Price: $60 (varies with dealer)
Length: 9.1 in. (9.15 in. for LP400 S)
Wheelbase: 5.36 in.
Width: 4.18 in
(4.48 in. for LP 400 S)
» Opening hood, doors, trunks
» Flip-up headlights
» Operational steering
» Articulated suspension
RATINGS: LP400 (LP400 S)
» Body, paint 3.5
» Wheels, tires 2 (3)
» Engine 3.5
» Chassis, suspension,
» Interior 4
» Presentation, proportion, stance 3 (4)
» Collectability 3 (4)
Suspension, wheels and tires. Flip the Lambo over, and the detailed suspension dominates your view. The rear sports a multi-link setup mounted on a cast-metal subframe and featuring functional twin coil-springs on each side. The front uses unequal-length wishbones, coil-springs and an anti-roll bar. There is no discernable difference between the S and non-S suspensions. Painted disc brakes with detailed calipers reside in the wheels of all models, though they are much easier to see on S cars. The wheels are accurate renditions of the Campagnolo magnesium wheels, right down to their charging-bull-embossed center caps. The tires, however, are a different story. The tires on the prototype and non-S cars look too big, and measuring them confirms that they are considerably oversizeroughly 1:16 scale in diameter (though the tread width is correct). It gives the early cars an artificially high stancethe only major flaw in an otherwise accurate presentation. I’m not sure why the early tires were so huge; perhaps Kyosho reused tires from another model to save a little money? The stance on the S cars looks right, and when measured, the tires’ tread width and rolling radius were both accurate.
|BIG BAD WOLF’S
Best known as the owner of Canada’s Formula 1 race team in the ’70s, Walter Wolf was a Countach fanatic. In addition to owning multiple Countachs, he, even more than the Lamborghini factory, is responsible for the creation of the S modelthe 1978 update that has come to epitomize the Lamborghini image.
The winged red and blue cars are a story unto themselves. Packaged by Kyosho as LP500 Ss, close inspection reveals this designation to be incorrect; the cars modeled are actually much more rare and interesting. These are replicas of the two cars Wolf used to develop the modifications that became the basis for the S series. The red car with black fenders started as a stock 1975 LP400 (chassis number 148) in which Wolf had Lamborghini retrofit a duplicate of the original 1971 Countach prototype’s 5.0L engine. The mill was rumored to have produced between 440 and 480hpwell above the stock LP400’s 375and Wolf felt the car needed improved handling to match the extra power, so he enlisted noted race car designer Giampaolo Dallara. Dallara’s rework incorporated 15-inch magnesium Campagnolo Bravo telephone-dial wheels (so named for the five holes that were reminiscent of the finger holes on a rotary dial phone) that were an inch bigger in diameter and a full 2.5 inches wider than the stock 14×9.5 rims. The Campagnolos were shod with the widest rear tires ever installed on a production car345mm versions of Pirelli’s newly released P7 tire. To cope with the increase in grip and the sheer size of the tires, the suspension geometry had to be completely redone, and large fender flares were added to cover the tires, which extended past the stock body panels. A chin spoiler was added to reduce lift, and a gigantic adjustable rear wing was tacked onto the tail.
The second car is finished in mid-Royal Blue (which was actually a Bugatti factory color) with gold pinstriping, side mirrors and Bravo wheels, and with Canadian emblems on the headlight covers and rear valence. The valence also sported a Wolf Formula One logo surrounding the flag, but this detail has been omitted on the Kyosho model (possibly for licensing reasons?). The blue car was a 1976 model (chassis no. 202) and was outfitted in much the same way as car no. 148, including the engine, suspension and body mods, but the rear wing was now power adjustable from the cockpit. Rumor has it that Wolf also had a public address system installed (as if arrival in a screaming blue, Canadian-flag-adorned Lamborghini supercar didn’t speak loudly enough!).
At the time he purchased no. 202, Wolf urged the factory to adopt Dallara’s modifications for production. In 1978, they didat least, in part. The Campagnolo Bravo wheels, Pirelli 345-series tires, accompanying suspension alterations and body revisions were incorporated (though the rear wing was optional and not power adjustable). The notable omission was in the engine bay: the powerplant remained the stock 4.0L. The new model was christened the LP400 S, and the Countach was reborn. Of course, Walter Wolf bought the very first one.
Demand for the original configuration LP400 immediately dropped to almost none, and many owners of pre-S cars c
ontracted to have theirs updated. Lamborghini phased out the standard LP400, and only the S remained in production until 1982, when an increased displacement V12 was adopted, and the car was rebadged as the LP500 S, proving once again that Wolf was ahead of the curve.
|CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Kyosho’s 1/18-scale Countach line is a study in contradiction. The cars are subtly detailed renditions of some of the least subtle automobiles of all time. The Countach backed up its extreme appearance with performance, exclusivity and no small measure of quirkinessthe perfect recipe for creating an automotive legend. Think of Lamborghini ownership as the vehicular equivalent of dating a supermodelnot easy to live with day-to-day, but inspiring universal envy and making for one hell of a ride!
You have to love a car as unabashedly decadent as the Countach, and you have to admire a model like Kyosho’s that so accurately embodies the brash, sexy and completely over-the-top character of these machines. They’re packed with detail inside and out, and while there are a couple of rough spots, the overall presentation is worthy of its subjectundoubtedly, the purest example of an image car ever to prowl a public street. Others that are faster, more expensive, more rare or exotic may have come out in the years since the Countach bowed, but for me, no sportscar will ever be this cool. If you need a little piece of pure automotive lust, these are the die-casts to get.