Flashback to 1981 in your living room — you’re watching a Lamborghini Countach race the roads on screen. Flash-forward to January 31, 2014 at Borgman Ford Mazda — you’re looking at a hand-made, built from scratch, ’82 version of the same vehicle.
You might not get to meet Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett or Dom LeLuise at the featured attraction, but you will get to meet hand-fabricator Ken Imhoff.
Imhoff, 52-years old and a resident of Wisconsin, was inspired by the 1981 film Cannonball Run, a comedy film about the 70s Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash that featured the Lamborghini Countach.
As a child, Imhoff helped his father construct a 50s Model D Jaguar; he knew that in his lifetime, he would mimic the car-creating hobby his father had. The manufacturing engineer, shop fabricator, and performance car fanatic took his time deciding what car he wanted to build from scratch, simultaneously gathering the skill and passion needed to complete his 17-year project. When he watched Cannonball Run, Imhoff knew that the Countach was the car he would build from bottom up.
Building and revealing a Lamborghini
With the support of his family and approval of a contractor, Imhoff chose his basement as the location for his project, knowing that when he was finished he would bring the car through a wall. The decision removed bitter-cold winter workdays and allowed for anytime-access.
A Miller Syncrowave 250 TIG welder that Imhoff bought in 1991 is the star of the project, shaping the entire aluminum body of his car. Imhoff noted that the fabrication and shaping of the body took the most time; he constructed a buck, or a full-scale 3 dimensional wooden frame of the car, to perfect his measurements and increase accuracy.
The only parts not fabricated by Imhoff are the emblems, turn signals, front windshield and rear taillights. Imhoff custom built the wheels, personally perfected the paintjob, the exhaust system, and the full body. The vehicle parades a 351 Ford Cleveland Engine, ZF transaxle 5-speed Pantera transmission, and 515 HP power.
Upon completion in 2008, Imhoff welded a skid with wheels to easily maneuver the car in his basement. With the aid of an excavator, the basement wall was demolished and the car was suspended and pulled into sunlight.
For in depth details on the construction of the model, the tools used, and Imhoff’s aluminum fabrication tips, read Millerweld’s article here.
The event featuring Imhoff and the Lamborghini replica will be held at Borgman Ford Mazda on January 31, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and February 1, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A reception with refreshments will be held on February 1. Both days are free for all audiences.
Additionally, Borgman Ford Mazda is offering buy-one-get-one free tickets to the West Michigan Auto Show to a limited number of guests on a first-come, first-serve basis.