The Lambo on the Wall

Men of my age will surely recognize this famous poster with the iconic Lamborghini Countach.  And recall many similar others with much more risque subject matter.  There is a back story for everything, and to learn the one about this car,  you can read it here:


If you want to see the images below at full screen size, you can zoom in your browser until the image captions appear below the image and not to the left.

My friend, Eddie Okado, is from Yokohama, Japan and also is the proud owner of the original Walter Wolf Countach. This car is the prototype that set the example of how all later Countachs would appear and be equipped.  Eddie was prepared to spend the winter in Toronto visiting his sister so he had the car shipped to Vancouver and drove it across the country.  He is also planning to attend the Amelia Island Concours in Florida the following Spring where Lamborghini is the featured marque and his car will be immensely popular.   Here he’s visiting my Toronto home where he’s parked one spot over from my two reserved spots where my vintage Mazda Rx7 is sitting.  OM-1 and Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens.
After a few weeks, I can see Eddie is getting a little stir crazy. After all, Toronto is no Tokyo.  I take him for the six hour dinner service at Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto Restaurant in the Japanese Cultural Centre and he cannot believe a restaurant of that calibre can exist outside of Japan.   Then I suggest that to survive the winter, he needs to embrace it.  The highways were bare and dry and the temperatures warm enough to risk driving on his summer tires as we spent the day skiing just north of Toronto.  Even the parking lot was not a problem.   Except he wouldn’t let me drive.  OM-1 and Leica 15mm f/1.7 lens.


Ok, you know me.  I can spin a good story but this is a photography blog and these are all examples of forced perspective photography using a 1:8 scale DeAgostini model of the actual Walter Wolf Countach.  It is absolutely detailed and accurate.  The lack of a front license plate is probably the only glaring error since cars in Japan require one.  And Eddie Okado does indeed own this very car.  I just don’t personally know him.

I begin by taking an image of a parking space in my building.
Since I couldn’t take the image from directly overhead, I had to correct for perspective and had it printed out at my local Staples in a 1:8 scale, to match my Countach model.
The printed image overhangs my wooden tripod base slightly which makes blending away the giveaway structures and perimeters easier in post processing with Photoshop. After aligning the tripod until it aligns with the actual parking space, I’m ready to pose the Countach model.
The working headlights works to sell the illusion, but the unusually large 1:8 scale means details like the rear engine bay cover release and the small rear luggage compartment release are detailed on the driver’s door jamb. Even when pixel peeping at 100% scale, the release levers look real.  Including the speaker grill.  And Carillo on the driving lights and Campagnolo on the wheels.    It is important to remove dust with a can of compressed air or a microfibre cloth because the size of the dust particles will appear too large.
I had to build a layer of snow onto my platform and thin it out to make it match the parking lot compressed snow texture. The ski conditions were excellent but unfortunately it has been many years since I’ve skied and now I’m too out of shape. And that was at Whistler/Blackcomb in BC,  Cypress and Grouse in North Vancouver,  Mount Hood in Oregon and Mount Tremblant in Quebec so real mountains, not the small manufactured hills in Ontario.
To further the illusion, I’m using some vintage skis and poles from a 1970s era GI Joe when action figures used to be 1:6 scale and not the tiny ones they are today. A 1:10 scale Yakima roof rack rounds out the illusion and the raised door prevents too much scrutiny.
This early rendition has the shadow of the car too small as compared to the other cars in the parking lot. Part of the problem is my platform is too narrow to capture the full shadow of a low winter’s Sun, but I suspect the small size of the model fails to capture a convincing shadow anyway.
Using a desk lamp aimed from the altitude and direction of the morning sun, I can see what the shadow should look like and duplicate it post processing.


Admit it.  At first glance, the top two images at the beginning of the blog were convincing.   Simply Photoshopping an image into a new background is never that convincing, no matter how carefully it’s done.   The reflections of lights and nearby objects is often wrong or missing.  The perspectives may not match up.  And where can you get an image of a Countach with a roof rack and skies.  Is there even a Countach that exists with a roof rack?

Is there a point to these creations.  I’d like to think that anything I do has a purpose, even a facile one.   In this case, it is perhaps to indulge a certain male fantasy of mine.  If I had a Countach, I would in fact go skiing with it.  I’m sure the first owners in the 1970s and 80s went skiing in the Alps with their Countachs.   In fact the driving distance from Bologna to the Swiss Alps is shorter than from Toronto to Mount Tremblant in Quebec.  They are cars and meant to be driven and enjoyed as cars.  It is only today that people venerate them as objet d’arts to be kept locked away in a garage because they are now investments with returns better than stocks and bonds.  This is a direct consequence of the growing income inequality particularly evident in the US.  As the rich get even richer, they need to find new places to stash their money.

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