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Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Lamborghini Countach replica is entirely built in basement

Sometimes car news get a little slow, but normally a great story emerges in such situations. Slow was how this week was going until the story of Ken Imhoff came up. He would look like an ordinary guy who lives in Wisconsin if he was not an skilled aluminum worker and a TIG welder. This helped him fulfill a dream that came upon with the movie "Cannonball Run": to built a brand new Lamborghini Countach replica with no ready kits help. It may sound the car is not good enough, but have a careful look at the picture below. Is this gorgeous or what?

Ok, it may look as if this is a regular Lamborghini Countach (if any Lambo can be called regular), but we can assure you it came out of Imhoff's basement. Check the pictures of the car in its birth place.

Now, the birth itself. Since the basement door did not dilate, Imhoff had to have its baby through caesarian delivery. In order to do so, he had to hire a contractor to excavate his yard, biuld a ramp, get to one of the basement walls and knock it down to get the car out of the house. If you are easily impressed by birth scenes, we advise you not to look at the three pictures below (the windshield has been removed to avoid damages while the car was being taken out of the house).

Smart baby, it even waves...

We would not believe it also if we had not spoken to Imhoff. He has really spent the last 17 years of his life building this car. "I never worked more than 10 hours a week during this time. I guess the car took me 10,000 hours to built", Imhoff told MotorTips. In total, he believes he has spent US$ 40,000 on the car (excluding his work on it, which would make the price grow higher).

Although he did not get a real Lamborghini engine to mid-mount in the car, he has found a pretty nice heart for the car, a Ford Boss 351 V8 able to pump out 520 bhp, mated to a five-speed ZF-25 manual transaxle. The engine roar is also very nice to hear.

In order to create the body, Imhoff built a wooden buck. All body panels were formed from aluminum panels, TIG welding (inside and out) and Imhoff skills. Even the scissor doors, the most difficult part of the job, were made by his hands. Besides the engine, Imhoff bough only a few things. "Windshield came from South Africa. I only used the windscreen, tail lights, front signals, badgets and fiberglass arches/wing/chin spoiler. I have looked for a year to find the pieces and molds, to reproduce them if I choose", he told MotorTips.

Pieces were built with the help of this equipment, called an English wheel.

As you can see, the car is entirely made of aluminum plates, a tube space frame designed by Imhoff himself and very little pieces of fiberglass. With this care in creating the vehicle, it could not have a better weight: only 1,225 kg. It gives the car an amazing power-to-ratio of only 2.36 kg/bhp.

Although the car has been taken out of the basement this month, Imhoff did not manage to drive it so far. "It came out of the basement a little early due to mother nature. It wasn't 100%. There is a clutch/pedal issue to workout, the windshield must be installed etc." No legal problems, though. "In my state there are no problems with licensing. I have two options: all scratch build or donor car VIN, which I have from the car the block came from."

With so much work, does Imhoff think of building more replicas to make some money? "No, not really. Labor of love needs pays off." What about selling his masterpiece? "No, but are we talking crazy money?". Yes, passion has a price.

We know this post may seem excessively illustrated, but all pictures deserve to be here. If you, like us, have loved this story, we are sure you won't mind seeing all of them. Ken, great job! Most of us would like to be able to do something similar.


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