Lamborghini’s first off-roader and flagship supercar may have been very different, but the way in which they were similar was very important.
The Lamborghini Countach was sold for nearly 20 years because for much of that time, the car remained ahead of its time. Its bold, wedge-shaped design, scissor doors, and impressive performance still remain legendary in the minds and hearts of car enthusiasts across the world, and the story of its engine reflects the car’s daring nature. Lamborghini had made use of a 60-degree V12 engine which performed well when transverse-mounted in a rear-mid engined car, but for the Countach show car, the engine was instead mounted in a longitudinal position and increased in displacement from 4 to 5 liters. That car, the Countach LP 500, was an incredible hit at the Geneva Motor Show, and the Countach was approved for production by Ferruccio Lamborghini before the show was even over. Unfortunately, the show car had to be destroyed in crash tests for the car to go into production, but it gave way to the LP 400, the inaugural Countach model that used the traditional 4-liter engine.
Eventually, in 1982, that 4-liter Countach was again replaced by the LP 5000 S, which now had a 4.8-liter engine with 375 horsepower, and then the Quattrovalvole, which not only had 4 valves per cylinder, but also a 5.1-liter engine with 455 horsepower, and after that the 25th Anniversary edition. During this time, Lamborghini saw a market for a powerful and luxurious off-roader, and the LM 002 was born, and its engine was the V12 that originally belonged to the Countach, with less power to use less refined fuel and a mounting at the front of the car rather than the middle. The innovative tubular chassis featured on the Countach also came to the LM 002, which was technology usually destined for race cars at the time. The vehicle, while made in small numbers, became an iconic car known for its luxury, performance, and off-road capability, and served as one of the main inspirations for Lamborghini’s highly successful return to off-road vehicles, the Urus, which has heritage from all of Lamborghini’s history, but especially the LM 002 and Countach that pioneered the blending of on and off-road performance.