Lamborghini Countach - 03/1990
LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH WALTER WOLF
The Austrian-born Wolf entered the world of Formula 1, funding a young and struggling engineer named Frank Williams.
The team's first year, 1977, was its pinnacle. With Jody Scheckter behind the wheel, it won three Grands Prix: Argentina, Monaco, and its home of Canada. It never replicated such success.
During his Formula One adventures. Wolf became an ardent Lamborghini supporter.
Wolf dialing a secret red phone to Lamborghini chief engineer Gian Paolo Dallara. A fellow engineer, knew exactly what he wanted. More power, first of all. Better handling. Better brakes. Wider tires. Money no object. Make it happen. And so, they did.
Three Walter Wolf Specials were ultimately built. The first model, red and black, was the first Countach to feature a massive rear wing, a Countach staple that's hard to imagine without. The Pirelli tires, custom sized to Wolf's specifications, were 335-series steamrollers, and black fender flares were necessary. The second car, a darker shade of blue, featured a V12 enlarged to 4.8 liters. But it was the third and final car that really upped the ante in every conceivable way, the ultimate Lamborghini for a man who could strive for nothing but the success to live in the ultimate.
Its 5.0-liter engine produced 500 horsepower. Its eight-piston brakes and rear wing could both be adjusted from the cockpit. The clutch was a double-disk type by Borg & Beck, true trickle-down F1 technology, and the steering ratio was quickened. The front suspension was entirely custom, and the rear was reinforced. Wolf insisted that every car be painted with Canadian flags, just as his race cars did, so proud he was of his adopted country.
In an extensive interview with Driving.ca, Wolf noted: "Past 300 km/h, the front end moved around a lot…tire technology wasn't as good in the 1970s as it is today."
Wolf provided immeasurable R&D help to the boys in Sant' Agatha. When Labmroghini unveiled the evolved LP400S at the Geneva Motor Show in 1978, it was Wolf's fender-flared monster onstage. (During the show, the wing was not installed.) The cars were all eventually sold off, scattered to Germany and Japan.
It's hard to conceive of the Countach we know and love today—the be-winged behemoth with flares and filigree and gold Campagnolo "Bravo" wheels, Adrienne Barbeau behind the wheel—with Marcello Gandini's original intent. Outrageous, but in a purer sense. Laud, or blame, Walter Wolf for the evolution. Wolf's Special gave the Countach its wing, its flares, its power, and its iconic aggression.
But without Wolf's input, and his enthusiasm, and of course his money, Lamborghini would have never survived. And neither would the Countach.
To thank him for all his efforts, the Lamborghini factory built him the most beautiful and fantastic Countach. The 25 Anniversary Walter Wolf
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