expressive of them all. That one was sculpted by Horacio Pagani, who you may know from another car company.
Anyway, the 25th Anniversary model wasn’t just the boldest and most outrageous: It was also the most powerful, boasting a 450-horsepower 5.2-liter V12, compared to the 370-hp 3.9-liter V12 in the original one. To me, that (coupled with the crazy styling) makes the 25th Anniversary the best Countach, but most collectors disagree: They sell for the lowest amounts of money (“only” $250,000-$300,000), as they were furthest from Gandini’s original purpose.
Either way, a Countach is a Countach, and the Countach is cool — and I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel. So I arrived at the dealership, we took the Countach out to get gas, and then … it started pouring. Rain wasn’t in the forecast for hours, and yet there was a torrential downpour. It stayed rainy the entire time I had the Countach.
Nonetheless, I discovered a lot of exciting things about the Countach’s driving experience — including the fact that it isn’t quite as bad as I was thinking it would be. Now, to be clear, it wasn’t good: The rear visibility is harsh, the clutch is difficult to press, the steering wheel is hard to turn, and you’re lower than everyone else on the road. But none of those things are as bad as I thought they’d be, especially since I’ve heard this car built up for years as one of the most difficult-to-drive cars ever manufactured.
Instead, performance was actually decent: 450 horsepower was a lot then, and it’s still quite a bit; I was able to really push the accelerator a few times between serious downpours, and I was surprised the Countach isn’t just “1980s fast,” but rather actually fast. It’s also actually sporty, exhibiting little body roll in what few corners I could find in South Florida. And, of course, the sound is wonderful: The giant V12 is right behind your head, and it sounds absolutely glorious; you’ll want to keep pressing the throttle, repeatedly, just to giggle at the kind of sounds you can make.
But the real benefit of the Countach comes in the way it looks. For a Ferrari or a Porsche, driving experience is crucial; for a 1980s Lamborghini, it was all about the looks. And this thing looks amazing. When I was finished filming with the Countach, I asked someone from Performance Auto Wholesalers if he wouldn’t mind running the Countach around the block a few times so I could get some shots of it on the move. He obliged, and simply watching this thing approach almost made me burst out laughing. How did they get away with this back then? How did they actually create a car that looks like this from the ridiculousness that was 1980s Italy? And how is it still the single most striking car on the road 30 years later?
When you’re inside the Countach, you don’t quite have such a strong sense of how absurd you look. Sure, you look out through the flat windshield and you’re limited by the hilarious side windows. But I honestly wonder if this car is best appreciated from the outside, watching it go by: To me, the luckiest person on the roads that day wasn’t necessarily the guy sitting inside the Countach, furiously working the wiper and desperately trying not to crash in heavy rain. Instead, it was probably the people next to me, behind me and across the street from me, who got to watch this thing go by — half the thrill with none of the risk.
When I handed the Countach back, I was disappointed. Not in the Countach’s driving experience, but in my seat time: I spent about an hour behind the wheel of the car, and I’m usually happy to give back the exotics, as I’m eager to be rid of the liability. But in this case, I wanted more. Not because it was especially fast or because the handling was especially tight or because it was incredibly comfortable, but because it was a total hoot to drive; one of the few cars I’ve driven that kept me smiling every single minute, even in heavy rain. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Lamborghini Countach is worth $300,000. Find a Lamborghini Countach for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.