In case you didn’t know, Lamborghini has been known to have a vehicle nomenclature that’s connected to bulls or bullfighting, thus, its famous black and gold bull logo. Now, why is this so? Well, Ferruccio Lamborghini was a Taurus, the sign of the bull. You didn’t see that coming, did you?
Now, not counting the models with numerical names, it all started with the Miura, which is a Spanish fighting bull bred from the lineage of the Miura Cattle Ranch owned by Lamborghini's friend, Don Eduardo Miura. Gallardo was the name of the five breeds used by Don Eduardo. Islero, on other hand, was named after a specific Miura bull that killed star matador Manolete in 1947. The Murcielago’s probably the most legendary, as it’s a bull that survived 28 sword strokes in a 1879 bullfight.
Sounds epic, right? Wait, until you hear the story about the Countach, the first car to break Lambo’s traditional name-giving. Here’s the true story, straight from the Countach’s designer, Marcello Gandini.
“When we made cars for the car shows, we worked at night and we were all tired, so we would joke around to keep our morale up. There was a profiler working with us who made the locks. He was two meters tall with two enormous hands, and he performed all the little jobs. He spoke almost only Piedmontese, didn’t even speak Italian. Piedmontese is much different from Italian and sounds like French. One of his most frequent exclamations was ‘countach’, which literally means plague, contagion, and is actually used more to express amazement or even admiration, like ‘goodness’. He had this habit. When we were working at night, to keep our morale up, there was a jousting spirit, so I said we could call it Countach, just as a joke, to say an exaggerated quip, without any conviction. There nearby was Bob Wallace, who assembled the mechanics – we always made the cars operational. At that time you could even roll into the car shows with the car running, which was marvelous. So jokingly I asked Bob Wallace how it sounded to an Anglo-Saxon ear. He said it in his own way, strangely. It worked. We immediately came up with the writing and stuck it on. But maybe the real suggestion was the idea of one of my co-workers, a young man who said let’s call it that. That is how the name was coined. This is the only true story behind this word.”
As funny how this story went, it is what it is for the legendary Countach. Not so epic, yes, but still an interesting anecdote, nonetheless.