The Countach debuted at the Geneva Auto Salon as a show car in 1971 and was introduced to the European market in 1974. In polite terms, the name Countach is Italian slang for “Good Lord!” or simply, “Wow!” This exclamation aptly describes most car lovers’ response on seeing the car for the first time. Wildly futuristic in the ’70s, the Countach was the work of Marcello Gandini at the Carrozzeria Nuccio Bertone.

First introduced as an LP 400, the Countach was equipped with a dual overhead-cam V12 engine that went through several changes. The models that followed were the LP 400 S, the LP 5000 S and the LP 5000 QV.

The final version of the Countach, the flamboyant 25th Anniversary model, adopted the larger, 48-valve (four per cylinder) version of the V12 engine. Displacement was just over five liters. The engine was fitted with Bosch fuel injection, replacing six two-barrel Weber carburetors. A total of 1,385 Countachs were produced over the full model run, which ended with this Anniversary model in 1989.

Built to celebrate Lamborghini’s 25th anniversary, this special edition featured restyled front air dam and air intakes, front and side skirting and wide wheel flares. There were more than 500 changes in total, including an upgraded Alpine sound system and immense Pirelli P-Zero 345/35 ZR15 tires. During the peak of the market in late 1989 and early 1990, Countachs like this one sold for more than $400,000.

The example shown here is a true “time
capsule” car, showing just a few delivery miles on the odometer. In virtually every respect, the car is as new, including its rare factory pearl red paint. In addition, EPA and DOT releases and California title are on file.

This amazing car offers a chance for the astute collector to travel back to a time when it was possible to buy this factory supercar brand new.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1989 Lamborghini Countach Anniversary
Years Produced:1974-88 (1989 for Anniversary)
Number Produced:$1,317 (68 Anniversary models)
Original List Price:$100,000
SCM Valuation:$80,000-$100,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,650-$2,200
Distributor Caps:$255
Chassis Number Location:Engine compartment, on the frame rail between the engine and trunk
Engine Number Location:Between the cylinder heads
Club Info:Lamborghini Club of America, One Northwood Drive, Suite 7, Orinda, CA 94563
Alternatives:Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Esprit, DeTomaso Pantera, BMW M1

This car was sold for $99,500 at RM’s Monterey sale on August 18, 2001, including buyer’s premium.

Children of every race, size, age and gender can pronounce Lamborghini, and recognize the Countach. Our editor tells me that when he attended, with Ms. Banzer, a Guggisberg auction in Geneva over a decade ago, her boys, then six and nine years old, had only one request—to sit in the white Countach Guggi was about to hawk.

Having just had the dubious honor of celebrating my 10th year hosting the exotic car display at the New England Auto Show, I was dumbfounded every time a pint-size boy or girl uttered LAM-BO-GEENY. There is a secret gene that lets rug rats know what Lambos are, and Prowlers and Vipers as well. (Let’s hope the straight-laced, teutonic masters of Chrysler manage to figure out that minivans may bolster sales figures, but “halo cars” are what get the next generation buzzing.)

In the ’80s, no teenager’s bedroom was complete without posters of Farrah Fawcett and of a Lamborghini Countach, each badly thumbtacked to the wall in a manner guaranteed to drive wallpaper-conscious mothers to distraction.

In grown-up circles, Countachs had their moment in the sun in 1989-90. I recall Monterey-auction meister Rick Cole proclaiming, as a 25th Anniversary Countach crossed the block at the DoubleTree Hotel, his famous maxim, “You can never pay too much, you can only buy too soon.” Strangely enough, Mr. Cole seemed to own half or three-quarters or eleven-tenths of the 68 Anniversary Countachs produced, and sold them for astronomical amounts. What a coincidence.

The current Countach market is almost a non-market. Several dealers I have spoken to are unwilling to write a check to stock one. Hence, retail and wholesale are really the same number. I’ve seen cars with 20,000 miles offered in the $65k range. This car, in as-new condition, was a fair-enough deal at $99,500. However, if the new owner actually wants to use the car, he should have a thorough inspection and major service performed first. Age and non-use are enemies of things like rubber seals and electrical connections. The catalytic converters on Countachs have been known to cause problems as well; there’s nothing like a cat fire that turns your Lambo into a marshmallow-toaster to ruin your day.

As a future invesment? You never know. It’s been suggested to me by more than one or two enthusiasts that these cars have not hit their stride in collectibility, and that ten years from now they will emerge as first-tier collectibles. Then again, by then South Beach may go back to the retirees, and Farrah Fawcett will be leading aerobics classes in assisted-living homes.—Steve Serio

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