Countach Questions..... | LamborghiniChat

Countach Questions.....

Discussion in 'Lamborghini Discussion (not model specific)' started by FerrariFrank1, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Well,I have been thinking of adding a 12 Cylinder car along with my 308. Testarossa? ...not as Exotic as I like. Countach? Now we're talking! (Maybe a Diablo a few years down the Road...But,It was that Countach Poster that was on my wall as a Kid...:) )

    I looked through previous posts and did not see what I was looking for. So,I was wondering a few things about the Countach. I would most likely get an '89 25th Anniversary model.

    What are the Service requirements? How often? What is involved? (Yes,I understand that it depends on the car,how many miles it has,condition,etc...But,I want to know so that I can check service Records to see whats been done. Or,what needs to be done. )

    How much is Service? (Doesn't matter to me. I know that exotic toys require $$ to keep 'em up.) But,If I find a Car that needs service,would want to Bargain down the Price accordingly. I am 6'2" Tall. I fit in my 308 just fine even with the Top on. Good enough to drive it comfortably and safely. How about a Countach? (also,I need to drop a few pounds that I've gained in the last few years,first...this is an incentive...:) )

    And,any other things that I should know about them....? Are these cars more or less "Finicky" than a Ferrari? If so,How so? Reliability? I do have an Authorized Lamborghini Dealer close by. But,wanted to ask actual owners,first. I realize that a Countach is quite abit more Car than my 308.

    Thanks for any and all help. I really appreciate it!
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  3. Frank:

    #1. You just killed a few Ferrari kittens, and sent them to heaven.

    You did not search. Please save those kittens next time.


    Like any older exotic, you will have minor issues to address, if you find an excellent mechanical car. Most important, with the C/T you do not have belts to worry about. That will save you alot of $$ over the years. The big factor is the clutch. - You may already be aware of this ? Some owners do not have a clue how you launch this car. You want to leave the stop sign/stop light at between 1,000 and 1,500 rpms. This will help to preserve your clutch. My previous C/T was purchased from the original owner. It was a 1988. I sold the car with the original clutch !!!! So it "can" be done.

    Otherwise I think it is a very fun car. The suspension is very nice - especially for the time period. The visibility is poor. - You can learn to adopt to the visibility issue. I have heard of some people putting cameras on top of the rear deck. On the height issue, I do not know ? It may be possible to remove the seat, and literally mount it on the floor. I think it is alot of car for the $$$. You can pick up a cherry car for around 75K. The anniv cars are a little bit more. Check several cars before you jump in. It is amazing when you compare different cars. - You need to find the best mechanical and overall condition car, you can locate.
  4. Thanks,Ralph for that Info. (No I didn't put a whole hell of alot of effort into searching. I just looked at all of the previous posts that showed up. None after. Besides, I want fresh info...and...I hate Cats anyway...:) )

    But,As far as the cars go...They don't have belts? What do they have. Timing Chains? How much is a "Major Service" and when is it recommended? Stuff like that.

    As I said. I can stop by the Local Lambo Dealer and ask. But,I also wanted input from actual owners. So,again,I thank you for yours.
  5. I have driven my dad's a fair amount and go along with most of what Ralph said. As to fitting in the car, that may be an issue. I am 5' 11" and it is fine but there is not much excess head room.
  6. What about leg room? I assume that if the Countach is a bigger car than my 308,that perhaps the Footwells are deeper...?

    I recall seeing a place down in Florida somewhere,years ago,that did "Tall Man Conversions" for Exotic Cars...gotta be able to fit guys like Michael Jordan and Shaq into these things....:)

    Next time I see one in person,I'll see what it feels like.
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  8. I have an 86 5000QV, restoring these cars is VERY expensive so buy the nicest 1 you can find. You can probably get one around $80k. make 100% sure you have ALL the records on service on this car bcus an engine rebuild will cost $25k & a tans rebuild could cost $15k, suspension rebuild $10k, paint $$$$$. I know bcus I had to restore mine, I could have bought 2 for the $ I spent on this one

    This is why a PPI by a trustworthy mechanic is EXTREMELY Important

    As for fit, its considerably wider than a 308 so thats good, You have to contort your body a bit to get in & 3/4 visibility is almost zero

    The brakes are lame, the handling is ok but the power & looks are fantastic

    I would suggest buying 1 straight from Al Burtoni or a recently restored one,

    I'll sell you mine for $200k :) LOL
  9. Thank You Very Much! I Really appreciate the input!

    Yes,when I bought my 308 about 4 Years ago. I searched and searched. I was willing to travel anywhere in the Country for the right Car. But,I actually ended up finding my car right here in the Chicago Area at Lake Forest Sportscars.(Long Story...) They have a 'Sterling' Reputation,and have been in the Auto Business for a very long time. And,the car only had 14K on it,but they recently serviced it. And completely went over this already well serviced car,replacing anything that needed replacing.

    So,I paid a few $$ more,but it was worth every penny to have a sound car...virtually,like new,that I didn't have to worry about. A freshly serviced,Well maintained,Low Mile Car. (What price can you put on piece of mind...?...:) ) So far,no Problems at all. But,it's ready to go in for Service after 4 Years/7000 Miles.

    So,yeah,I'll look for a Countach that is similair in Condition.If it costs a few bucks more,thats O.K. And,we have Lamborghini Chicago right here,too. Thanks agin!
  10. Frank:

    There is no major on a Countach. The major amounts to a clutch change. When you pull the engine and transmission for the clutch change, you will do other things down there (r & r). I do understand the valves are supposed to be adjusted at around 6,000 miles. You may want to discuss the matter with a mechanic; if the previous owner/s never adjusted the valves.

    The clutch change will cost anywhere from 6,500 to 12,000. The base price is for just the clutch. Again you want to fix (also preventative maintainance) other items while you have the engine and transmission out of the car. 12K is the absolute top cost of all the work. - This is no more than the top price, for a major on a 512 BBi, or TR. - You are talking about a legitimate shop.

    When you look at the cars, be extra careful when going over the clutch. Check how much life is still in the clutch. You can deduct according to the cost of the clutch change; if it is necessary to change the clutch. Yes the Countach engine uses chains. - No belts. When I sold my car to the third owner, it still had the original clutch. - It can be done !!

    Also - there can be minor stress cracks in the paint around the rear air intake boxes. - This is o.k. The body is aluminum. The car is fun. William gave a good account of the car. You have alot of car for the money. They are pretty quick. The top end is less than you would think. Unfortunately the car is an aerodynamic brick. It is .42 without the wing ! They do not build cars like these anymore. - Handbuilt cars !!!
  11. Yes the clutch change is a ROYAL Pain on these. The whole engine/trans has to come out the top through a slot little bigger than a mail slot.

    its simply 1 of the biggest engineering skrewups of all time :)

    and for all the work the clutches have a very short life so get a good carbon fiber clutch that may last a little longer.

    When I lived in San Fran I had a clutch go out after less than 1,000 miles,crazy, I think if you dont have all the hills to deal with you may see 6,000 miles from a clutch.

    so thats basically $1.00 per mile on the clutch
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  13. William:

    When I purchased mine it had 6,600 kilometers from the original Califonia owner. He lived in Monte Soreno (The Bay Area). I sold the car a year after I had it, with 11,000 + kilometers and the original clutch. The entire experience cost me just over $400.00 a month. This included transportation,
    and a rebuilt A.C. + a few minor adjustments. It would have been much less than $400.00 a month (total), if I did not have to rebuild the a.c. I got all my money back, when I traded the car in to M.I., MO. Of course I waited until they had a buyer on my car. - That is the way to do it. It was not a consignment car. It was call me when you have mine sold for X.

    I did not check the a.c. when I looked at the car in the S.F. area. It was very cold. I forgot to check the a.c. when it was freezing !
  14. It's great you are in the Chicago area because one of the top Countach mechanics is not far off:

    One of my buddy's swear's by him (my buddy has an earlier Countach).

    Any car you end up with should be checked out by George (George Evans, that's the main guy in the link above). He would also be an excellent resource to chat with regarding your upcoming purchase and what to consider/look for, etc.

    The 89's (Anniversary edition) are the most solid of the Countach line, a good one will cost you $100K or more (75/80K are for beat up Anniversary or non Anniversary older car).

    That's my $.02

  15. I have been told the the Countach has a week rear axle/diff. issue. If the car has been abused (0-60 drag races), the rear can go and the repair will be $30K (mostly the cost of parts). This sounds a little silly to me, but I been told this info from several mechanics. Has anyone heard of this issue or is it a wise tale?

  16. The Countach is a cool car to have and drive on the HIGHWAY. Driving these things around town is a pain. The clutch is heavy and town driving will wear it out VERY fast.

    Maintenance is not really that bad. Oil changes, plugs, fuel filters, air filters, coolant flushes,brake fluid change, fuel system preformance checks, valve adjustment and chain adjustment are at 15,000 miles (both are preformed at the same time).

    Be very awear of cat converters over heating if the car is not set-up correctly. The Countach was famous for going up in flames becuase of overheating converters. If at all possiable remove them and install an after market exahust of your choice.

    Also be awear that the Hiam joints for the suspension are very prone to wear out fast. You will ahve all kinds of clunks and creeks when this happends, and you will not be able to keep the car aligned. They are hard to find and VERY expensive. But with a bit of engineering there are ways around using the Lambos components.

    Clutch as stated above..a big pain in the butt. Entire engine and trans must be removed from the car. Cost is high.

    Rear tires are getting hard to find. This was the only production car to use a 345 size tire on the rear as far as I know.

    The 25th car is the best of the bunch as far as engine cooling goes. They used 2 speed rad fans and had better cooling system routing to keep those 16 liters of coolant circulating faster.

    The ignition cap is a jaguar unit but the rotor is a Marelli..which apparently they do not make anymore. But I have heard the Jag rotor will work just fine although I have never tried it.

    Brake pads are cheap to buy as they are ATE calipers as used on M-Benz etc. The rear parking brake systems is a seperate caliper made by Brembo.
  17. Hi Frank -

    I have had a euro downdraft QV for about 5 years. Here's my $.02...

    If you want a strong, reliable car over the long run you want someone well experienced with the Countach to do cam chain tensions, cam degreeing, valve clearancing, and fuel system (carbs or injection) gone through and properly set up. This need to be done once as a baseline, then can probably be done every 15000 miles or so from the collective expertise I am aware of.

    Other things that will need attention, purely because they are all likely to be 20 years old:

    a/c lines and equipment
    ignition lines
    rear springs
    wiring / relays (preventative work is cheap and avoids big problems)
    oil lines
    fuel lines / pumps

    The clutch can happily go many thousands of miles if treated properly and if you replace it, kevlar has had excellent results. Carbon fiber is used by some, but absorbs little slip at all, transferring loads to the rear end.

    BTW, not only have I never heard that Lambo rear ends are weak, but most Lambo experts I know say the driveline including the rear end is strong as hell....the weak part is the top end of the motor (rings, pistons, metallurgy in the cams).

    There is a HUGE difference in the car dependant on how it is set up (cats, no cats, open exhuast, proper ignition and cam timing, fuel setup, etc.....). A well set up 2 valve car will whip a neglected QV.

    Driving the car: purists only need apply. When pushed hard, handles very well and feels good (if set up properly), wonderful power. Car will be very upset with you for driving in heavy traffic and on bad inner city pavement. My car can sit in traffic on a 95 deg. day (w / the air blowing strong) and not overheat - but thats a euro car (cool much better) and George Evan's shop doing his a/c upgrades (not terribly expensive once the rest of the system is done).

    Seats can be bolted right to the floor, or racing seats can be put in. The seats themselves consume more vertical room than they should. Don't even entertain other "tall man"conversion. I have seen some that actualy cut chassis tubes!!

    Overall, use only someone who knows COUNTACH's very, very well. This rules out almost every actual Lamborghini dealer. Please understand, these cars were built by cottage industry and imho can only be properly serviced by same. Our local Lambo dealership has made unbelievable errors on Countach's because only a few of the techs were factory schooled, and that was on the Diablo. The Countach is the last "pre-corporate" Lamborghini.

    Thoughts on models -

    Anniversary Cars - best developed and actually have wiring colors that match most of the diagrams, have nice power seats with more adjustability, but heaviest of them all. No more power than normal QV.

    QV carbed - the best of the best (imho.....) highest power, no overheating issues very very difficult to find. carbs quite reliable when set up properly. Easiest to work on. Much hotter cams than US car, headers, etc, etc.....455 - 490 hp (when properly....... you know).

    QV FI - most plentiful. more power than average 2V car, lighter weight than anniversary, can be made stronger with minor improvements, much stronger with major improvements. Suffers from and injection system designed for cleaning up the engine, not delivering more power. Some cooling issues. 420hp

    2V carbed- very reliable and strong (again, when set up properly). 375 hp

    2V injected - lowest powered of all C/T's...... 325 hp generally.

    AS ALWAYS - BE VERY VERY CAREFUL WITH CATS AND EARLY INJECTED V-12 ENGINES. Because most of these systems use independent injection banks.

    Evans went through my car and I am extremely happy, and they know C/T's tip to tail better than anyone I know.
  18. The early LP 400's have less power. - They are also lighter than the later cars. These things are also quite scarce. I am also including the LP 400S pre-1980 cars in the bunch. I luv these cars. Steve is correct. Finding the carb QV cars is also difficult. You have to be nice to the owner; to encourage them to let it go.
  19. Hey. I can't thank you guys enough for all of that great info! I really do appreciate it.

    It looks like I will have to really look good into the areas that you have described...specifically,the Clutch. (I'm good on clutches....:) ) And,if it hasn't been recently replaced,can use that as a Bargaining Tool on Purchase Price. But,would rather just get one thats just been done. Along with the other areas that you all have told me to check.

    This will mostly be a Weekend,nice Weather Car. I will drive my Ferrari,too. (Keep the miles down on both Cars) And,ofcourse,living up here in the Chicago Area. We have almost 1/2 a Year of basically No Driving due to Snow and Road salt.

    So,I will give it some very serious consideration...Always wanted one of these,and,you only live once....:)

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