You need a comically tall hoist to pull the engine out of a Countach

The Countach and all subsequent Lamborghinis V-12s use an odd layout, where the gearbox sits in front of a mid-engine, with a driveshaft running through the oil pan to power the rear wheels. For servicing, the whole thing exits vertically through the engine compartment as a single unit, as the tube frame chassis design prevents it from falling out from underneath.

Car collector Harry Metcalfe from the excellent Harry’s Garage YouTube channel is dealing with alarming noises on his Countach which means the whole transmission had to come out. He shot a video of the process, and it’s pretty amazing.

On the one hand, this requires a huge motor winch. Metcalfe mechanic Iain Tyrrell says his was previously used by the Royal Navy to reassemble sunken nuclear submarines. If you think that sounds like overkill for a car, even an iconic supercar, it’s not. The engine and transmission assembly of a Countach is so long it takes up the entire height.

Lamborghini clearly didn’t think about serviceability when designing the Countach, as the engine and transmission have to come out together every time you need a new clutch. If you plan to use your Countach, budget wisely.

Although it’s weird, the Countach’s pre-engine gearbox layout makes sense. Having a gearbox behind the engine, as is typical of most mid-engined cars, would make the car very long, so turning it around makes for a nice neat package. And unlike Ferrari, which with the Berlinetta Boxer and Testarossa, mounting the transmission under the engine was also not feasible as Ferrari used a flat-12, while Lamborghini obviously had a larger V-12. The Countach’s predecessor, the Miura, had a transverse V-12 with Mini-inspired split casting for the block and gearbox, but that also had more than its fair share of problems.

Such is the life of the owner of the Countach. It’s not an easy car to maintain, but when you consider how this transmission defines the design of the car, you have to conclude that it doesn’t matter.

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