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Countach Importing the Countach into the United States in period

Discussion in 'Lamborghini Supercars' started by smurfcar, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. smurfcar

    smurfcar Rookie

    Oct 24, 2020
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    christina anne
    Does anyone know a definitive timeline as to how and when Countachs were imported into the United States ?

    The safety regulations and emissions legislation were the main barriers to Countachs coming to the States early on in its production run .

    Can anyone knowledgeable please confirm , refute or add to the following :

    1) Sant'Agata never intended to sell the Countach in the States , so ignored the safety and emissions regulations then prevalent in the USA

    2) Even so , some owners imported Countach LP 400 cars through the grey market .
    --Was this legal ?
    --When were the first cars imported into the USA?
    --How many were imported ?
    --What changes were done , if any to these LP 400 cars to make it legal to import them into the USA ?

    3) I believe the same thing happened with the LP 4000S cars and the LP 500S cars, so the same questions apply :
    --Was this legal ?
    --When were the first cars imported into the USA?
    --How many were imported ?
    --What changes were done , if any to these LP 400 cars to make it legal to import them into the USA ?

    4) Now , around 1982 , I believe that a man called Rarewala started working on making the Countach emission and safety compliant with USA legislation
    --Please can you elaborate on exactly what he did , and was he able to make the Countach compliant in all 51 states including California ? ( If anyone knows the details of the Bodywork AND Engine modifications carried out I would love to know )
    --Did he only work on LP 500S cars , or did he also modify some of the earlier LP 400S cars ?
    --How many cars such cars did he modify to make them fully homologated for the USA ?

    5) --Was the Quattrovalvole engine ( in fuel injected form ) the first Countach engine that could be imported straight from Sant'Agata into the USA without any mechanical modifications ?
    -- What bodywork modifications did the QV have to undergo to receive USA homologation ?
    -- Were there any other modifications needed for the QV to be imported into the USA ?
    -- How different was the work that Rarewala did on modifying the earlier Countachs , to what Lamborghini did -- ie did Lamborghini just copy Rarewala's work on the air-pump , or was the QV's ancillary emissions systems substantially different to modifications that Rarewala had done to the emissions systems of the earlier Countachs ?

    6) --Was the 25th Anniversary the first Countach that could be imported ( in fuel injected form ) unchanged from its European counterparts into the USA ?
    -- Other than the fuel injection , were there any other differences , bodywork or mechanical , between the USA and European 25th Anniversary cars ?


    Apologies for the detailed questions , but i thought that an expert from this forum might be able to shed light on this matter .
    Thank you
     
  2. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    #2 joe sackey, Oct 24, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
    Your questions suggest you have done some research on this topic already, and IMO adequate responses to your detailed questions would take up enough page material to complete multiple chapters in a definitive book!

    Over the last 30 years, I have studied and collected material on this for a Countach publication, including using Lamborghini SpA factory material (see sample letter below) dating from 1974 to the end of Countach production in 1990. As I have said elsewhere, there is a surprising amount of material on this topic.

    The USA Countach's story started with an application for an exemption of USA DOT EPA mandates in 1975 which was denied by the USA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, setting in motion the series of private imports with the involvement of compliance agents, USA import agents who did compliance in-house, and finally, factory built USA DOT EPA compliant Countachs.

    Meanwhile, there is in fact a lot of information that answers some your questions and clarifies what happend in the various Countach threads:

    https://lamborghinichat.com/forum/threads/countach-the-ultimate-supercar.163765/page-1082#post-146416819

    https://lamborghinichat.com/forum/threads/lp-400s.592433/page-27

    https://lamborghinichat.com/forum/threads/countach-qv-fi-thread.563509/page-75

    https://lamborghinichat.com/forum/threads/countach-25th-anniversario.394041/page-154

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  3. smurfcar

    smurfcar Rookie

    Oct 24, 2020
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    christina anne
    Thank you Joe .

    I'll work through the documents you have pointed me to , and come back to you for your specialist knowledge on specific outstanding issues once I have done so .
    It's good to have someone so knowledgeable on this forum
    Best wishes
     
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  4. smurfcar

    smurfcar Rookie

    Oct 24, 2020
    6
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    christina anne
    Hi again Joe ,

    I've read through the threads that you have pointed me to , and as you seem to be the most expert person to ask , can you comment on the following - whether this is true or not :

    1) Was the Quattrovalvole engine ( in fuel injected form ) the first Countach engine that could be imported straight from Sant' Agata into the USA without any mechanical modifications ?

    2) Was the 25th Anniversary the first Countach that could be imported ( in fuel injected form ) unchanged from its European counterparts into the USA , ie was its body already USA compliant , or did the bodywork need further modification before it could be imported into the USA ?

    Thank you
     
  5. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    1) The 1986 to 1988 Countach Quattrovalvole known internally as Countach Iniezione (the USA version of the Countach which was purpose-built as a USA EPA & DOT compliant car) was the first Countach fitted with a fuel-injected engine that could be imported straight from Sant' Agata into the USA without any engine or body modifications. These cars were typically allocated to an established network of USA Lamborghini concessionaires.

    2) The 1988 to 1990 Countach 25th Anniversary known internally as Countach 25th Tipo USA (the USA version of the Countach 25th Anniversary which was purpose-built as a USA EPA & DOT compliant car) was the the version of the 25th that could be imported straight from Sant' Agata into the USA without any engine or body modifications. These cars were also typically allocated to an established network of USA Lamborghini concessionaires.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  6. smurfcar

    smurfcar Rookie

    Oct 24, 2020
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    christina anne
    Dear Joe ,

    You are the first American person who has been able to give a clear and precise answer to the 2 questions above , and it is good to hear it directly from such an authoritative source . Thank you .
     
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  7. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    My pleasure.

    This topic is one that has fascinated me for many years so I've made it my business to learn and collect as much information about it as possible, that said, bear in mind that there is also much misinformation about it that is routinely disseminate for a number of reasons, as I'm sure you have already established.
     
  8. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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  9. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

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    The exhaust system was always going to be an issue as far as the USA EPA was concerned, this proposal as submitted by Lamborghini was rejected.

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  10. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    IMO, the landmark book Unsafe at Any Speed by consumer advocate Ralph Nader first published in 1965 is what caused the USA transportation authorities to go crazy over safety and emissions of both domestic cars and imports.

    The book underscored via the testimony of industry insiders how car manufacturers resisted the introduction of safety features and were reluctant to spend money on safety & emissions. This meant they viewed the aforementioned as a tax that ate into profits, and carried out the work with this in mind. Were it not for this book, IMO it's very unlikely that the USA version of the Countach would not have had such severe variances built into it to comply with EPA & DOT mandates. A fascinating read by the way.

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  11. EarlyCat

    EarlyCat Moderator
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    Interesting. I have never read that book. I did own a 66 Corvair which was the redesigned car of that book. I would agree that the swing axle that the earlier Corvair, and many others was a bad design. I came really close to rolling a 63 VW Baja Bug when I was traveling with enough speed, left the ground, landing on the fully extended rear suspension. The car was all over the place until the suspension settled down. Pretty scary.
     
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  12. bradyward

    bradyward Rookie

    Nov 7, 2007
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    I'm having a flash back to the movie "Rain Man" reading this thred, and Tom Cruise's movie-long struggle to get his cars EPA certified.
     
  13. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    All 4 of those Countachs were European spec LP500S (as shown below) modified post-post production with varying degrees of EPA & DOT mandates, during the so-called Grey Market era. The CEO of Lamborghini during that era told me that because of the nature and essence of the Countach, they didn't really want to make a USA version, but by 1985, the factory manufacture of one became essential.

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  14. Ellagirl

    Ellagirl Formula 3

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    Interesting
     
  15. JohnMH

    JohnMH Karting

    Jan 28, 2004
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    Dubai, UAE
    Fascinating. Were original LP400 not sold new in the US at some point? They were in Canada in the 70s.

    My LP400S was sold new in California with a EPA / DOT waiver on the basis that is was imported for display purposes only and never to be registered in the US or used on public roads in the US. It never was.
     
  16. joe sackey

    joe sackey Three Time F1 World Champ

    May 23, 2006
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    The LP400 was new from 1974 - 1977 before the EPA & DOT mandates became severe, some were sold here in the USA as new cars, either by private individuals who purchased them in Europe and brought them to the USA to sell, individual dealers, or the authorized Lamborghini concessionaire.
     

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