Although it may be seen as a comedy, the Cannonball Run of 1981 is one of the most recognized automobile films ever. The Countach LP 400 S, which appears in the film and is still in its original stunning metal condition, is one of the main characters. This Countach was so important, that it has been added to the National Historic Vehicle Register in the United States Library of Congress for its important role in the history of cars in America.
What Is The Cannonball Run Film?
The plot is based on the real-life Cannonball Run, which began in 1933 (with Erwin George Baker as the spark plug), and it borrows from that event. While the film generated public enthusiasm for Lamborghini, the car company did not immediately recognize the publicity value. Lamborghini began to see a significant rise in interest in its vehicles shortly after.
The black Countach LP 400 S with chassis number 1121112 was used to set the tone of the film. The black Countach sped through Nevada’s desert east of Las Vegas, guided by Jill Rivers (Tara Buckman) and Marcie Thatcher (Adrienne Barbeau). The Countach outran a police car after Jill damaged 55 mph speed limit signage, then passed another a few seconds later.
The Lamborghini Countach Wasn’t The Only Star Of The Show
The Countach wasn’t the only icon that made the screen for The Cannonball Run movie. According to reports, the screenwriters chose the most representative vehicles of the era, including a Ferrari 308 GTS, an Aston Martin DB5 and a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The Countach, on the other hand, stood out as the film’s main attraction, with the Lambo solo for more than three minutes in the opening sequence. After finishing first in The Cannonball Run race, Lamborghini received an avalanche of orders for the Lamborghini Countach from the United States.
According to Lamborghini, the Countach was exported to the United States by SEA Auto (Lamborghini’s distributor in Rome at the time), and it ended up with a new owner in Florida. The owner of the Countach loaned it out to his buddy – film director Hal Needham – for use in filming.
The Lamborghini Countach Was Modified For Filming
For the movie, Lamborghini had to make the car as similar as possible to the original, but with a removable sunroof and heated rear window. Lamborghini’s engineers ‘undid’ some changes that were made on the vehicle, such as removing two grab handles installed behind the front doors and an additional headlight in each fender (which would be used later by drivers of Lamborghini).
The Lamborghini Countach didn’t always run fast enough during filming. During one of his stints at driving it for Cannonball, Hal Needham took Lamborghini out for a drive… He drove so fast that he broke the gears of Lamborghini. So… after they returned to base, the Lambo was taken apart and checked; obviously. Lamborghini was able to solve the problem by swapping out some of the gears.
The Countach Found A New Owner On Set
The Countach ended up in the hands of a new owner on the set, in the way of Ron Rice. In 2004, Lamborghini enthusiast Jeff Ippoliti of Florida acquired it from him. This celebrity supercar is still owned by Jeff Ippoliti.
The Lamborghini Countach was an iconic part of the Cannonball Run film and it’s not hard to see why it has become one of the most popular cars in history, with its sleek design and impressive performance.
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