The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S



I've been dreading this week for months. I knew that sooner or later I would have run a Lambo for entrance into the Fantasy Garage and how on earth do you pick which one? True, we already ran the LM002 flag up the Fantasy pole, but the Lamborghini's SUV is the Oscar Acosta of the Fantasy Garage, a high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to not be in Jalopnik's Garage. Plus of course, Hunter S Thompson drove one, so piss off. But that still leaves me with the dilemma of which mid-engined Bull to nominate. My heart says the Miura, as few if any cars have ever been as lovely. Yet my brain is demanding the LP640, as it is by far the most capable of the three. However my balls are screaming "Countach!" How do you argue against the Countach, as the thing defies logic? So, I will cop out and let you the reader decide. Good luck.

Miura

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S



The Miura blew the doors off the 1965 Turin Motor Show. And that was just the chassis. Crowds were sent reeling five months later in Geneva when the Miura showed up clad in its luscious Bertone skin. Inspired by the success of the Ford GT40, the Miura was the first mid-engined sports car available for the (filthy rich) layman. True, the DeTomaso Vallelunga came along in 1962, but no one really cared. The Miura however, changed everything. Here at last with its muscular V12 mounted sideways mid-ship, the world had its first supercar. In fact, the term "supercar" was coined by journalist L.J.K. Setright in his review of the Miura. High end sports cars would never be the same.

Pros:

  • Impossibly good looking. Every curve, ever angle, every pronounced bulge is exactly right. Even the Venetian blind slats over the back window (lifted directly from the 1963 Corvair Monza GT, we should add) are perfect. Despite its mid-engineness, the Miura mostly maintained the proportions found on such rolling pieces of sex as the Jaguar E-type, only with a longer rear. Utterly beyond bellissimo.
  • Lamborghini was of course trying to punch Ferrari between the eyes, so all Miuras had potent V12s, even if they mounted 'em funny (transverse). With 350 to 385 horsepower nestled just behind the driver's skull, it wasn't just the outside of the Miura that was sexy.

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S

Cons:

  • Because of Lamborghini's decision to use racing Weber carbs, fuel would collect while the car idled at a stop light. When the driver hit the gas, the engine would catch on fire. Small price to pay for all that beauty if you ask ask us.
  • The front-mounted fuel tank would and empty and get lighter, causing the car to become quite unstable. So high speed runs were only for the very brave. And as Lamborghinis should only be purchased by out and out studs, that's not really an issue either.
  • Though Setright described the Miura as a "supercar" in Car magazine, the contemporary Ferrari Daytona out performed the Lambo, even with its engine up front.

Of Note:

  • The Shah of Iran owned one, which was confiscated by the Ayatollahs after the revolution in 1979. This Miura was eventually sold to Dubai, and later purchased by Nicolas Cage for $490,000, the most ever paid for a Miura.
  • Frank Sinatra owned an orange Miura, with matching orange leather and shag carpeting.

Countach

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S



If the Miura shook things up at Turin and Geneva, the Countach's 1971 debut was a paradigm shift. A moon landing. Columbus setting foot in the New World. 35 years later, the Countach still looks as wild and impossible as ever. A veritable symbol of excess, the design was so ground breaking that Lamborghini was able to produce the Countach from 1974 to 1990, a remarkable run in the "what have you done for me lately" world of top shelf supercars. Their plan, of course, was to just keeping stuffing burlier and burlier engines in the back while simultaneously slashing scoops and strakes into any flat surface left unmolested. By the time the 25th Anniversary Countach bowed in 1988, the poor thing looked more like a Transformer than the gorgeous icon penned by Marcello Gandini, the same man who drew up the Miura, Dino and Pantera. If it were up to me and only me, we'd be inducting the wingless and still utterly flabbergasting earlier LP400 iteration. Though Davey and I had an hour long IM chat about it, and he feels strongly that the LP500S is indeed the uber-Countach. But you know what? Any Countach is utterly mind blowing, so just imagine your favorite.

Pros:

  • Frickin' scissor doors
  • Whereas most Lamborghinis are named after bulls, the word "Countach" roughly translates to, "Holy shit! Did you see her ass?"
  • Still as freakishly bonkers now as it was then. Much like the SR-71. Its shape and overall zeitgeist will never be improved upon.
  • Kinda looks like a vampire crossed with shark.
  • Towards the end of its life, performance finally caught up with the perception.
  • You had a poster of a Countach on your wall in high school.

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S

Cons:

  • Countach is now a synonym for cocaine.
  • Looks like 1984
  • While extroverted to the nth degree, it lacks the subtle, timeless beauty of the Miura.
  • Horrendous to drive. Hot and cramped with a clutch set in cement and no rearward visibility whatsoever. Lamborghini employees soon learned that you must pop the door and sit on the sill to reverse.
  • So many of us had posters of the Countach because it is a cartoon that appeals to the 15-year-old mentality. Like Hulk Hogan.

Of Note:

Lamborghini made three Walter Wolf Specials with a hoony 447 HP V12 that reved to 7,900 rpm. As these Wolf Countachs were based off the LP400s Models (albeit with flared fenders for the massive Pirelli P7 tires) they featured massive performance without the garishness of subsequent models.

Murcielago LP640

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S



We still remember seeing the Murcielago for the first time at the 2002 Los Angeles Auto Show. We we stunned. Here was a car as wide as any full-size pickup truck, yet so low as to not even come up to our crotch. However, in 2003 on the opposite side of the room sat the all new Ferrari Enzo. The Murci, by way of comparison, just didn't have it. All that changed in 2006 when Lamborghini introduced the LP640. Equipped with a larger 6.5-liter V12 (and still mounted "backwards"), the Murcielago now produces an Enzo-besting 640 horsepower, with 0-60 acceleration squarely in the "Jesus F''n Christ" range (3.4 seconds — the much lighter Enzo takes 3.3). We simply love the asymmetrical air scoops and the fact that you can stick your foot up to your knee in the massive tailpipe. Did we mention you can get it as a roadster? Hot damn.

Pros:

  • Even though it was, as Clarkson never tires of pointing out, designed by a Belgian (Luc Donckerwolke), the Murcielago is exquisite looking. Calling upon the best elements of the Countach, Donckerwolke managed to create a wedge that is fresh, distinct and modern, yet instantly recognizable as a Lamborghini. Compare the LP640 to Ferrari's new 599 GTB, and the prancing horse looks like Corvette in a funny suit.
  • Friggin' scissor doors; still got 'em.
  • Bat wings
  • Asymmetrical bodywork — no longer just the parlance of British SUVs.
  • Interior by Audi
  • F1-style launch control lets you light up all four wheels. We love that.
  • Batman drives one, natch.
  • 11.8 in the 1/4 mile and a top speed of 211 mph is just plain whacky. In a great way.

The Baddest Bull: Lamborghini Miura Vs Countach Vs Murcielago LP640S

Cons:

  • While the Miura and the Countach were both breakthrough designs that set the car world on its ear, the Murci is just an evolution of Lambos past. While we love looking at it, there is something slightly retro and derivative.
  • Does it have to weigh nearly two tons?
  • A 70/30 rear to front torque split is cool, but wouldn't making the Murci RWD drop a couple hundred pounds of weight? And improve the steering?
  • Expect 4 mpg. Downhill.
  • Uh... the name is hard to pronounce (yes, we're grabbing at straws).

Of Note:

  • Kobe Bryant bought one for his wife, only she couldn't be bothered to learn to drive stick. So, he had the manual swapped out for an automatic to the tune of $100,000. Karl Marx made a lot of good points.
  • From Wiki: "The name Murciélago comes from a bull that survived 24 sword strokes in an 1879 fight at the arena of Córdoba, and fought with such passion and spirit that the matador chose to spare its life, a rare honor." We're just curious what the hell the matador was thinking after the 23 sword stroke. Prick.

Conclusion:

So there you have it. Three utterly desirable Fantasy cars, but only one parking space. In our mind, the LP640 gets the nod. However, the second we complete that thought, in pops the Miura and we're instantly filled with regret. And if we convince ourselves that yeah, it's the Miura, we find it impossible to deny the Countach. That's why this decision falls squarely on your stout shoulders. Will you listen to your brain, your heart or your balls? Happy voting.

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[The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage appears every Wednesday. Readers vote the cars in or out. The idea is that we'll have 50 cars in our Fantasy Garage, the world's greatest mechanic and endless wads of cash. Would you like to nominate a car for the Fantasy Garage? Write tips@jalopnik.com with the subject line "Fantasy."]

The Jalopnik Fantasy Garage, So Far:

RUF RT12 | 1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage | Honda 1300 Coupe 9 | 1931 Daimler Double Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe | Ferrari 288 GTO | Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 | 1970 Buick GSX 455 | First Generation BMW M Coupe | Bugatti Veyron 16.4 | Ford GT | Citroen SM | Porsche 928 | Jensen FF | DeTomaso Vallelunga | Audi Quattro S1 | Buick GNX | Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R | Honorary Fantasy Garager: The LS1 Powered Rotus | Lamborghini LM002 | Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe | Ferrari 250 GTO | Bentley Speed Six | Talbot-Lago T150C SS Figoni et Falaschi Raindrop/Teardrop Coupe | Porsche 917 | Audi RS4 Avant | Maybach Exelero