Chris Bennett: Lamborghini Countach (Osprey Classic Marques)
Magnificent Car, Poor Book
The Lamborghini Countach was a shockingly outrageous car when it was first introduced and it was still on the automobile extreme when superseded by the Diablo. This book is a sadly pedestrian attempt to write about so dramatic a car.
This book repeats the standard formula for many such volumes. It contains a lot pretty photographs of the cars and a few simple words on the subject.
The photos are well presented, in good colour and on decent paper, but they are not really special. Mostly, they were obtained by tagging along at owners club events or getting photographs from the factory. So we see lots of pictures of cars parked in grassy paddocks or being driven carefully on the track by their doting owners but nothing dramatic.
It is the same with the writing. There is a brief history of the company from its beginning to the end of the Countach era and a straightforward description of the car. The history conveys nothing of the drama in the company. The frequent trips to the financial brink, the strike prone labourforce or the Machiavellian twists and turns of the company's ownership.
Similarly, the description of the car tells you a lot about what it is like to look at or maybe to sit in or even to have one parked outside your house but the reader will never get an insight into what it is like to drive one of these cars hard over demanding roads.
If you want the latter, you should read the road tests that appeared in Car magazine in the seventies and eighties.
The book also contains some truly cringe inducing technical blunders. An example is the point where the author asserts that the V12 engine has a single cylinder head! The author also believes that the car's sump, clutch housing and gearbox case are part of the unsprung weight! These are by no means the only errors in the text. There are others along with contradictions and typos.
It's out of print and not really worth trying to find a copy. But, it shows up from time in shops that stock remaindered titles for a fraction of the original price and it is just about worth it then.