A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
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 seventies, 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, with a 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 LP400S, was prompted by the arrival of Pirelli's P7 tyre which, when mounted on cast alloy Campagnolo Bravo rims (15x8.5" and 15x12") 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) and a rear wing, which was about the size of Wales was a $5,000 optional extra. It's not a secret that the wing added weight and drag and did nothing for downforce but, hey, if you've got it, flaunt it. The Countach'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 4,754cc engine brought with it a useful increase in torque. The final development saw the engine enlarged to 5,167cc and new 'four-valves-per-cylinder' heads adopted for the Countach Quattrovalvole in 1985, the latter's 300km/h (186mph) top speed making it, at the time, the world's fastest car. This is a rare, right-hand drive, UK-delivered LP500S, only 25 of which were made. Chassis number '12550' was tested by 'Car' magazine whilst it was owned by racing driver, demolition contractor, Lamborghini aficionado, and colourful character, Barry Robinson, and carried the registration 'BR 33'. A copy of the article, which appeared in Car's April 1984 edition, is with the car. The Lamborghini's first owner, Robinson had the engine blueprinted and its output was estimated by the factory at around 425bhp, some 50 horsepower more than standard. On the 15th of October, 1983, Barry Robinson and his co-driver, the articulate and urbane, Alex Postan set a series of twelve British speed and endurance records for 'Production Cars' with this Countach, lapping Vauxhall's Millbrook test track at 180mph for extended periods. This car was acquired by its present keeper in mid-2014 and we understand that it had been in storage for the previous 10 years, and there are one or two invoices in the file from that period. Since his purchase in July 2014, our vendor has invested heavily returning this Lamborghini to the glorious condition in which you find it today. There are a number of invoices relating to remedying minor mechanical ailments, new door glass and windscreen, tyres, battery etc. and in June 2016 the car was treated to a glass-out /trim-out respray. All these detailed invoices are in the car's history file, along with the MOT Certificate, magazine articles, manuals, service records, and information about the RAC Speed Records. This fabulous LP500S has a lot going for it; it is one of only 25 or possibly fewer, it's in stunning condition having been spared no expense during the last two years, and it was the holder of 12 British Outright Speed records in 1983. A unique opportunity.