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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
 

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1) The Countach prototype was revealed in 1972. I don't think there were many restrictions at the time it was in development. It is my understanding that the US has always been the largest market for Lamborghini. I doubt they would have ignored the US rules at the time. Claudio Zampolli, of Cizeta fame, was a Lamborghini employee sent to the US by the factory in order to investigate and keep the factory up to date on US importation rules. He ended up leaving the factory to set up his own shop. I will check the dates, but this had to have been late '70s or early '80s. I think the factory was really struggling financially at this time and did not have the resources to make the needed changes in order to meet the requirements for all markets. Efforts were made off and on, but I think the lack of compliance had more to do with financial troubles than anything else.

As for the rest.....

Here is a WIKI about the "grey market" importation of automobiles. Grey import vehicle - Wikipedia

My understanding was that pre 1988, you had to meet a list of requirements to import. 5 mph bumpers front and rear, emissions standards, and a few other relatively minor things. This is why US cars were a bit down on power, had smog pumps installed, and had bigger (ugly) bumpers on them. Once they passed the list of requirements, they were cleared to import. The numbers part is tricky, because it was not always the Lamborghini factory making the changes and sending the cars to the US. There are a lot of variations on the bumpers that made the Countach compliant, and that comes from the fact that there were many companies making the changes for compliance.

You have got me wondering too. I will dig out some of the old books and newsletters and let you know what I find about the grey market stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1) The Countach prototype was revealed in 1972. I don't think there were many restrictions at the time it was in development. It is my understanding that the US has always been the largest market for Lamborghini. I doubt they would have ignored the US rules at the time. Claudio Zampolli, of Cizeta fame, was a Lamborghini employee sent to the US by the factory in order to investigate and keep the factory up to date on US importation rules. He ended up leaving the factory to set up his own shop. I will check the dates, but this had to have been late '70s or early '80s. I think the factory was really struggling financially at this time and did not have the resources to make the needed changes in order to meet the requirements for all markets. Efforts were made off and on, but I think the lack of compliance had more to do with financial troubles than anything else.

As for the rest.....

Here is a WIKI about the "grey market" importation of automobiles. Grey import vehicle - Wikipedia

My understanding was that pre 1988, you had to meet a list of requirements to import. 5 mph bumpers front and rear, emissions standards, and a few other relatively minor things. This is why US cars were a bit down on power, had smog pumps installed, and had bigger (ugly) bumpers on them. Once they passed the list of requirements, they were cleared to import. The numbers part is tricky, because it was not always the Lamborghini factory making the changes and sending the cars to the US. There are a lot of variations on the bumpers that made the Countach compliant, and that comes from the fact that there were many companies making the changes for compliance.

You have got me wondering too. I will dig out some of the old books and newsletters and let you know what I find about the grey market stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Ohlgren - it would be great to know what your books and newsletters reveal about the grey market importation of the Countach .

I very much look forward to hearing from you
 

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I did a little reading over the weekend. I pulled out a couple factory approved books from the time, and a book on the Countach.

Looking in "Lamborghini Countach, The Complete Story" by Peter Dron published in 1990, the author was not able to determine how many Countach were made in any given year. I can quote it for you, but the basic information was that the estimated production numbers varied widely year to year based on who at the factory you talked to. Lamborghini did not know how many they made in any given year, or of each variation. Based on the fact they did not know how many they made, were they went is probably even more lost.

At some point, a CEO of Lamborghini destroyed the company records in an effort to force the factory to "look to the future, not the past.".

Lamborghini, historians and owners have been trying to rebuild the records, but I have a pretty good feeling a comprehensive list of the information you are interested in does not exist. I might be able to dig up a little more in my piles of club newsletters, but I think this is a bit of a project.
 

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I just had a thought..... I know someone who ordered one new from the factory in the mid '80s. He said he had to wait over a year for it. I could give him a call and ask him about his experience.
 
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