In 1966, Lamborghini defined the ‘supercar’ with the Miura. Instantly an icon, the mid-engine high-velocity coupe put the nascent carmaker on the map for ground-breaking design and performance. The legendary Miura was always going to be a hard act to follow, so the extent to which its successor eclipsed the greatest of 1960’s 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 gear change and increased balance compared to the Miura. When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved spaceframe chassis and the standard 4.0-litre, 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 road holding and manoeuvrability.
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.
The Countach’s largest potential market, the USA, remained untapped until the arrival of the ‘emissions friendly’ LP500S in 1982. Whilst horsepower remained the same as the smaller engine, the updated 4,754cc unit delivered a welcome boost in torque. The ultimate iteration of the Countach debuted in 1985 as the Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole, named for its thunderous 5,167cc engine and new four-valves-per-cylinder heads. This 414bhp version was capable of an astonishing top speed of 186mph.
This particular example has clearly had a charmed life, visible from the excellent condition inside and out. The car has benefitted from an extensive engine rebuild during the previous vendor’s ownership to keep the car in fine working order. With just two former owners and having a mere 16,000kms covered from new, this Countach is a highly sought after version of the ultimate 80’s supercar.