The Lamborghini Countach Detailing Work That Required Hands-On Experts

“It’s a poster car, my dream car,” said Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire while standing over his dusty 1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV with professional detailer, Larry Kosilla with Ammo NYC. “It’s perfect, no accidents, and it’s original with 18,000 miles on the clock”.

The red and tan Lambo is the anniversary model which marks 25 years of Countach production, one of only 607. Packing a 5.3 liter V12, it’s one of the fastest variants too with a top speed of 185 mph.

The guys do a quick initial inspection of the supercar, which many believe is the first real supercar. It has some minor toasting and cracking on the engine bonnet and on the spoiler, but apart from that it’s just dusty from where it’s been sitting in Matt’s LA garage amongst his multi-million dollar collection.

They decide to do a preservation detail on the car, which means just one wash and one machine polish. Going in with a heavy-duty clean on this car is too risky, the paint-work is too thin. Larry introduces the team to Matt, three guys that he’s brought in to help with the delicate clean, and their presence helps to settle Matt’s nerves.

“I want to keep it looking good, so I can keep having fun with it” says a smiling but slightly nervous Matt, as he hands over the keys to the team.

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The Big Clean: Matt Farah’s Lamborghini Countach

With strict regulations on water usage, the team lay a reclamation mat on the ground outside Matt’s garage to begin phase one of the big clean. They start at the bottom and work their way up. First applying boost and foam to the sub-frame and then to the wheel arches to shift any heavy grime. Then they pressure wash the chemicals off.

The team move on to the wheels. They apply wheel cleaner to the Countach’s gold magnesium ‘phone dial’ rims and APC to its 345 series 15 tires. Then they pressure wash them down.

Cleaning This Lambo Supercar Takes Careful Work

1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV
via YouTube (AMMO NYC)

The next step is to wash the body. They carefully spray the body-work with deionized water, then they cover it in foam, working in the creases with a small detailing brush. After hosing it down with clean water they use a leaf blower and micro-fiber cloths to dry it off. The car is now ready for a more detailed inspection.

Back inside the garage the four pros carefully inspect the Countach’s paintwork, and put together a game plan for phase two. The paintwork has lots of swirls on it, and it looks quite badly dried out. But their biggest concern is the panel edges. If they apply buffing tools to the edges where the paint is particularly dry and brittle, it’ll pull the paint off.

Cleaning Challenge: The Countach’s Factory Red Paint

1988 Lamborghini Countach
via YouTube (AMMO NYC)

Matt’s Countach only has a single stage of factory red paint that’s paper thin in some areas, so they have to doubly careful. Every single edge on the car must be carefully polished by hand using an M110 micro-fiber cloth, which is hard, finger-numbing work. “This job’s gone from a lot of work to an insane amount of work” says Larry.

Larry likens the process to painting a room – you do the edge work with a small brush first, then you go in with a big roller. They arduously hand-polish each edge, leaving space on the smaller panels for the small buffer tool. And as they start buffing they discover that a number of panels on the Lambo have had additional paint applied sometime in the past.

To get the best finish they use the ‘Mow Down’ technique, which involves machine-polishing small sections at a time, carefully removing defects, using quick and precise movements to remove all the dead paint.

Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV polish
via YouTube (AMMO NYC)

After covering the smaller areas, they use bigger machines for the larger panels. And they give some great tips on what types of pads are best to use, and how to avoid some common pitfalls, like scouring, which can ruin paintwork.

The whole buffing process takes eight hours. And Larry gives a really neat tip on how to get rid of unwanted paint residue. When working on a car like this you get through a lot of cleaning pads. And those pads collect up a lot of paint dust, which can be a nightmare, especially if it lands on a bunch of other supercars like the ones in Matt’s garage. So Larry shows us three possible dispensing options, ranging from no-cost to heavy-duty workshop cost.

For the final phase of the mammoth clean they tape over any sensitive areas and give it a final buff over. Taking real care to ensure that each section of the Lambo is evenly covered for a smooth all over finish. And Larry provides some useful tips on how to best hold the tools for the best results.

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One Happy Customer

1988 Lamborghini Countach
via YouTube (AMMO NYC)

The next day they pull the car out of the garage and into the sunshine. And we get to see the finished product in all its glory. It looks absolutely superb. The Countach looks like it’s fresh from the showroom, its panels look like mirrors. Matt looks really happy, as he takes Larry for a drive in the LA hills. And we get to see how cool the car really looks on the open road.

“This car is ridiculously shiny. When you really clean a car it drives a little happier,” Matt says with a beaming smile, as they blast along a quiet country road. And strangely, he’s right. A bright shiny car does somehow give the false perception that it runs better when clean. “What am I going to do about keeping it clean?” asks Matt. “Don’t touch it” advises Larry with a huge smile, before telling him to “Just power-wash it down and wipe it with a damp micro-fiber towel”.

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