Sometimes you just get lucky, when I saw this amazing looking orange metallic Lamborghini Countach LP400S listed on eBay I got in touch with my main source in Europe for high-end scale models, but unfortunately this one, IM027F came back as 'sold out', so that was a bummer ... but a few days later he got back to me stating he could probably get hold of one for me anyway, so I got lucky there as only 30 or so were made for the entire world.
And I specifically wanted this shade, IDEA calls it orange metallic, but I think it looks close to Rame Colorado (Colorado Copper), a very rare shade Lamborghini used on their Countach LP400S model back in the late Seventies, early Eighties, but it would take a long time to arrive, so the waiting game began.
Later I found out IDEA also released IM045, which was a white 1980 Lamborghini Countach S chassis #1121164, and this was an exact 1/18 scale model of the actual car Ferruccio Lamborghini owned ... damn, shouldn't I have gone for that one? Now I can't afford two of these IDEA 1/18 models, so I was a little mad at myself for ordering the orange metallic one, but when she finally arrived I couldn't be happier, and remember, the Ferruccio Countach, although a very important, and an extremely valuable car in real life ... in the end, as a scale car, it's just a white Countach with a black interior, a car he obtained because the order for the car was canceled by the original customer.
The box my first-ever IDEA 1/18 scale model Lamborghini arrived in was huge, the padding was extremely well done, as I learned to expect from this seller, he also sold me the most expensive model in my collection to date, the D&G Diablo VT 6.0 widebody ... a model I absolutely love, so this time he managed to get me this very rare IDEA made Lamborghini Countach, and it arrived in perfect condition.
This model comes complete with a large plinth and a display case, inside a black cardboard box that in itself is protected with a white cardboard sleeve. Once you open the black box, the top lifts off and the bottom has the front flap folding down, you can't even admire the model fully, they've protected the plexiglass top both with wraparound foil and a kind of wide painter's tape ... at this price point I find that truly amazing protection from IDEA, at least they didn't put tape on the top and the plinth like MR does, that's terrible to remove from the Alcantara bottom.
So I wanted to get this specific Lamborghini Countach model from IDEA as my first ever model from this manufacturer, and while these are still €340 apiece, I honestly think IDEA is better value for money than MR, which is slightly more expensive, naturally, a D&G model at twice this amount is even better still, but at the price point these IDEA 1/18 sealed resin models are offered, I think they are great.
Now, why would I go for the 1978 model and not the 1980 one with rear wing IDEA also makes, and in some amazing shades, like a very nice blue metallic? The wheels ... take a closer look at the wheels on this specific scale model, those are the 'Bravo' style wheels, where the five holes actually protrude from the face. The 1980 model came with the more recent curved wheels, still, the five-hole 'telephone dial' units as they are also called, but the early Countach S models came with these now ultra-rare magnesium wheels.
I know I already have these wheels on the special Walter Wolf Countach models I have in my collection, but the LP500S models I have all come with the newer style Campagnolo wheels, only the very first LP400S units came with these amazing magnesium wheels, so that's why I specifically wanted the 1978 edition, and this orange metallic over tan interior just looks amazing with these special wheels finished in gold paint.
Now some might argue there are three different series of the Countach LP400S in real life, the very early cars with the wide-body, Bravo style wheels and the Periscopio, a second series with the Bravo style wheels but a smooth roof, and the third series with the concave wheels by Campagnolo, but as usual with Lamborghini, things are more complicated than this.
When the Lamborghini Countach LP400S was introduced at the 1978 Geneva Motor Show, the car on the stand was chassis #1121002, finished in Bleu Speciale with a Senape interior and gold-finished Bravo style, magnesium wheels, and a smooth roof, not the Periscopio like the LP400, also referred to as 'Narrow body' these days ... and guess who received this first, factory official Countach LP400S ... Walter Wolf! Remember him? That the guy who had that red Countach with wide wheels and rear wing built in 1975 on chassis #1120148, and in 1976 second one, finished in blue, on chassis #1120202.
So there are no Lamborghini Countach LP400S with a Periscopio roof ... not exactly. They exist, but they aren't real production versions of the S model, instead, customers that already owned an LP400, or had one on order after March 1978, convinced the factory to convert their car into an S version, with the completely updated suspension, wheels, wide fenders, and spoiler ... but these cars would retain the Periscopio roof, and more importantly, the original 375 hp V12 engine!
When the Countach S was introduced, they made it more nimble, easier to drive, by changing the high lift camshafts and use a lower compression ratio, resulting in 'only' 353 hp, later, when the Countach S was imported into the United States, Lamborghini added emission equipment and power dropped to 325 hp ... so converting an original LP400 into an S made sense for their owners, the result was a quicker car, so you do have Periscopio Lamborghini Countach LP400S models, and they are the most sought-after ... rumor has it, only 24 Countach S actually got the ultra-expensive Bravo style magnesium wheels, later ones came with aluminum wheels which were much cheaper to fabricate.
During the production of the Lamborghini Countach S the suspension got raised about 3cm because many owners damaged the front spoiler, from chassis #1121312 on they even raised the roof from the inside by that amount to be able to fit a taller driver ... keep in mind anyone over 180cm will have a hard time driving a Countach ... but here came the difference between a 'low body Countach S 'and the regular Countach S from, the earlier ones were effectively lower.
The scale model
Back to this 1/18 scale model, which is a Series 1 Lamborghini Countach LP400S with the Bravo style magnesium wheels, so it should be a 'low body' version as all of the raised Countach LP400S came with the other wheels fitted, as I don't have the 1980 version from IDEA, I can't verify of this model is really 3mm lower (60mm in real life), but the front spoiler does sit very low to the plinth, so it might be correct.
Before you ask, yes, this is a sealed resin model, nothing opens so there is no discussion on panel gaps, and you can't see the engine, nor the spare wheel that's under the front hood. And while the doors don't open either, the plastic used for the windows is very clear, do note there is a little distortion on the side windows, but other than that the 'glass' looks great, and it even comes with that bleu tinted stripe at the top of the windshield.
When you look at this IDEA scale model, it just looks great, the look and feel is amazing, especially in this shade, I just love it. If you look really close you'll notice the lower intakes on the front bumper do show a grid, but they are sealed, and that's the way all intakes and vents are made, they sometimes have a grid in front, but in the end, they are sealed ... you don't immediately notice it, but still.
The Lamborghini Countach comes with 'pop-up' headlights, these are closed on this IDEA model, but the turn signals just look amazing under their covers, which do come with the correct striped look, also the Carello lights in the bumper look just real, no pin in the middle. And the same goes for the taillights on this Countach scale model, it all looks genuine, which brings us to another detail, the badges.
At the front, you only get the famous Raging Bull crest, and it looks great, and very shiny, between the taillights you'll find a Lamborghini script on the left and the Countach script on the right, together with the very special 'S' we've seen on the Miura before, on this shade all the rear badging is finished in black, but the factory also fitted white and gold-finished badges, while on the side the Bertone badge is fitted, there was never a 'B' on the side of the Countach as we saw on the Miura.
Looking inside we first pass a pair of small, black mirrors on the doors, I believe these are Vitaloni mirrors, and they look amazing, the windshield wiper is a very delicate piece of metal on this IDEA model, better be careful when cleaning this one, those tend to catch very quickly.
The dashboard is the typical 'box' we've seen on all Lamborghini models, as this is an early LP400S, the dashboard has three, round air vents at the front of the windshield, very nicely detailed on this IDEA model, they almost look like you can open the vents and turn them. If you look really closely into the dashboard pod you'll find original Stewart-Warner dials, correct on early cars like this, later Lamborghini fitted Jeager gauges.
These early Countach models didn't have electric windows, so the plain door panel shows a lever to manually lower the small portion of the side window, while on the central console you get two large, silver-trimmed vents and a collection of buttons in front of the gear lever ... the Countach was a five-speed manual with reverse locked out by a lever ... if you weren't experienced in this system, it would take two hands to get a Countach into reverse gear.
The interior on this IDEA Lamborghini Countach LP400S is very nicely detailed, it comes with cloth seatbelts and the seats and dashboard look like tan leather, with the correct satin gloss, in this era the stitching was usually tone on tone, so there is no detail there, and the Raging Bull crest on the headrests wasn't done by Lamborghini on these 1978 Countach S either, so it all seems rather period-correct inside this IDEA model.
If you look through the holes in these Bravo style wheels you can actually see the disk brakes, and the silver calipers, again, in 1978 there were no carbon-ceramic disks, nor flashy painted calipers ... some owners might paint the calipers on their Countach, but from the factory these were silver. What did impress me on this IDEA model was the use of metal air valves on these wheels, and some very nice, silver bolts on them, that's an amazing detail I really appreciate.
The bottom line
So why didn't I give this model a full 10 out of 10, and only a 9 overall? It didn't catch my attention at first glance, and it was only while I was post-processing the photo's I noticed the tires, and something looked odd to me. And then I found it ... IDEA fitted nicely treaded tires on this model, and it is a Pirelli pattern ... but from the Pirelli P-Zero as seen on the Countach 25th Anniversary in 1988, ten years later. The 1978 Countach LP400S would have come with Pirelli P7 tires, later on, replaced with the newer P7R ones ... but none of the 235 Countach S models ever left the doors in Sant'Agata between 1978 and 1982 with Pirelli P-Zero tires.
But I think I know what happened here, IDEA most likely confirmed their scale model against a real Lamborghini Countach S recently, either a 1978 or a 1980 model (or both), and they saw the tires fitted on this car today ... and those will most likely be P-Zero tires because the Pirelli P7 tires in 345/35 15 size are extremely hard to find today, so it probably isn't a mistake, but in my eyes an oversight, some bad research, so I gave it a 9.
I do firmly believe these IDEA 1/18 scale models can compete with MR easily, and when I see other Lamborghini models from this manufacturer I will try to get hold of it for my collection, this first one pleasantly surprised me.
Photos © LAMBOdiecast