Milestones

Happy birthday! The Lamborghini Countach LP 500 turns 50 this year

The Lamborghini Countach LP 500 was the star of the Geneva Motor Show 50 years ago.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

Under the spotlights of the 1971 Geneva Auto Show, with actual film cameras with flash bulbs capturing every moment, the Lamborghini Countach LP 500 struck a post for the first time, dressed in yellow, inside the Carrozzeria Bertone event space just down from the debut of the Lamborghini Miura SV.

It was just 10 o'clock in the morning in Switzerland when the cover came off, but the enthusiasm surrounding the prototype's appearance was so high, the Italian sports car company knew what they had to do. They needed to get some to customers. And quick.

In the weeks after its arrival, the Countach LP 500 was featured in all the international automotive magazines. The Countach project, codenamed LP112, was headed up by engineer Paolo Stanzani, who had been with Lamborghini since 1963, and in 1968 was named General Manager and Technical Director, responsible for the mechanical part of the Countach.

Lamborghini Countach LP 500

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

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The body of the car was styled by Marcello Gandini, Design Director of Carrozzeria Bertone. At the time, scissor doors were a hallmark of Lamborghini's 12-cylinder models so it was decided to use them on the Countach as well.

However, the LP 500 was substantially different than the Countach that would go into production in 1974. The homologated model would have its chassis changed out for one that was easier to fabricate and protect against corrosion.

After Lamborghini's chief test driver Bob Wallace used the car for road testing, it was determined that the 12-cylinder 4971cc power plant. that was in the prototype was no good and that a different engine was required. A 3.9-liter engine was originally sold in the Countach with a 4.8-liter and a 5.2-liter eventually making their way under the hood.

Production or prototype, the car was unique for its time, and certainly a different take on Italian sports car design than the Miura that debuted at the same time.

Lamborghini models are feature unique names with none of the alphanumeric nomenclature that has become so commonplace today. Its origin story begins in the Piedmont region of Italy. The region - located in the center or a triangle from Milan, Italy to Grenoble, Switzerland to Genoa, Italy - is where the car was hidden during its final days of development.

A small shed traditionally used for agricultural machinery on a farm near Grugliasco, Italy was the home of the car. This allowed Lamborghini to avoid any work stoppages related to labor unrest that was happening in the country at the time.

Marcello Gandini, the designer of the Countach, explained the origin of the name in a story for Lamborghini's website entitled "Not Just Bulls: the Creator Tells Us the Story Behind the Name Countach":

"When we made cars for the car shows, we worked at night and we were all tired, so we would joke around to keep our morale up. There was a profiler working with us who made the locks. He was two meters tall with two enormous hands, and he performed all the little jobs. He spoke almost only Piedmontese, didn't even speak Italian. Piedmontese is much different from Italian and sounds like French. One of his most frequent exclamations was 'countach', which literally means plague, contagion, and is actually used more to express amazement or even admiration, like 'goodness'. He had this habit.

"When we were working at night, to keep our morale up, there was a jousting spirit, so I said we could call it Countach, just as a joke, to say an exaggerated quip, without any conviction. There nearby was Bob Wallace, who assembled the mechanics—we always made the cars operational. At that time you could even roll into the car shows with the car running, which was marvelous.

"So jokingly I asked Bob Wallace how it sounded to an Anglo-Saxon ear. He said it in his own way, strangely. It worked. We immediately came up with the writing and stuck it on. But maybe the real suggestion was the idea of one of my co-workers, a young man who said let's call it that. That is how the name was coined. This is the only true story behind this word."

From 1974 to 1990, 1,999 Countachs in five different series were produced, representing a model that, in addition to ending up displayed on the bedroom walls of an entire generation and being used in dozens of films, allowed Lamborghini to survive the most difficult years of its history, setting itself up for the success it has today.

What ever happened to the Countach LP 500? The car's life was cut short. In 1974 it was scrapped.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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The engine bay is decorated with images of the American flag.

Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

A new customized 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 pays tribute to members of the U.S. military. Karl Kustoms, a Chevrolet Performance retailer and custom shop, recently completed the build in partnership with Bad Boy Vettes. Nearly every panel of the Corvette has been modified to honor a military branch. Even the underside of the hood and engine bay have been artistically sprayed.

"It is a privilege to take on a custom project like this and use our skills to honor our nation's military," Clint Quesinberry, Digital Marketing Specialist. "This Memorial Day, we are proud to recognize those who served."

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette The model started its life as a 2016 Chevy Corvette.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

Unique features include detailed lettering of the words "Honor, Duty, Country", three words given an important place in military history after they were uttered by General Douglas MacArthur in 1962 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as part of his farewell address. There's also imagery of a U.S. Army helicopter firing at a Russian helicopter, a serviceman with a German Shepard, the U.S.S. Iowa battleship, and Arlington Cemetery stones with Medal of Honor recipients from each major conflict.

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Military imagery features throughout the body work.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

The car was created as a full-time show car and is currently on display at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It will remain there through the end of 2021 before traveling throughout the country at a variety of car events throughout 2022.

The customized Corvette is also a contender for the 2021 International Show Car Association (ISCA) Car of the Year.

Karl Kustons US military 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Imagery is featured on the body and under the hood.Photo courtesy of Karl Kustoms

"We did what we could to take this thing over the top," said Ed Birmingham, Karl Kustoms Painter. "I sat there for hours doing the detail work. I spent more time than I would normally spend on a hood, but it all paid off."

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