The sensation of the 1971 Geneva Salon, the Countach was styled by Marcello Gandini. Lamborghini's four-cam V12 was retained, though this time installed longitudinally. To achieve optimum weight distribution, designer Paolo Stanzini placed the five-speed gearbox ahead of the engine between the seats, and the differential, driven by a shaft passing through the sump, at the rear.
When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved chassis and a standard four-liter, instead of the prototype's five-liter engine. Even with the smaller engine producing "only" 375 bhp, the aerodynamically-efficient Countach could attain 170 mph and, naturally, came with racetrack roadholding to match. The car's potentially largest market-the USA-remained closed to it until the arrival of the "emissions friendly" LP500S in 1982.
Although no more powerful than before, the newcomer's 4754cc engine brought with it a useful increase in torque. The final development saw the engine enlarged to 5167cc and new four-valves-per-cylinder heads adopted for the Countach Quattrovalvole, the latter's 180 mph top speed making it-briefly-the world's fastest car. The right-hand drive LP500S pictured here has enjoyed just three owners from new. The car came into the current seller's hands in 1987 when it had recorded 35,000 km and underwent a thorough restoration in 1988-1989 at not inconsiderable expense, the mechanical work, which included a full engine rebuild, bodywork restoration, repaint, and full interior retrim.
Finished in its original Acapulco blue with magnolia/dark blue leather interior, the car is described by the seller as in "very good" condition in all respects. The tires are Pirelli, and the only listed deviation from factory specification is an Ansa sports exhaust system. The rear wing-unpainted and not fitted-accompanies the car. It was offered with a complete history file, including all restoration and subsequent service bills, and tailored car cover.
|1984 Lamborghini Countach
|Tune Up Cost:
|Chassis Number Location:
|Engine compartment, on the frame rail between the engine and trunk
|Engine Number Location:
|Between cylinder heads on two-valve engines
|Ferrari Boxer or Testarossa, Lotus Esprit SE, BMW M1
This Lamborghini Countach sold for $49,335 at the Brooks sale held at the London Motor Show in October. Taking into consideration that Countachs are not as desirable in the UK as they are here, this seems like fair UK market value. Had this been a left-hand drive example sold in the US, this would be considered a bit of a bargain.
I’m a firm believer that “driven” cars with some reasonable amount of mileage are better buys than “garage queens” with no miles. Driven cars tend not to create their own maladies from non-use. In any case, Countachs are not exotics for the faint of heart. They are nasty to use in reverse, they are not friendly to us big Americans who weigh more than 180 lb. and are over six-feet tall, and with DOT bumpers and wing they look downright silly, an absolute cartoon of what they started out to be. Maintenance and service fall under, “if you have to ask, please buy something else.” But . . . any young boy who gave a modicum of consideration to exotic cars in the ’70s and ’80s had a poster of a Countach in his room. This doesn’t hurt the current interest level Countachs are now enjoying; as automotive tastes evolve, it may actually be their final hour in the limelight.
The grown-up whippersnappers with the old posters are selling their “dot.com” options and buying the Countachs of their youth. LP400s are especially hot; they are rapidly becoming top-shelf collectibles because of their purity of line and low-volume production. After all, any car with a periscope has to be cool.
Bravo to the three English owners who actually drove this 500S, another example of how Europeans tend not to deify their cars and actually use them. A Countach on a proper country road would be a howl to drive and these three blokes must have had their share of howling. Although again, the reality check comes when the engine had to be rebuilt after just 20,000 miles of use; I can’t help but be suspicious of why. (May we see that history file again, please?) Not as fast as the LP400 but certainly quicker and cleaner looking than the later US cars, this 500S has great curb appeal and would settle in nicely into any Lambo enthusiasts’ garage.
Having been sorted for proper use, and with a proper rev-limited fitted, this car should give its new owner miles of smiles. For the money, there is a great deal of car here.-Steve Serio