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Countach Turbo S

Date posted : October 1. 2020

During the Eighties we had all kinds of tuners that created bespoke cars for wealthy customers, mostly adding massively wide extensions, deep front spoilers, big rear wings, and the widest wheels and tires available ... and then we had the Lamborghini Countach S, which came with wheel arch extensions straight from the factory, rolling on 345mm wide tires at the rear and could be ordered with a rear wing as an option ... so what could tuners add to that?

The magic word in those days was ... Turbo! A total of 235 Countach LP400 S were built between 1978 and 1982 before the LP500 S took over with a larger, 4754 cc (or 290 ci) V12 engine delivering 375 hp and a top speed of nearly 300 Km/h. Between 1982 and 1985 this 5-liter masterpiece would reach a production of 323 units ... but one, in particular, chassis ELA12712, built in April 1984, would be turned into a one-off, custom-built Countach Turbo S, keeping in mind the last LP500 S to be built was ZA9C00500 ELA12.795, this Turbo S was built toward the end of the production for this model.

You have to put this into perspective, at that time, in the early Eighties the Lamborghini Countach LP500 S was the fastest production car in the world, but the LP400 S model couldn't claim that throne, so in 1979, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Automobili Lamborghini SpA had their Countach LP400 S in bright silver on the stand, next to the tubular chassis ... but they also showed a turbocharged engine. Already at that time, the factory was experimenting with turbos because they saw this was going to become more and more popular, but that engine was just a mock-up, and it was never installed into a rolling car, in the end, they enlarged the displacement to nearly 5 liters and later added a four-valve cylinder head for the Quattrovalvole version to keep up with the competition, to this day Lamborghini never installed a turbo on any of their models, until the Urus.

The impressive Lamborghini Countach Turbo S at the 2010 Essen Motor Show

Back to this black Countach Turbo S, some sources state this car was built for Ferruccio Lamborghini himself back in 1984, by the factory ... while this might be a great story, it is not true unfortunately, Ferruccio had sold the factory in 1973 ... another story was that Bob Wallace built it ... again untrue as Bob had left the factory in 1975 already, and while he did install turbo systems on 2 or 3 Countach, these modifications were done in his shop in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 1982, Max Bobnar, a Swiss-based Lamborghini distributor, had the ingenious idea his 1980 Countach LP400 S just wasn't fast enough, so he had Franz Albert put a pair of turbos onto the V12 engine resulting in the Countach LP400 S Turbo, this car was chassis 1121160, after Max Bobnar sold the car it was believed to have been lost in an accident, but it was found hiding in a storage facility in the USA, eventually, the car was sold again in the United States in mid-2019 by Curated.

A lot has been cramped into this Lamborghini Countach engine compartment

So Max Bobnar decided he wanted another turbocharged Lamborghini Countach, this time based on the more recent LP500 S model, so he obtained a 1984 model, chassis ELA12712, registered in June 1984 as a yellow-gold finished car. Max once again turned to Albrex for the installation of two turbos, in fact, Franz Albert did compressor conversions while Lotec would do turbo conversions, being a Swiss-based customer, the Max Bobnar Countach would receive red painted parts with Albert Turbo scripting if it would be a German customer, the red parts would show 'Lotec' ... something to remember, if you would see a 'Koenig Specials' script on the turbo parts, it would still be an Albert/Lotec build, Koenig didn't do in-house engine tuning like this.

This Countach Turbo S would become a serious Bull on the open road, the two EF60 turbos would effectively double the horsepower of the factory V12 engine, from 375hp up to about 750hp at 6,500 rpm (876 Nm at 4,000 rpm) at a maximum boost of 1.5 bar, on the interior a knob was installed for the driver to adjust that boost manually, so it could be lowered for more comfort, or turned up to the max for a very spirited drive. Additional gauges on the dashboard would show the current boost setting and the boost air temperature, just so the driver can keep an eye on these, the speedometer was modified to go all the way up to 425 Km/h.

Massively wide Ronal alloy wheels on the black Lamborghini Countach Turbo S

A factory standard Lamborghini Countach LP500 S would come with the stunning Campagnolo 'Telephone dial' wheels in 10.5x15 and 12x15 inch size, covered by 205/50VR15 and 345/35VR15 Pirelli P7 tires ... for this Countach Turbo S Max Bobnar installed lightweight Ronal wheels instead, still 10.5x15 at the front, but now with 255/45VR15 tires, while at the rear he installed 14x15 inch wheels ... still with 345/35VR15 tires, just because there were no wider tires available.

On the factory car, the engine would have a compression ratio of 9.2:1, this Turbo S was set at 7.2:1, bore and stroke were kept at the same 85.5x96mm so the displacement of the V12 remained at 4754 cc, by installing two EF60 turbochargers with a pair of charge air collectors and two WAC bypass valves together with a drain valve, this amazing engine doubled in power, and while the original LP500 S engine came with 6 horizontal twin-choke Weber 45 DCOE side-draught carburetors, this Turbo S went with Weber 40 DCOE units.

It seems Max Bobnar also modified the gear ratios on the Countach Turbo S, on the factory specs they mention a 5th gear ratio of 0.775:1 that would give a maximum speed of 300 Km/h or 186 Mph, the spec sheet on the Turbo S shows this ratio to be 1:0.707 ... this would mean a top speed of 332.6 Km/h or 206.67 Mph at 8,100 rpm, acceleration figures of 3.68 seconds for 0 to 100 Km/h and 11.54 seconds for 0 to 200 km/h are very impressive for a 1984 Lamborghini Countach ... this would effectively be the fastest car in the world for many years to come.

Impressive rear view of the black Lamborghini Countach Turbo S

When Max Bobnar had the turbo conversion completed he also repainted the car to black, with the black leather interior and black center part of those massive Ronal wheels, this car looked very intimidating, he even added a pair of side sills with additional air intakes to cool the hot-blooded V12 engine behind the two seats, this specific Countach also featured the large rear wing, which looks great, but it also slows down the car because of the additional drag ... usually, this is said to be 10 to 15 Km/h at top speed ... so without this wing, the Countach Turbo S could theoretically reach almost 350 Km/h!

But there was a problem ... back in the Eighties this Lamborghini Countach Turbo S was no longer street legal in Switzerland because of the modifications, so Max Bobnar could only trailer the car to events, in the end, Bobnar sold the car, history mentions the car ended up in Sweden initially, later it was sold to a collector in Denmark who listed her for sale again in 2007, at that time the odometer only showed about 9,500 km ... this amazing, powerful Countach was hardly driven in 23 years (1984-2007).

Multi-point seat belts have been added to this 750hp Lamborghini Countach Turbo S

In March 2007 this unique Countach Turbo S (the first one Max Bobnar turbocharged was based on the LP400 S, this one used the LP500 S) came to Germany, the new owner invested a lot of time and money into it, and was able to finally register the car for road use, the car was even featured in a German Penthouse edition in 1988 when Swiss race-driver Marc Surer was able to take her out for a very ... spirited test drive.

I have seen this car while on display during the 2010 Essen Motor Show, and she sure is very impressive, black on black looks great on the Countach, and aside from the large 'TURBO' script on the custom side sills and the different wheels, you could easily mistake this car for a regular factory Countach LP500 S, but this black Bull is far from a factory standard Countach.

Text © Mark Smeyers - www.lambocars.com

Printed from www.lambocars.com/countach/countach_turbo_s.html on December 2. 2020