THE EAR­LI­EST SUR­VIV­ING COUN­TACH

Motor (Australia) - - FEATURE | LAMBORGHIN­I HEADQUARTE­RS -

BUILT BY A team of 10 in 1973, chas­sis #001 be­came the old­est sur­viv­ing Coun­tach when the original pre-pro­duc­tion pro­to­type thumped a wall dur­ing crash test­ing at MIRA in the early ’70s. De­spite its his­toric sta­tus, it was stripped of its show-car cabin and sold on to help with cash­flow; now it’s been re­stored.

The Coun­tach was rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent to the Miura. The V12 was ro­tated 90 de­grees and the chas­sis switched from a semi-mono­coque lay­out to a space­frame design. ‘We had lots of prob­lems with the early cars,’ ad­mits leg­endary, now-re­tired, test driver Valentino Bal­boni. ‘The chas­sis was com­pli­cated, con­structed from lots of dif­fer­ent-sized bits of me­tal and welded ev­ery­where. It just wasn’t strong enough,’ ad­mits Bal­boni, who prefers the later Coun­tach S. The clas­sic mar­ket dis­agrees. Early mod­els like this are worth up to $2m, mak­ing them twice as valu­able. This one? Price­less.

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