In 1966, Lamborghini created what many people consider to be the first supercar with the Miura. Instantly an icon, the mid-engine high-velocity coupe put the nascent carmaker on the map for groundbreaking design and performance. The Miura was always going to be a hard act to follow, so the extent to which its successor eclipsed the greatest of 1960s supercars came as something of a shock to all. The sensation of the 1971 Geneva Salon, the Countach was styled, like its predecessor, by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini. Drawing from his revolutionary Lancia Stratos Zero concept the year before, Gandini designed the Countach as an angular wedge with crisp lines and dramatic angles. The production version would not be seen for another two years, with deliveries commencing in 1974.
Lamborghini employed the Miura’s fantastic four-cam V12 engine for the Countach, mounted longitudinally behind the cabin. To achieve optimum weight distribution, designer Paolo Stanzani 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. The result was a delightful gearchange and a better-balanced car than the Miura. When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved spaceframe chassis and the standard 4.0-liter, instead of the prototype’s 5.0-litre, engine. Even with the smaller engine producing ‘only’ 370bhp, the lightweight Countach could attain 170mph and, as one would expect, offered incredible roadholding and maneuverability.
The first upgrades appeared in 1978 as the ‘LP400S’, with the addition of flared wheel arches to accommodate massive 345mm rear tires for increased grip and stability. A large rear aerofoil became available that further accentuated the outrageous styling of the Countach and was, unsurprisingly, the choice of most customers.
In 1985 the engine design evolved again from the LP5000S, as it was bored and stroked to 5167 cc and given four valves per cylinder – quattrovalvole in Italian, hence the model’s name, Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole or 5000 QV in short. The carburetors were moved from the sides to the top of the engine for better breathing – unfortunately this created a hump on the engine deck, reducing the already poor rear visibility to almost nothing. Some body panels were also replaced by Kevlar. In later versions of the engine, the carburetors were replaced with fuel injection.
Although this change was the most notable on the exterior, the most prominent change under the hood was the introduction of fuel injection, with the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, providing 414 bhp, rather than the six Weber carburetors providing 455 bhp used in the previous carbureted models.
This 5000 QV comes in a striking and period colour of red with a complementary black interior. Delivered new to France, the car was meticulously looked after and driven sparingly before being imported to Japan in 2004 by the president of the Japanese Countach owners club. The car underwent a full restoration before being driven just 3000km between 2004 and 2015 when it was brought back to Europe by its most recent owner.
Having covered just 37,629km from new this car is described as being in excellent condition throughout. One of just 610 QVs produced (one of 350 with 6 Weber Carburetors) and arguably ‘The’ poster car of the last forty years, there is no better time to buy into the Lamborghini legacy with this timeless classic.