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Celebrating 45 Years of the Cannonball Run’s Iconic Lamborghini Countach LP 400 S

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Automobili Lamborghini is celebrating a legendary milestone today: the 45th anniversary of the iconic Lamborghini Countach LP 400 S, famously featured in the cult classic film, “The Cannonball Run.” This celebration isn’t just about the car—it’s also a reunion of the film’s two leading ladies, Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman, who haven’t been together since the movie’s release on June 19, 1981.

A Legendary Car’s Journey

The Lamborghini Countach LP 400 S that captivated audiences was produced in November 1979, flaunting a striking Nero (black) exterior and a contrasting Senape (mustard) interior. Originally shipped to a dealership in Rome, this beauty soon found its way to Florida. Its journey into cinematic history began when its owner, a friend of the film’s director, lent it for the movie, thus starting its legendary association with American pop culture.

For its on-screen role, the Countach received a few cosmetic tweaks: a wing and two full-beam headlights on the nose, a spoiler, three antennas, and twelve exhaust pipes at the rear. Post-filming, these distinctive features were retained, maintaining the car’s unique cinematic charm.

In 2009, Jeff Ippoliti, a Lamborghini enthusiast from Florida, acquired the car. Ippoliti, who had been mesmerized by the Countach during the film’s opening scene, spent 18 months negotiating its purchase. “I had always been crazy about cars,” he recalled, “but the opening of the movie was the first time I got to see and hear the Countach in motion, and I was captivated!”

The Cannonball Run: A Cultural Phenomenon

“The Cannonball Run” drew inspiration from the real-life Cannonball race, a cross-country sprint from New York to Los Angeles. The film boasted an ensemble cast including Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Chan, Farrah Fawcett, Adrienne Barbeau, and Tara Buckman. Barbeau and Buckman portrayed the only all-female team in the race, piloting the Countach to victory.

One of the film’s most unforgettable moments is the three-minute police chase in the opening sequence, underscored by the throaty roar of the Countach’s 12-cylinder engine. Another iconic scene involves the Countach abruptly stopping so the passenger can spray-paint an “X” on a road sign. These scenes have become ingrained in automotive lore, helping the Countach secure a place in the U.S. Library of Congress in 2021 as an artifact of significant cultural importance.

Memories Rekindled

Reuniting Barbeau and Buckman with the Countach after 43 years brought a flood of memories. Neither actress had driven a Lamborghini before the film. “I immediately thought it was beautiful, simply beautiful, and it still is,” said Barbeau, who played Marcie Thatcher. Buckman, who played Jill Rivers, added, “We had the best car, and it was definitely the most beautiful of all.”

Reflecting on the film’s enduring success, both actresses admitted they never anticipated its legendary status. “I had never realized how successful the movie was until people started asking for my autograph,” said Barbeau. Buckman concurred, noting the numerous times she’s signed Countach model cars and photos.

Preserving the Legacy: Lamborghini Polo Storico

Lamborghini Polo Storico, the brand’s heritage department, plays a crucial role in maintaining and celebrating Lamborghini’s historical legacy. Established in 2015, Polo Storico handles the preservation, restoration, and certification of classic Lamborghinis.

Alessandro Farmeschi, After Sales Director of Automobili Lamborghini, emphasized the Countach’s impact: “This Countach LP 400 S ignited a passion for the Lamborghini brand among many young enthusiasts who grew up to become our customers. Although its specifications have changed since it left the factory, it remains historically important for both Lamborghini and American automotive culture.”

A Tribute to Timelessness

The 45th anniversary celebration of the Countach LP 400 S is more than a tribute to an extraordinary vehicle—it’s a nod to a cultural icon that transcended the screen to become a part of American history. The reunion of Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman with the Countach they drove into the annals of pop culture is a fitting tribute to the enduring legacy of “The Cannonball Run” and its legendary Lamborghini.

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