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How bad are countaches?

Discussion in 'Lamborghini Discussion (not model specific)' started by Cicero, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Cicero

    Cicero Karting

    Jul 27, 2004
    116
    I've been looking at countaches for awhile. not to buy, just admire. I know they are problematic, but are they even worth owning? are they fun when they do run? what are the biggest problem areas?

    I also see very few of them for sale so does that mean very limited production numbers or the owners love them too much to sell?
     
  2. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky Formula 3
    Consultant Professional Ferrari Technician

    Sep 18, 2002
    1,161
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    Tom

    As far as not seeing too many for sale(oh boy I'm gonna get it for this) most of them are not in saleable condition..ie not running. I know a 5 around the greater Toronto area just sitting around doing nothing for a last almost 10 years.

    When they run right they are a cool car to be in and around. But they can wear thin really fast because of the noise inside at highway speeds and the lack of vision. The A/C must be in working order if you plan to drive the car during the day with the sun blazing. Even then the interior will turn into an oven. I have a good customer of mine who got heat stroke in his CT. He had to pull over and get out of the car before he passed out!!. He now only drives it at night and during the day in a fall months.

    On the highway there is little that can compair to it. It is a really neat experiance which from that aspect I don't think you would get board of. But the noise will be tiresome and drain you by the end of the drive.

    A propperly tuned and set up CT (later injected cars) can idle in traffic without overheating and do it day in and day out. But the key to these cars is to DRIVE THEM. You must not keep the thing as a garage decoration. Get out in it and drive it everyday. It will treat you well. The cars are farily robust..but they do have there issues. One major one being the cost of ownership. insurance can be a killer and mainteance will make you head spin. Remeber it's about 10k to do a clutch once you done with changing hoses, coolant etc.
     
  3. 1975gt4don

    1975gt4don Rookie

    Nov 5, 2003
    24
    Peoples Rep of CA
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    Smog Exempt
    Join this group and chat, those guys are very informative. Looking for a pre 84 CT myself for a cheap price. I am dreaming but you never know what great deal my lurk around the corner. h**p://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/lamborghini_info/

     
  4. ralfabco

    ralfabco F1 Rookie
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    Mar 1, 2002
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    Israel Beiteinu
    Tom: You ripped my baby !!!!! I love em. I disagree with your comment about the A.C. I live in Houston, and can tolerate the air that comes with the Countach !!!! LOL. I can tell you the Boxer AC, is not that much better. Their are modifications you can do, to increase the efficiency of the A.C. It ain't that bad. No it is not a Camry either.

    My car was reliable (after a few minor bugs were fixed)-(not bad for an 88). Yes you cannot just dump it in the garage and look at it. - However that is not limited to just the C/T.

    To tell you the truth. I find the car more entertaining to drive vs the Diablo. I find the Diablo way too refined. Too much room and size. I also hate power steering. I am actually looking to move back to the C/T. I prefer a rare factory C/T (A pre 1980's car). I want out of the Diablo.

    The clutch ? I bought a 15 year old car from the original owner. He lived in the Bay Area (Monte Soreno, CA) with huge hills. I was the 2nd owner. I gave the car to the 3rd owner with the original clutch. - It can be done !
     
  5. Go Mifune

    Go Mifune Karting

    Dec 12, 2003
    106
    Rockville, MD
    Full Name:
    Steve
    I have had a carbed Countach for about 5 years now, and I have been all the way accross the country in the car and have had work done at several major shops. Here's the poop.....

    When the proper money is spent at the right shop (or you are skilled yourself and have a lot of patience) to compensate for it being a 20 year old handbuilt car that had a few weaknesses, they are VERY robust and reliable. I actually have heard form all shops I deal with that the carbed cars are more reliable because they are simpler...remember that was a very early fuel injection set up designed to unsmog the car - not produce power. It is old and complicated. Carbs are actually very easy and quite reliable (contrary to popular opinion). The secret is to have them all overhauled at once (by the right shop)....don't tough them AT ALL....in five years do it again. If the car is driven semi-regularly you will not EVER have a problem. That has been my experience.

    If the a/c is properly up to snuff, it is adequate. I have a reasonably inexpensive mod that George Evans' shop does that makes it a while lot better.

    I can and have sat in gridlocked traffic for hours in 100 degree temps with the a/c on and the car is just fine. No real mods BTW other than jet-hot coating on the headers (cuts down underhood heat) and no cats (another big heat source). I don't ever intend to do that to the car, but it can happen by accident.

    Set up properly and after you have enough seat time to be familiar with the car, it is an experience like nothing else I have driven ( I have driven many exotics and many sports cars). It's quite an experience.

    Insurance is about the same as my Toyota MR2 (full coverage, $500 deductable, State Farm) and half of my Lotus Esprit.

    There are a few minor design flaws that reasonably priced upgrades and mods exist for. The rest is simply the price to make an old car right again, and admittedly many came form the factory "not right"..... I'm sure that never happens to Ferraris.

    Clutches are expensive, will last a long time in the right hands, will last 1000 miles in the wrong hands. Synchros are the same.

    Major service is around 5 grand.... budget a couple more to fix stuff that's old or bad. big components of that are valves, cam chains, and degreeing the cams.

    The Countach is a machine that will determine if you are capable of dealing with it, and simply shrug you off if you're not. BOth in driving the machine and in caring for it. If you step up to it's plate it's a big reward.

    Good luck !!

    Steve
    '85 Countach QV
     
  6. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag Karting

    Oct 31, 2003
    244
    CA
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    Jerry
    Good info Steve - Post some pics!
     
  7. Muteki

    Muteki Rookie

    Jan 14, 2004
    8
    Guam
    I have to say, that I was trying to decide between a CT and a TR for my next car after I sell my 308. After reading some of these stories, I think I will stick with Ferrari, I have had really good luck with my car and Lambo just sounds like too much of a headache or should I say pocketache? I do have to say the Anniversary Edition looks mighty fine though.
     
  8. bmwracer

    bmwracer Rookie

    Mar 2, 2004
    32
    Toronto
    And what do you think a major service on a TR with the belts will cost????
     
  9. Muteki

    Muteki Rookie

    Jan 14, 2004
    8
    Guam
    I have delt with Ferrari in the past and do most of the work with a buddy of mine. I am pretty confident we can do the TR without problems. Not to mention, I already have my sounces for getting wholesale parts. I just don't have the same knowledge/connections for Lamborghinis, so I will be forced to pay the dealr costs until I can aquire what I need. So, the TR will be considerably less for me.
     
  10. Meeyatch1

    Meeyatch1 Karting

    Dec 28, 2003
    141
    State of confusion.
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    Mitch

    Just curious...do you mean that the cars are just sitting broken down in some guys garage, or are they at the shop still?
     
  11. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper Formula Junior
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    Sep 30, 2003
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    yea i want to know too, I WOULD LOVE A DEAD CARB COUNTACH !!! :)
     
  12. Spasso

    Spasso Karting
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    Feb 16, 2003
    117
    Land of Slugs & Moss
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    Han Solo
    I believe Tom is referring to garage queens versus barn finds. Either way, a CT sitting for 10 years would require close to the same amount of mechanical/running gear work.
     
  13. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
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    I have an 86 QV & Ive talked trash about it but only because the 512TR is so superior in every respect.

    Having said that the Countach IS a masterpiece. It is easily 1 of THE most important auto designs EVER. Its really a gorgeous striking challenging car and thats just looking at it.

    The power is intoxicating & the handling is pretty good but you need a good mechanic because mine handled like crap when I got it because somebody had totally screwed the suspension tuning up.

    The brakes suk but theres a brake upgrade kit. The electronics suk but a good mechanic can sort that out for you. You'll have to redo the elctronics before you can really feel comfortable knowing the car wont leave you stranded and its very important to figure out which alternator you have. Lambo put all the electronics on 1 relay in the fuse box which causes problems, if you divide them between 3 seperate relays it will make life better.

    If you are just driving on the road seeing out of the car is not too bad although you have to be careful becus the A pillar is very wide and can actually cover pedestrians & I bought some little mirrors that I glued inside that help you see out the back much better or you can just put a camera back there.

    The Worst problem w the Countach is the clutch which is small and you have to remove the whole engine & trans out an opening made for an engine half that size. Expect to pay at least $6k every time you change the clutch and it may last you 5,000 miles if you are lucky and dont liev around hills.

    I think the major reasons there are not many for sale are 1) They just never made that many, maybe 2500 cars over 15 years 2) The car is so expensive to restore that all the people who restored them refuse to let them go (like me) and take all that expense in the shorts, I'd rather just keep it & ;let my cousin drive it when he is around and pass it on as a family heirloom, Someday she'll bring big $ but not today
     
  14. ralfabco

    ralfabco F1 Rookie
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    Mar 1, 2002
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    Most of the Canadian Countach automobiles are F.I. They are not the Euro downdraft cars. About the cars that have been sitting 10 years or more ? You probably do not want to buy something like that. #1. Nobody is going to give it away for free. #2. It may cost alot of money to get all the bugs out of the system, from having the car parked over the years. Remember you probably have 10+ year old oil, brake line fluid, fuel lines, and transmission fluid etc...... In the end you may end up spending more.

    - -

    I had a much better Countach experience. I bought my car from the original owner who lived in the hills of Silicone Valley, CA. I sold my car #12242 (88QV) to the third owner a year ago with the original clutch. I got every dime back on the car, less maintainance (3,200) and freight to Texas. There are ways to preserve the clutch. There is a reason why "some" Countach owners run stop signs at slow speeds !!


    Comparing a stock 512TR to a stock Countach is not a fair comparison. The 512TR should be compared to the Diablo. Brakes ? Of course todays brakes are light years ahead of what they had in the 70's and 80's. Personally I like the little differences of the car. That is what makes it special. It is hard to make lane changes. - You do get used to it. People have installed cameras to assist in lane changes. I suppose the cameras could also be used to check out your maid; if she is hot ? We had one or two maids in the past, who would always wear tight jeans. My car ran purrrfect after I took care of all the little bugz. I had to rebuild the A.C. (the previous owner never used the A.C.), and there was a problem with an alternator belt, minor adjustments, and r and r. - That was it. Of course I only had the car a year. I thought it was smart to move up ? I really miss the car. I am actually looking for another Countach. This time I prefer a rare early car (pre-1980).
     
  15. superX

    superX Karting

    Nov 2, 2003
    56
    Cary, NC
    Full Name:
    Dennis Briddell
    William,
    I agree with alot of your response (TR comment...cough cough). There are a few wrinkles that can be addressed for a reliable driver, nothing major IMO, mostly related to electronics as you said. The motor itself is a gem. less than 2000 produced, maybe 1/3 went to the states, subtract out for less than 100% survival. Its a rare car.

    The 3 major gripes that always dog the CT: the clutch, the clutch and the clutch. I have 30km on my clutch. I drive it in the mountains, track it, you name it. And my driveway is straight up. My experience is not atypical. Also, there is a fellow that lives near me and goes through clutches all the time. He also does burnouts for kicks and doesn't give a hoot about dropping in a clutch.

    The visibility does suck. Like anything, you adjust. Now it doesn't bother me in the least.

    Regular maintenance is very reasonable. Valve lash, timing chain tension, fluids, filters. Thats it, and engine stays in. The water pump needs rebuild every 30k miles or so. Hiem joints probably every 40-50k miles. Dizzy should be tested for correct advance curve. Check the clutch life. Have a compression/leakdown test done. That's my punch list if I were buying.

    These are expensive cars if they aren't sorted. Get one properly sorted and you are in for special treat that very very few will ever experience. good luck
    Dennis

    PS-One upgrade I just had done, installed Aldan adjustable shocks. They are so vastly superior to the koni's. double adjustable. with adjustable spring perches. The car sits almost 1" lower now, looks even more badass and a huge difference in handling. My rear shocks and springs were worn though, so there was bound to be a big improvement.
     
  16. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
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    My car was overheating so we removed the radiators & had them boiled to flush all the crp out then the car ran great.

    I just compared the Countach 5000QV to the 512TR because I own both. You are correct the Countach is a lot more vintage than the TR but both are classics
     
  17. ralfabco

    ralfabco F1 Rookie
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    Mar 1, 2002
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    Another bi owner !!


    You "are" a 512TR luv er !!!!! LOL
     
  18. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky Formula 3
    Consultant Professional Ferrari Technician

    Sep 18, 2002
    1,161
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    Tom
    They are all sitting in people garages collecting dust. One blew a clutch, and once the owner was told how much it was to fix..he parked it. The other had a serious fuel delivery issue that was never resloved correctly since he bought the car almost 10 years ago. Another is just a car that the intrest faded, and the owner really has no love for it anymore. It just sits doing nothing..in fact I think he uses it as a shelf in his gargae..poor thing. But the damn guy won't sell it for some stupid reason. Another was bought by a guy who mamaged to wrap his mini van around a pole and his insurance went through the roof..so he can't afford to drive the thing..let alone repair it..so it sits around doing nothing aswell...
     
  19. lamborghinikid

    lamborghinikid Karting

    Oct 22, 2004
    116
    Georgia
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    Jeff Haney
    #19 lamborghinikid, Feb 18, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Ralph , my early countach was a 2 valve US fuel injected car. The fuel injection set up worked really good. I never had one problem out of it and even though it was a work in progress set up it responded great. I drove a carbed car and I could definitely feel that my car was underpowered but after having the car for quite a few years I did like the fact that my fuel injection never needed to be maintained. As for most countach myth's they are usually over hyped yet there is still quite some truth behind them. The car lets light in like crazy. I sued to stick a towel in the door panel opening and lay it over my leg in the summer to keep the sun off of my left leg. The fact that there are no sun visors never even matters. For some reason the sun never gets past the tinted strip across the top. My car only had two air vents and they were centered basically under the dash and behind the shifter. It blowed cold but if you had two people in the car it was a constant fight over both vents. The later cars had much better air and more vents of course. When I sold my car it had 21 K kilometers on it and the clutch was factory. The clutch is twice as heavy as a diablo ! The rear visibility is something only time can help and no matter how long you do it you always accelerate before changing lanes .It performed perfect ad was problem free all the way till the day I sold it. It is loud , I loved it ! I had one electrical problem that was very minor and I had one mechanical problem but neither one was very costly and both were fixed no problem. I have found that the countach will draw a crowd probably faster than my Diablo and to me it still looks like the fastest car on the planet when parked ! Here are some pics of my car before i sold it. Man i miss this car !
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  20. ralfabco

    ralfabco F1 Rookie
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    Jeff

    Beautiful car. Did you sell it to a female ? A. Burtoni had a red 85 factory F.I. car, and the female owner had no idea about what she was buying. She ended up dumping like around 18K into the car. She could not pay the maintainance, and had to run around collecting $$, which led to her immediately selling the car. It may even have been sold by her on ebay ? I know the car from their went to a guy in the NYC area who flipped cars. The salesman at Ab named Ted T, told me the story about the red 85 car. Of course Ab has been known to "run up" huge invoices. William can attest to that.

    We have both moaned and grunted over not keeping our Countach's. We had this conversation before !! Withdrawl symptoms ? You are correct about the C/T drawing more attention than a Diablo. We were out one night on the freeway approximately 1 1/2 hours (45 minutes each way). I had five different people take photos of the car. You begin to no longer be startled by the mini-nuclear flash. 4 pics for the first leg of the party. Only 1 pic on our return trip. I am "talking" to a California owner who has had his original early car (1979) for around 20 years. He has mixed feelings about selling his car. I hope to fly out there and talk with him face to face. You always get better results that way. I should know something in about a month ? He is putting a packet of pictures and information together on the car.
     
  21. dbcooper

    dbcooper Rookie

    Feb 7, 2005
    37
    Costa Mesa,Ca.
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    Tim Romero
    Be afraid my son,Be Very,Very afraid.Beware of the Lambo wiring gremlin that has been made even worse by the Butt connector butcher.Because decent (or sometimes any)wiring schematics are non existant.I have battled with these two nightmares more than once and it took all of my skills to overcome them.My advise to you is to buy a Radio controlled model of a Countach.You will thank me.believe me.
     
  22. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper Formula Junior
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    Sep 30, 2003
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    early carb Countach
    = drool drool drool......... :)
     
  23. boxerman

    boxerman Rookie

    May 27, 2004
    48
    CT
    Full Name:
    Sean
    I had an early 80's two valve carbed car. The handling at low speed was fantastic, just like a giant go-cart with beautiful steering feel. The rest of the car was crude. Up to about 150 indicated it was reasonably stable. Above that tyhe front end got real light and one was steering the car to stay in a straght line, knida like an early 911.

    Above 165 indicated the oil temperature would rise with velocity untill at about 175+ the engine would begin detonating from heat, slow down below 165 indicated and all temps returned to normal for the next boost above 175. I always fet that if the oil cooling problem could be solved the car would go faster, although have no idea as to the accuracy of the speedo. One ohter thing at that speed there was quite a lot of effort involved to keep the car going straight.

    Everthing else about the car was crude especialy the transmission. I have an early 1964 350gt and that car seems better engineered than the countach, its also good fun to go hunting m3 bmw's with.

    Compared to my 512bbi the countach was a much better handler at low speeds. Above 80 the boxer gets better and better whereas the countach gets worse. The ferrari has a much better engine and is generaly smoother. I would say the AC on the countach was better. The ferrari can be driven in traffic the countach required a light traffic day.

    Of course the styling of the countach is as iconic as they come.
     
  24. lamborghinikid

    lamborghinikid Karting

    Oct 22, 2004
    116
    Georgia
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    Jeff Haney
    Ralph, my car wasn't sold to a female and it was an 84 not an 85. I hope to get it or an 88 1/2 car one day !
     
  25. dbcooper

    dbcooper Rookie

    Feb 7, 2005
    37
    Costa Mesa,Ca.
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    Tim Romero
    Everthing else about the car was crude especialy the transmission. I have an early 1964 350gt and that car seems better engineered than the countach, its also good fun to go hunting m3 bmw's with.

    Ya know what?Your 350gt is a better engineered and also better built car.I would take a 350gt over a Countach any day.Just my opinion.(I have worked on both many times)
     

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