Friday, October 1, 2021

LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH - A SPIRITUAL REVIVAL by John Crawford

THE QUAIL – A MOTORSPORTS GATHERING is gathering notoriety as the place for new car reveals and this year was no exception. Set on the beautiful grounds of the Quail Lodge Golf Club in the lush Carmel Valley just east of Monterey, Lamborghini chose this wonderful venue to debut its spiritual successor to the fabulous 1970s Countach.



The original Countach was created by maestro Marcello Gandini in 1974, when he was designing for Bertone, so the task of creating the 2021 version imposed great weight of expectations on the new Head of Centro Stile – Mitja Borkert.

Marcello Gandini & Mitja Borkert

I believe Borkert has very, very successfully assembled a cohesive blend of 1970s design cues, eschewing sharp edges for luscious curves, for a contemporary interpretation of the much-loved original.


Borkert has given in to tradition using the ‘hexagonita’ theme for the taillamps.

So, hands up those who hate the new version? Then, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to go to the back of the room.



It’s obvious that Borkert’s design is not a copy, nor is it outrageous or flashy. It’s refined, subtle and a very mature rendering of the essence of its illustrious ancestor.



The new car retains a V12, is still incredibly fast (0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds!), and imposes itself on the landscape with a distinct personality. You KNOW this is a supercar.
 

According to the CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, Stephan Winkleman, only 112 cars will be made, and according to the PR BS wafting around The Quail, all are spoken for – despite the AUD$3 million pricetag.


Back in 2009 I was staying at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, and emerged one morning to see a gathering of Lamborghinis in Cannery Row, all headed for Concorso Italiano. I struck up a conversation with the owner of a beautiful (and beautifully-maintained) 'Rosso' Diablo - which he invited me to drive to the Concorso! It was quite the experience, but I have to say the 'Devil' was a handful in the Monterey traffic. I was happy we made it there in one piece.


But that was then, and as my recent drive in the Huracan EVO revealed, Lamborghini's on-road performance today is a very satisfactory revelation. I was amazed how supple and compliant the Huracan was in a suburban setting; so I'm betting the new Countach will be a spectacular ride.



So, will the Lamborghini Lovers embrace this spiritual successor to a car, almost as famous as the Miura? It really doesn’t matter, does it? If you can’t have one, you only have your personal opinion to grapple with.



As I wrote just a week ago, I am thrilled that the Lamborghini design lineage has been faithfully respected by Luc Donckerwolke, Fillipo Perini, and now Mitja Borkert.


If Ferrucio was haunting the halls at Sant’Agata Bolognese, I think he’d approve. In fact, I think he would be flattered and very impressed that his vision of challenging Ferrari back in 1963 has resulted in such a truthful rendition of his dreams.


JOHN CRAWFORD

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