17 June 2024

LEGO® Icons 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV: review & designer interview

Posted by Kev Levell
The Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV, photographed with a 1980s style filter

I've stripped down the parts in the LEGO® Icons set 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole, got myself revved up, and built it. Today I'm taking a look its clever construction, and speaking with its lead designer, Sven Franic. I even took it for a bit of a respray in the 'shop!

Products in this article were gifted by The LEGO Group; the author's opinions are their own.
This article contains affiliate links to LEGO.com; we may get a small commission if you purchase.

10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole
US$179.99/ £159.99/ 179.99€/ AU$299.99 
1506 parts
1 July 2024

Set 10337 on LEGO.com
Front of the box of Lego Icons set 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV


First impressions

Generally, I have been impressed with LEGO Icons vehicles at this scale; often the sets really capture the vital details of the depicted vehicle and have been full of stylish LEGO building ingenuity.

When I took an initial look at the LEGO box artwork, I felt that some inaccuracies were present. I was not convinced that they had quite managed to capture the essence of the form of the Lamborghini Countach. 

Perhaps it was the angle of the picture on the box front, or maybe the colour choice. This is another white, larger-scale sports car in the LEGO Icons range; in fact the 2021 set 10295 Porsche 911 is still available. With that in mind, I couldn’t help wishing this was another colour. White perhaps also triggered a deep, irrational fear of element discolouration! 

Red would have been my preference for nostalgic reasons, but with last year’s 10321 Corvette appearing in that appropriate colour, iconic options for Countach colours were perhaps limited. 

Maybe it was just that I had set my expectations too high for what could realistically be produced in LEGO form? It was always going to be tricky to fully realise the intersecting angles and subtle compound curves effectively. 

I felt that I might be being a little too critical. Of course, criticisms and comparisons have to be made in the interests of balance, but they need to be justified.

The major criticism in the LEGO community is perhaps how well set 10337 compares to the many and much-appreciated fan models. If you already have that white Porsche, you may be thinking you almost have this set too if you have already seen the alternative build on Rebrickable by firas_legocars. There’s also a number of versions by Rastacoco on Rebrickable, and within the last few weeks, George Panteleon on Flickr has captured attention with his interpretation of its iconic forms too.

However, it is questionable whether the fan attempts surpass the official release in terms of build quality, even if they seem to aesthetically. These fan creations have to be weighed up against the quality control that an official LEGO set has to go through. For the relatively reasonable price of the fan-made instructions, perhaps that is a small consideration when the alternative here is approximately ten times more expensive.

I found myself thinking that if you had the Porsche, you’d be unlikely to buy this, but what if you don’t have it? And what about the LEGO® Speed Champions set 76908 from 2022? Yes, that too is a white Lamborghini Countach. It did seem, to me, a little repetitive to have another white one. Would this big brother overshadow the smaller incarnation?

What if you have actually been waiting for a larger scale, LEGO® System classic Lambo? Would that be enough to encourage you to spend a lot of money on this one set? Admittedly, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the real thing, and for many of us perhaps this is the closest we will ever get.

But, all this was before I built the model.

The build

I have to start by saying that the process of building the Countach is an immensely pleasurable one.

10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV being built - the chassis and seating are complete

The initial construction of the chassis is fairly straightforward but there are interesting techniques used throughout. Similar methods to provide steering have been used in the Countach's predecessors but this one seems particularly compact and neat.


As we move through the build, intriguing little sub-assemblies are added, either filling in some important part of the car or teasing some useful future connection point. 

4 closeups of impressive details of 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV

There has clearly been a mind-boggling level of effort put into the design. Many intricate little features are present, from the shaping of the engine to the "sprung" double pivot point that will allow the scissor doors to function effectively. Some of these details probably required a lot of development, while – nice as they are – the seats felt like familiar old ground. In amongst the overall build though, they were no less enjoyable for that fact.


a dark red 1x6 lego brick with control dials printed on it

I have to point out the astonishing detail in the console print, especially considering the degree to which it is hidden in the final build!

There are parts where I marvelled at the attention to detail, and it almost felt like the LEGO elements being expected to hold together with hope alone. However, once each subassembly was locked into place, everything became reassuringly firm – surprisingly so.

4 closeup details as the Lego Lamborghini Countach  is being built

One part of the build that was particularly pleasing is the air intake that characteristically splits across the door. Attaching the door and seeing the shape fully realised in brick form was very satisfying. The plain black printed tile (6504278) is an effective choice to create the illusion that the cavity continues into the body of the car.

The windscreen that was introduced in 10300 Back To The Future Time Machine is recoloured in new Trans-Black and once again wrapped in a reassuring, protective film. It used to particularly good effect here and allows for the iconic hexagonal form of the Countach windshield to be almost perfectly represented. With the simple addition of some inverted slopes and bricks in black attached to the assembly that will form the front trunk of the car, the transition between the new Trans-Black and the opaque bricks is almost seamless.

Talking of the Time Machine, a similar solution to adding the door pillars has been employed here, creating the final look of the scissor doors. Some critics will surely bemoan the absence of the split screen on the side windows and as characteristic as they are, I wonder whether including them would have been more unsatisfactory? 

The new 1x4 slope is used ingeniously to help create the iconic rear light cluster:

4 views of the completed Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV

Perhaps my least favourite detail is the overhanging tiles on the air-intakes, but honestly that could be as simple as removing the 1x3 tile and rotating the 2x3 tile by 90º... or as complex as my desire for accuracy dictates. I don't doubt that there are a multitude of possibilities open to modifying it!

Satisfying sturdiness is present throughout the build and very little of the completed model feels unfinished or indeed as inaccurate as perhaps it seemed at first look. In fact, the final look of the Countach when viewed in my hands was particularly effective, even in white.

The rear wheels of the Countach are wide, and to portray that, the design team decided to "double up" wheels on the back to account for that. Following the recent reveal, I'm aware of some online criticism of this decision, but while a specific wide rear wheel would have been nice, I feel that the onward applications for such an element would have been limited, and the strain on budget may have resulted in other less palatable compromises to the model.


The model incorporates steering and opening scissor doors as discussed, but there's also an opening trunk and hood too. Many accurate details mean there is a lot to like about the finished model and it does seem to find a good balance between pleasing features, faithful looks and what is possible in LEGO System. 

Designer interview with Sven Franic

New Elementary and other Recognised LEGO® Fan Media were invited to a roundtable discussion with Senior Designer, Sven Franic where we were given the opportunity to ask about the LEGO® Icons 10337 Lamborghini Countach. The following has been edited for narrative flow and clarity.


The Countach went through a few design and technical changes during its 16-year production run; what was the decision process that led to choosing this specific version to be represented?
 
Sven Franic: We collaborated with Automobili Lamborghini, and talked about this a lot. There was some back and forth on whether we should do the first-generation Countach from the 1970s, which also opens maybe some different colour options, but then, with LEGO® Icons cars, we usually go for the most iconic thing that a casual consumer might recognise – and that is that (last) generation of Countach. It was the one that most people had as posters in their bedrooms, and it was when things got a little bit more crazy in the design world, so we just thought that the 5000 QV was the right choice for us.


Scissor doors were a must. Did the design go through other possible approaches or did you nail it pretty much straight off?
 
Sven: Our element designer Yoel Mazur was the one who built the first concept models. He also explored some of the colours. One of those concepts had a different mechanism for the doors, basically using plate hinges, but it was not stable enough. That took a lot of exploration, even before we entered what we call the ‘end phase’ of production – when we start actually refining the model from the concept to a final product – the doors were the number one priority to get right. "How do we do this? Are we going to actually need to make a new element for this?" So the door definitely took a lot of exploration.

 
Did you previously intend to produce a LEGO Icons Countach but the necessary elements didn't exist yet? 
 
Sven: After a concept is built, we evaluate which parts of the model are going to be the most difficult to achieve with what we have. Then, some models maybe don't need any (new) elements and some will need quite a few. It's also in talks with the IP (intellectual property) partner, in this case Automobili Lamborghini, and if they have a very strong emphasis on a certain part of the model, we ask them if this is something that we really need to nail because it's important for their brand representation, then that will also get prioritised. Something like the wheel can be one of those things where the IP can feel quite strongly about it. 


What about the other elements aside from the wheel?

I would say that the rear fenders or mudguards was a shape on the real car that doesn't really play very well with our (available) shapes and the LEGO® System, so we did explore some new elements. Of course, we can always make a very specific element that looks exactly like that, and then you also have an issue if it's a left and a right hand, and so on. Once it reaches too high a complexity, then we go into the other routes, where we abstract the shape a little bit. So we did make a new element for the mudguards, to create that asymmetrical arrow shape on the sides. We figured if we make a very universal element and keep it in the LEGO System by just introducing a smaller radius of an existing element, we could more closely mimic that shape rather than using the two of the same (existing radius) and make it too much of a (semi) circle at the back.


What was the decision process behind the choice of white for the main colour?
 
Sven: We tried a couple of colours for the Countach. It had a lot of options, like blue and green, and there were a lot more colours available for the earlier version. The later ones are usually silver, black or white. Silver is a problem for us, it’s not always an easy colour to replicate in LEGO form. As you know, we have gray, but white just worked better. It was the colour choice liked by most Countach car enthusiasts that we have internally, and Lamborghini agreed that it would be a good choice. Also, the Countach is featured in white in a lot of movies. But I do have a black version on my desk at work, with gold wheels, so we did do some exploration. 


Did the quantity of "element frames" available for recolours on this project affect the chosen colour?

Sven: How our element frames work is, for any colours that are not as commonly represented in our portfolio, it is a bit of a bigger investment to get a whole car coloured. Also, and this is purely my personal take, so don't take this as a general opinion for anyone else, but a lot of the colours we tried tended to look a bit toy-ish maybe, when they're in yellow or some other colours. I found that some don't actually work as well as you would imagine, and that you can't replicate them very well as the real car.

 
Was there any intention for this to be a “big brother” to display alongside to the LEGO® Speed Champions set 76908?
 
Sven: We made the same parallel with previous cars where we had two cars in the same colour. For some people it was a concern and some people thought it was actually pretty cool to have them both. I don't know, I personally didn't think much of it. Also, LEGO Speed Champions is a different experience and different age group, so I didn't think that they would compete with each other. I didn't work on that LEGO Speed Champions model. It's cool that they managed to do it at that scale.

 
Do you worry that it might attract comparisons to the alternative model for the 10295 Porsche 911 available on Rebrickable?
 
Sven: I'm actually excited that people would compare them. Maybe that's a good thing. I think there's definitely amazing stuff out there, but I don't follow every MOC online. In fact, I've tried to actually get LEGO models out of my Instagram feed so that I can have a different, personal life! I've seen some pretty cool models that are made with very limited resources and rebuilt from other vehicles, and I think that's amazing. But there's a difference between a MOC and a building experience that was designed, no?
 

The lack of stickers will probably be universally welcomed, but this is unusual for the larger scale LEGO Icons vehicles. Has there been a change of policy regarding printed elements or did you use up some of the frames allowance for the printed parts?
 
Sven: That always comes down to what we can do at what price point. As far as I know, we didn't have any change of policy. It's just that on this car, there was something that we could do, because a lot of the other projects were taking on colour changes that we were using. There are models where we have a stronger focus on whether we push further for decorated elements or stickers and it also depends how useful that created element is for other things. Are they intuitive to build with for other things if you’re building at home.

 
The Countach was revealed in 1971 and available to buy from ‘74, when only 50 vehicles were initially made available. Has this set been timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of those first 50 off the production line?
 
Sven: I asked our Marketing team – they said that it was not to coincide with the anniversary and as far as I know, Lamborghini actually celebrated that anniversary last year? But I don't actually know, I'm not very good with anniversaries, to be honest.

 
You also designed the 10300 Back To The Future Time Machine; another classic '80s wedge. Was there anything from that set that informed what you did with the Countach?
 
Sven: No, I don't think we referenced the The Time Machine except that it was one of the rare cases that we did the door pillars to open with the doors. It's not something we normally do, but Automobili Lamborghini thought that it was a very iconic thing for the Countach. When the doors were open, it had the large, bulky frame of the door which is specific to that car, and is unlike the Lamborghinis you see today, in that they’re frameless. I think that the Time Machine was also a vehicle that used a lot of straight subtle angles, and I remember learning that was quite difficult in LEGO System to to get those angles connected – and this model had a bit more of that.

 
What was the most challenging aspect of creating this set?
 
Sven: I think one of the biggest challenges was trying to get the door mechanism to work. I know we did something similar before on The Time Machine, but it's still quite different because the location of the hinges are a little more tricky here – not just placing them on the roof. Also, getting some of the angles right, because there are a lot that are not angles that we necessarily have predefined in LEGO elements already. Some things just weren’t possible. I think we had some people challenging us internally, like; “It would be so good if you had the pop-up lights in the front.” Of course, I agree it would be cool, but unfortunately there's (always) some things you have to just compromise on in favour of space and buildability. It’s structurally solid, so there simply is no space for that. 


What aspect are you most proud of?

Sven: I really like how the both the back and the front clicked together, that angle. I like that we managed to get the rear tail lights to fit in those. It’s also maybe a personal thing; I always prefer the rear of a car.


Our thanks to Sven and The LEGO Group for this interview. 

Conclusion

So, this Lambo turned my head as it sped past and I'm left spinning in the spiralling dust of its slipstream.

A view from above of Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000

There was a conflict of fandoms provoked within me by the LEGO Lamborghini Countach.

The old automotive enthusiast wanted greater contouring and a closer approximation of what makes the Countach more than just an '80s wedge. That part of me wanted more new parts to better represent the beloved object of my youthful desire, and it also wanted it produced in another colour.

The LEGO fan knew that necessary compromises had produced a very reasonable representation of the Lamborghini Countach at the established scale, and being overly critical based upon the colour choice was simply unfair.


View from the top rear of Lego set  Lamborghini Countach 5000

Having now built the set, I can appreciate the complexity of producing a stable interpretation of the subtle curves and deceptive tapers that are so characteristic of Marcello Gandini’s original design.


Top view of Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000

The choice of colour, as explained by designer Sven Franic, has led me to a much more favourable conclusion. 

I realised that some of my initial criticism of the set was born out of the image on the box front. Perhaps the forms of the LEGO version are just better viewed from a higher or more exciting angle?


The burning question is, can I recommend this set? It was a fun build, and contrary to my initial reactions, I think it's a fairly accurate interpretation of the Countach. Sadly, I still don't think there is enough here to justify the price. It's a wonderful model, with plenty to engage and delight while building, but I think it's likely that you'll be able to source the necessary additional new parts in time.


Side front three quarter view of Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000

Inevitably there will be a deal on this set somewhere. Usually we expect around 20% off non-exclusive sets and at that point, I could probably be encouraged to take a ride!

A parting shot, or two?

I nevertheless had a residual issue with the colour scheme, and figured it would be a relatively easy job to assuage that in Photoshop. So here's that respray I talked about in the introduction:

The Lego 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 recoloured to red, using Photoshop

I have to say, if I could have had this set back in 1985, it would have been a dream come true! A poster would have surely made a suitable addition to my bedroom wall.

I mentioned in the introduction to my parts review that I remembered building my own LEGO version of a Countach. I found photographic evidence of it too:

Various 1980s photographs, mostly out of focus, of a blue Lamborghini Countach made of relatively basic bricks

Here is my LEGO Countach, I think this would have been '85 or '86, using my available store of Classic Space blue bricks and photographed with my Halina 110 (not in fact a potato but still, certainly a contender for the world's worst parallax)!

If you had hoped for more “Petrolhead” or technical content from this review regarding the illustrious legacy of the Lamborghini, here is some further reading: Supercars.net, Autozine.org and Derivas & Ives.com. Each of these articles and resources are plastered with the best bedroom wall eye-candy the Lamborghini lover could wish for!

10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole
US$179.99/ £159.99/ 179.99€/ AU$299.99 
1506 parts
1 July 2024

Set 10337 on LEGO.com
The box of Lego Icons set 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000

READ MORE: Part 1 of this review covers the new pieces in 10337 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole

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10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review! I'm slightly disappointed (from pics, I don't won the set) in the shape and proportion as well. The whole windscreen should be moved forward roughly 1 stud, the front trunk area is just too long. When you look at pics of the real car, notice how the base of the windshield is nearly inline with the front wheel centerline.

    Somethings off a bit about the rear too. The rear overhang should be shorter than the front. Those black vents on top of the rear fender, and the whole rear end, should be closer to the rear wheel centerline by a stud or maybe half a stud. Capturing the shape of the tail light area is an achievement! But I can't help but feel they're too large, should be a half plate smaller at least, the rear end has more taper too it and the tail light surrounds aren't as huge in real life.

    (This BringATrailer auction is a good source of reference images.
    https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1987-lamborghini-countach-5000-qv-2/ )

    All in all it's a good looking set and in a color I can use the parts many other mocs. I don't own the Porsche, so I'll probably pick this up at some point. I appreciate your comments on the quality/fun/interestingness of the build, as that is part of what makes a set valuable to me.

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    1. And I'll add that while I understand the reasons for not adding a new wider tire element, I can't help but think on the McLaren MP4/4 and how there are two recent sets that perhaps could have both used such a tire...ah well can't have it all.

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    2. I still think the compromises look less problematic in person. I know that many fans won't agree but for me looks wise it's close enough - certainly for me to have my eye on potential recolours as the new parts appear!

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  2. Thank you for such a thorough and informative review, love the interview too! I have to say I really love it in red :) I wish that they had included a second set of the wheels in gold, similar to what they did with the Porsche 911 Icons set.

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  3. Thanks!
    I know, red would have been my 'go to' too.

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  4. I continue to prefer all colour, except this "Porsche 911" white !

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  5. Are there no new or rare parts to call out with photos and counts? For a New Elementary review I expected more, or a mention of a separate parts review to come. Did I miss something?

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    Replies
    1. The separate parts review is linked to at the beginning and end of the article.

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  6. P.S. The link to set 76908 in the interview is a broken link... two of the digits in the referral link were transposed.

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