NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2016

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1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S

Lot No.: 626

Registration: TBA
Chassis Number: 1121298
Engine Number: TBA
Number of cylinders: 12
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Sold for (£): Unsold

Designing a successor to the delicious Lamborghini Miura was something of a challenge for Marcello Gandini. However, with the arrival of the 'Countach' in 1971, he demonstrated to the world that his ability to create automotive drama was alive and well. In fact, the word 'Countach' is Piedmontese slang for something that visually shocks, and has no direct translation but 'Wow' is probably the most polite.

The first Countach appeared at the Geneva Show in 1971-the same year that 'Hot Pants' appeared on our city streets - with a similar ability to distract. Big, bright and brash like the rest of the 70s, the Countach was to remain in production, through various iterations for 15 years. With hindsight, it's clear that the car's 'flying wedge' design, sloping snout that appeared to descend directly from the windscreen and innovative 'scissor doors' became a template for every 'supercar' that followed. The original, beautifully clean profile was gradually bedecked with 'wings and things' as fashions changed over the years and frequent small mechanical changes were often the result of customer input in their capacity as 'unwitting development engineers'.

In 1977, the first major update of the Countach, the LP400 S, was prompted by the arrival of Pirelli's P7 tyre which, when mounted on cast alloy Campagnolo Bravo rims, dramatically improved the car's dynamics. The surrounding bodywork, arches and spoilers all grew in size and drama. With the new wheels came larger (11") discs and shock absorbers, and the suspension geometry was redesigned to suit. Power and torque from the 3,929cc, V12 were increased (370 bhp/ 9,500 rpm and 267lbft/ 5,500 rpm). In addition, a rear wing could now be ordered, which was a $5,000 optional extra.

The LP 400 S was the final development before the later LP 500 S, 5000 Quattrovalvole and the 25th Anniversary cars. The cockpit was a little more spacious and the ride height was raised a tad, however the neater (pre-US regs) front and rear bumpers and the classic 'telephone dial' wheels were retained.

This left-hand drive 1981 Lamborghini LP400 S is a series II example that is 1 of just 105 cars built by the factory. It was purchased by our vendor from Italy in 2014 and has just completed a superb restoration to original specification. A three owner car, it is finished in the evocative colour combination of Bianco with red leather interior and black alcantara dash, the quality of this recent work must be seen to be fully understood.

The paintwork is finished to a very high standard and the finish to the cabin shows that no expense has been spared in returning this wild bull to its former glory. Upon close inspection the body work is straight and true with superb shut-lines and it is sure to impress even the most critical of eyes.

Following the completion of the bodywork and trim, this Countach was delivered to marque experts Keys Motorsport Ltd at Silverstone. They removed the engine and re-commissioned the clutch, whilst checked over the car for any perishable items that required replacing. The engine bay has been fully detailed and put together with superb attention to detail. A full condition report is available to prospective bidders prior to the auction but they conclude that this is a very original example that has covered very few miles on the open road. The odometer reading of just 25,899 kilometres is believed to be genuine, but can not be substantiated by the history file.

Supplied with a NOVA reference confirming no taxes or duties are owed on this vehicle, the history file contains its original sales brochure, book pack, tools, some Italian paperwork and bills and receipts for recent work completed. This extremely rare Lamborghini has been the subject of significant recent expenditure and has been fully checked over by one of the leading experts in the country.

We can think of no Italian supercar that greater epitomises its era than the mighty Countach. The LP400 S models have a purity that the later cars simply lack. As the wheel arches and panels expanded ever wider into the late 1980s, these early cars remained true to the original Gandini design. With LP400 ‘Periscopio' models hitting the heights in recent years, logic suggests these slightly later ‘S' models represent superb value in comparison.