Home / Social media / News / The Cannonball Run movie and the Lamborghini Countach LP 400 S celebrate a milestone anniversary.


In 1981 when the cult classic film The Cannonball Run was released, this here writer was just 3 years old, but weirdly I remember the movie. I’m not sure if I watched it when I was 3, or if I saw it a few years later, I don’t have any family left that can tell me. What I do know is that I watched the movie multiple times and it started a fascination with cars and speed. The movie stood the test of time too, I remember watching it with a bunch of mates as a teen - and at that age, the best part of the movie was the Lamborghini Countach and its pair of drivers, Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman. The movie had a decent storyline to it - a cross-country race with a motley crew of bizarre characters. In The Cannonball Run, you'll meet Burt Reynolds, rocking a moustache that could win its own awards, and Dom DeLuise, who transforms into a caped crusader called "Captain Chaos" whenever the mood strikes - and it strikes often. This ragtag band of racers includes the aforementioned Lamborghini-driving duo - in skintight jumpsuits. See why teen me liked it? Also a washed-up drunk played by Dean Martin, and a very convincing fake priest. It was also the first time seeing action comedy star Jackie Chan in a movie, he piloted a Subaru full of tech. The movie would probably piss off the woke crowds these days, it’s full of racial stereotypes. The goal? To travel across the U.S. from Connecticut to California in the most ridiculous, fastest ways possible, dodging the long arm of the law and competing for ultimate bragging rights. The plot is thinner than a stance tyre, but who cares? It’s all about the fun, crashes, and over-the-top antics. Think of it as "Wacky Races" meets "Smokey and the Bandit," with a sprinkle of slapstick chaos. The best part - it was based on an actual cross-country race from back in the day. The list of cars was impressive, there were things like a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, an Aston Martin DB5, a Ferrari 308 GTS, a Mercedes 280 SEL and a bunch of American cars. The star was undoubtedly the Lamborghini Countach LP 400 S that won the race. So the movie was released on June 19, 1981, and that means it just celebrated its 43rd anniversary along with the car’s 45th anniversary. 

For the first time since the early 80s, the Countach and its star drivers met up at a celebration with Automobili Lamborghini. The Countach LP 400 S was produced forty-five years ago in November 1979 and featured a Nero exterior and Senape interior, the car was shipped to the then SEA dealership in Rome and, from there, it was sold directly in the US, ending up in Florida. The owner was a friend of the movie’s director and was signed on to begin the legend that led it to capture a place in American history. For the movie, the car was given a wing and a pair of full-beam headlights on the nose, a spoiler, three antennas and 12 exhaust pipes in back, along with two supplementary fake instruments in front of the passenger’s seat. After the filming ended, the Countach was left in movie guise and kept like that. In 2009, the car was bought by Jeff Ippoliti, a New York enthusiast living in Florida who. As a boy, when watching the opening scene of the movie in 1981, he never imagined that he would one day own the very same car. “I had always been crazy about cars,” Ippoliti recalled, “but the opening of the movie was the first time I got to see and hear the Countach in motion, and I was captivated! I didn’t see it in person for the first time until twenty-six years later, and it took me another eighteen months of negotiations before I managed to take it home.”  

Stars Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman hadn’t met up since the filming, so seeing them together along with the car is something quite special. “I immediately thought it was beautiful, simply beautiful, and it still is,” said Adrienne Barbeau a.k.a Marcie Thatcher. “We had the best car and it was definitely the most beautiful of all,” added Tara Buckman a.k.a Jill Rivers. Barbeau said, “I think that the Countach has the look of a winner, none of the others could have won. They were not in its league. And then the opening scene, with that soundtrack and the sight of the Countach racing along and playing hide-and-seek with the police car. Only the Countach could achieve an effect like that.”

In answer to the question of whether they ever would have expected the movie to arrive at the legendary status that surrounds it today, they both said, “Never, not even for a second, and not just us. No one during the filming would have expected this incredible, long-lasting success!”

“I had never realized how successful the movie was until when people started to ask me for my autograph. Still today,” Barbeau added, “in spite of my success as an actress in horror movies and playing Cat Woman in the Batman movie, people ask me above all to autograph Countach model cars.”

“It’s impossible for me, too, to remember how many times I signed a photo or a model car of the Countach!,” Buckman added.

Asking about their favourite scenes, the duo replied: “The one where Tara gets out of the car and sprays an X on the road sign,” said Barbeau. For Tara Buckman it was, “the opening scene, with the police car chasing the Countach. There are lots of movies with great opening scenes, but this is definitely one of the best ever.”   

When asked how they thought this movie impacted American culture and society, Barbeau replied, “Everyone knows it. And everyone knows this Lamborghini.” “Not only that. Everyone also knows the two girls in the Lamborghini. We are inextricably tied to that role,” Buckman added.

Take a look at the YouTube video that brings back heaps of nostalgia as it celebrates an amazing 43rd anniversary along with the star car's 45th anniversary. If you're in your 40s, this car movie will have definitely made an impact on you: “The Cannonball Run” Countach LP 400 S turns 45 | Lamborghini

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