Thursday 14th March 1974
The Lamborghini Countach LP400 production vehicle debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. The mid-engined, V12 sports car was produced from 1974 to 1990. Its design pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high-performance sports cars. It also popularized the “cabin-forward” design concept, which pushes the passenger compartment forward to accommodate a larger engine. The doors, most often credited as a Lamborghini trademark, were a remarkable design feature for the Countach. They first appeared on the Alfa Romeo 33 ‘Carabo’ concept car in 1968, an earlier design accomplishment, also by the talented Gandini. The doors have come to be known as scissor doors: hinged at the front with horizontal hinges, so that they lifted up and tilted forwards. The main reason is the car’s tubular spaceframe chassis results in very high and wide door sills. It was also partly for style, and partly because the width of the car made conventional doors impossible to use in even slightly confined space. Care needed to be taken, though, in opening the doors with a low roof overhead. The car’s poor rear visibility and wide sills led to drivers adopting a method of reversing the car for parking by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and reversing while looking over the back of the car from outside. In 2004, American car magazine Sports Car International named the car number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and listed it number ten on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.