Hagerty/National Historic Vehicle Register
- The mission of the National Historic Vehicle Register is to “preserve America’s auto heritage for future generations.” The list’s latest addition is the 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400S used in the comedy film The Cannonball Run.
- The angular speedster made an impression in the opening few minutes of the movie, with its additional front spoiler and twin spotlights, and kept on inspiring car people throughout the ’80s.
- The Countach has been restored to look the way it did in the film, including swapping out the burgundy red interior that a recent owner put in for the original Senape Tan. It will be on display in Washington, D.C., next month.
As most of the automotive world looks forward with anticipation to the just-revealed Lamborghini Countach update, some contrarians are looking back. This week, a famous Countach—the 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S used in the 1981 film The Cannonball Run—was added to the National Historic Vehicle Register, an exclusive list that only boasts a grand total of 30 vehicles.
“The Countach is a car that has excited and intrigued car enthusiasts since its radical style shocked the world on its debut in the early ’70s,” Jonathan Klinger, executive director of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to document and share the history behind what is probably the most famous example of the storied model.”
The mid-engine Countach was introduced to the world in 1971 and the one used in the comedy film based on the real-world speed coast-to-coast record attempts—officially called the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash—featured an extra front spoiler and twin spotlights. We now understand why cross-country speed drives are dumb, but that doesn’t stop us from appreciating an important car when we see one.
Despite moving between different owners’ garages over the years and getting a burgundy interior at some point, the car has been restored to look like it did in the film, including a Senape tan interior. The powertrain is a 353-hp 4.0-liter 12-cylinder engine with a five-speed manual transmission. A grand total of 16,067 miles are on the odometer.
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The Cannonball Run film was directed by Hal Needham and starred the Countach, a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, a Aston Martin DB5, and many more wonderful vehicles, along with stars Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, and Farrah Fawcett.
The National Historic Vehicle Register is managed by the Hagerty Drivers Foundation and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The NHVR was established in 2013 and most recently added the 1981 DeLorean “hero car” from the movie Back to the Future to its list.
If you want to see the Countach and other vehicles that were added to the list in 2020 and 2021, head on down to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in September during the Register’s annual Cars at the Capitol event. One car from the Register will be on display each week.
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