Would You Rather: Ferrari Testarossa or Lamborghini Countach?

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Last week we watched the newcomer BMW M760Li get trounced by the Mercedes-AMG S65 in a battle of go-fast executive sedans , but an admittedly unscientific scan of our Facebook page  revealed that you, our readers, were fairly split on the matter. Go figure.

Today’s contenders come from a time when men weren’t afraid to show off their chest hair and supercars weren’t expected to have wimpy stuff like “anti-lock brakes” or “predictable handling” or “reliability.” The Ferrari Testarossa and Lamborghini Countach were two of the most iconic sports cars of the 90s, and both are set to see a sharp increases in value in the near future.

Which should you put in your garage?

LOOKS: Without a doubt, the Testarossa’s defining features are its straked air intakes that span nearly the entire space between the front and rear wheels. They looked fantastic in 1983, but by the 1990s they started looking a bit dated. Now, in true cyclical nature, they look fantastic again.

LOOKS: When production started in 1973, the Countach was the most dramatic wedge with wheels the world had ever seen, but by the late 80s it had sprouted bigger air intakes, a huge rear wing, flared wheel arches and some unsightly bumpers for ferderalized versions. But it was no less awesome.

LOOKS: This one is just too close to call. One point each.

Ferrari Testarossa: 1

Lamborghini Countach: 1

ENGINE: Ferrari dabbled in flat-12 engines throughout much of the 70s and 80s, and the Testarossa was one of the benefactors of this unusual configuration. The 4.9-liter engine produced 390-hp when the Testarossa was introduced in 1984, but subsequent version made as much as 440-hp.

ENGINE: The Countach’s V12 uses engine architecture that was first seen in Lamborghini’s very first car in 1964, the 350GT, and finally retired nearly 50 years later with the Muciélago SV in 2010. Credit Giotto Bizarrini with the design, who defected from Ferrari to Lamborghini after one too many disagreements with Enzo. His engine produced a maximum of 450-hp during its time in the Countach.

ENGINE: The ‘Tach’s engine has both the ponies and the pedigree.

Ferrari Testarossa: 1

Lamborghini Countach: 2

PERFORMANCE: One of the main benefits of “flat” engines is a low center of gravity, but Ferrari ruined that when it decided to mount the Testarossa’s engine above the transmission. This unusual setup gave the car a relatively high center of gravity, which had some ill effects on handling, though these were largely sussed out in later variants. The sprint to 60 mph came in 5.3 seconds and it topped out at 180 mph.

PERFORMANCE: The Countach has a reputation of being a poser car that’s better at compensating for a lack of trouser furniture rather than demonstrating any real performance. But time has been kind to the Countach. Tecent drives reveal a superbly balanced old-school supercar. In LP500S form it did 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and had a top speed of 179 mph.

PERFORMANCE: The Countach beats the Testarossa on paper and on the road.

Ferrari Testarossa: 1

Lamborghini Countach: 3

ON-SCREEN PRESENCE: Flashes of Sonny Crockett chasing drug kingpins through the streets of Miami in a white Testarossa are seared into memory of every child of the ‘80s. The Testarossa was basically a third main character in Miami Vice.

ON-SCREEN PRESENCE: The Countach appeared in more than one Cannonball Run movies, but more importantly, it also appeared on posters in just about every teenage boy’s bedroom — obviously right next to the Kathy Ireland poster.

ON-SCREEN PRESENCE: The Ferrari Testarossa in Miami Vice and Miami Vice is the Ferrari Testarossa.

Ferrari Testarossa: 2

Lamborghini Countach: 3

The Testarossa matches the Countach in terms of looks and presence, but can’t hang with it on the road. The Lamborghini wins.


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