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Lamborghini Countach: Buying guide and review (1974-1990)

Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach interior (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach engine (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach interior (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach badge (Image: Tom Salt)
Even though it’s more than 40 years since the Countach design study made its debut, and with a whole raft of supercars appearing in the meantime, nothing has dulled the impact of perhaps the most brutal car design ever. While the Miura before it was lithe and beautiful, and its successors’ lines are somehow softer yet aggressive, the Countach’s styling is unspeakably savage. 
 
If you’re Piedmontese, the name says it all: Countach! is the exclamation of shock, with no direct translation, uttered by Nuccio Bertone when he first saw the prototype for the Miura replacement. Believe it or not, the Lamborghini Countach was even more outlandish in prototype form than in production guise, and his stunned reaction upon seeing this early design study is completely understandable. The Countach didn’t just move the goalposts, it dispensed with them altogether. 
 
It’s not just the aesthetics that are brutal though; the driving experience can be enough to knock you for six too. The Countach was never meant to be a compromising car, but it was astonishingly focused in terms of dynamics. Performance was always key, whether it was acceleration, cornering, braking or handling. Pirelli even came up with its ultimate performance tyre, the P7, so the Countach could become even more extreme. 
 
It’s now more than two decades since the last Countach was built and, for a while, values were surprisingly low. In recent years they’ve started to climb sharply, though, with purchase costs often only the tip of the iceberg. That’s because these cars can prove fragile, while replacement parts are often eye-wateringly costly. 
 
Which one to buy? 
 
Lamborghini kept the Countach in production for a long time, and it went through a number of various evolutions. The very first LP400 model is the purest and most valuable of all Countach variants. Known as the Perescopo (thanks to the spy hole in the roof to aid rear visibility), the narrow tyres, lighter bodywork and free-revving engine make this arguably the sweetest car to drive. These are the Countaches for purists who probably won’t use the car very much.
 
The LP400S came along in 1978, with wide arches and new low-profile Pirelli P7 tyres. It also received updated suspension and much better brakes, giving the Countach much higher cornering limits. Due to the new bodywork, top-end performance was actually blunted. 
 
This was remedied in 1982 with the launch of the LP500S, bringing in a much torquier 4754cc engine along with revised gearing. This car is much easier to drive quickly, making a lot more use of the wider low-profile rubber. The huge rear spoiler was also an (unofficial) factory option at this point. 
 
1985 saw the introduction of what many (including Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni) consider to be the ultimate incarnation of the Countach, the 5000 QV. This car brought in four-valve cylinder heads, and an enlarged 5.2-litre engine capacity to unleash a Ferrari-beating 450bhp. 
 
This then morphed into the Anniversary model for 1988, which brought in a new look. Some love the looks, while other hate it, but it’s arguably the best version to actually live with due to the uprated cooling system, although it’s almost identical to the QV behind the wheel. 
 
The Countach is highly prized in North America and mainland Europe – especially in Germany. Asking prices for left-hand-drive cars are much higher there, with right-hand-drive examples more affordable as they’re sought after only in the UK. There are few early cars in the UK but these are the ones that are globally the most collectable. 
 
Performance and spec
 
Engine V12, 5167cc 
Power 449bhp @ 7000rpm 
Torque 464lb ft @ 5200rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual
0-62mph 4.8secs
Top speed 185mph
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2500mm
Length 4200mm
Width 2000mm
Height 1070mm
Kerb weight 1490kg
 
Common problems
 
• The Countach’s V12 is one of the all-time great powerplants, and it’s pretty much bombproof. While it will take hard use in its stride, there’s a limit to how much abuse it can take. Poorly maintained engines don’t last long, so look for evidence of servicing over the years. 

• The valve clearances should be checked every 15,000 miles, but as it’s a two-day job (the carbs have to be removed) it’s one that’s often overlooked. 

• The V12 prefers semi-synthetic lubricants. Even though the sump holds 16 litres, oil consumption shouldn’t be high, so once the fluid has been renewed it shouldn’t need to be topped up much between 6000-mile changes. 

• There are two oil pipes that run from the radiator at the front to the engine behind the cabin, via the sills. These pipes become porous with age, allowing lubricant to leak onto the right-hand sill. Check for an oily sill and/or puddles of lubricant under the car.  

• Misfires are common once an engine bay has been allowed to get damp. It’s usually down to the electronic ignition system, with the Marelli module fitted to 4.8- and 5.2-litre cars a particular problem. Many examples have had a modern replacement by now; if you find a car that’s still got the original system fitted, budget for a new one. 

• If you’re looking at a 24-valve model, ensure the collar that locates the oil filter paper element is in place. Without it, the element won’t sit properly, allowing dirty oil to bypass it, ultimately ensuring the crankshaft journals are damaged. Once this happens you may get away with machining but you might need a new crankshaft at £4500. 

• If a full engine rebuild is needed, including major bottom-end work, the bill could easily top £12,000. 

• The gearbox is strong and unlikely to need attention, but listen out for rumbling that implies bearings are on their way out. While no Countach transmission is quiet as such, one that’s about to self-destruct will be obvious. 

• Major whining means the gears have worn, and replacing these, or the bearings, will mean a major gearbox rebuild, which can cost up to £8000. 

• It’s possible to eke up to 40,000 miles out of a clutch, but this isn’t common. Drive the car as Lamborghini intended and you’ll be doing well to get 20,000 miles out of a clutch.

• Stub axles can fracture through ageing and hard use. Cars used regularly on track days are most likely to be affected, and especially on the nearside.

• Rear hubs can also break if the wheels have been heavily kerbed, but they can usually be welded up at £500 or so per side. 

• The suspension is potentially expensive to rebuild – largely because there are eight rose joints on each side at the rear. The handling deteriorates sharply once wear occurs. 

• Rattly suspension often points to worn rose joints, but it can be hard working out which end of the car the noises are emanating from. 

• Your final suspension check should be that the tie rods aren’t bent or corroded. The car is often strapped down or jacked up using these, but they’re not designed for that. If bent, they can often be straightened. 

• The rear discs have separate handbrake calipers, which are prone to seizing. Freeing them off is easy enough but it’s worth checking that the car will roll when the handbrake is released. 

• All body panels are available to revive even the most tired Countach. Carrera Sport remanufactures some panels, while the factory offers just about anything you might need for a full restoration. 

• There’s a good chance some bodywork repairs will be needed, unless the car has been pampered from new or restored already. 

• At the core of the Countach is a spaceframe chassis, over which are fitted hand-beaten alloy panels. The headlamp pods are steel, though, as are the roof panels. 

• Because the Countach was hand-built, no two bodyshells are exactly alike, so fitting replacement panels is a skilled task. 

• Corrosion can strike anywhere, but the areas most prone to giving problems are the trailing edges of the front wings, where a steel former is incorporated. 

• The glassfibre mouldings on the sills and wheelarches of later cars can hide corrosion, but this is likely only if the car has been used in salty conditions – in which case the rest of the body will also be the worse for wear. 

• Accident damage is as likely as corrosion, so look for ripples in the panelwork or indications of filler. Shutlines should be tight and even, and if panels don’t line up it’s likely that the car has been shunted at some point. 

• Working air-con is essential if you’re not to fry in hot weather. Replacing the various nylon hoses is £750, while for similar money a modern compressor can be installed as well. 

• The dashboard instrumentation and switchgear are reliable and all available, while there isn’t much exterior trim to worry about. Retrimming the seats and interior is easy enough. 

• Check that the windscreen is intact; they’re prone to cracking and replacements, which can be very costly, aren’t always available. 
 
Model history
 
1971: Countach makes its debut in prototype form at the Geneva Salon, with a 4971cc V12.
1972: Decision is made to put the Countach into production.
1973: Pre-production Countach is shown at the Geneva Salon.
1974: First production-ready Countach is shown, at the Geneva Salon. The first cars are then delivered in the summer. 150 LP400s are built. 
1978: LP400S arrives, Pirelli P7 tyres and revised suspension. Periscope roof disappears. 466 are made. 
1980: Smaller carbs (40DCOE Webers) to improve driveability. Power is cut to a claimed 353bhp. 
1982: LP500S goes on sale, with 4754cc V12 and 45DCOE carbs, raising power back to 375bhp. 
1985: Quattrovalvole edition is introduced as LP500S QV. 5167cc powerplant gives 455bhp, with a raised engine cover, wider front tyres and suspension geometry changes. 459 LP500s are made, in various forms. 
1988: Anniversary Countach goes on sale, celebrating 25 years of Lamborghini. 
1990: Final Countach leaves the line, after 1997 have been made.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.lamborghiniclub.co.uk
• www.lamborghiniregistry.com
• www.lamborghini-talk.com
• www.eurospares.co.uk
 
Summary and prices

For visual drama, no car can match a Countach, whether it’s the earlier, purer design, or the later, bespoilered edition. There are also few cars that can match the financial drama if major work is needed. The key is to speak to the main specialists, who will know about the best models out there; these cars are rare enough for individual examples to be well known by those in the trade. 
 
Also, don’t wade in without seeing plenty of evidence of major expenditure over as long a period as possible. You can’t run a Countach cheaply, so insist on seeing all the bills to prove the car has been maintained properly, by someone who knows what they’re doing. There are good and bad examples out there, in equal measure. Find one of the former and you’ll find that the Countach is as good to own as it is to look at.
 
Values have been rising quickly over the last few years, but it’s the early cars that are the real hot property. Today, the most valuable is the earliest Periscopo, which can sell for £700,000-£1,000,000, while a regular LP400 will sell for £300,000-£500,000. The wide-bodied LP400S and LP500S is considerably more affordableranging from £200,000-£300,000, with the QV models usually costing around £20k-£30k more.
Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach interior (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach engine (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach interior (Image: Tom Salt) Lamborghini Countach badge (Image: Tom Salt)
Last updated: 28th Jan 2016
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Lamborghini Countach cars for sale

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Lamborghini Countach
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  • 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniv.

    £269,995 £269,995

    The 25th Anniversary Countach was introduced in 1988 to celebrate Lamborghini's 25th anniversary; although the body kit is a bit 'Marmite' (you either love it or hate it), it is by far the most refined and driveable of its series. The car featured many minor updates from lessons learned with previous iterations of the Countach, and there were nearly 500 small differences between the 25th Anniversary edition and the Countach 500 QV. This 1988 Lamborghini is one of only 657 units produced between September 1988 and January 1990. It has had only 1 owner from new. The car is in un-restored, original, show condition and has a record of regular servicing. Almost all of the pristine paintwork is factory original, as is everything in the interior. This engine is of course the original matching-numbers unit. The car has only covered 17,702 miles in the hands of its 1 fastidious owner. It comes with air conditioning, a spare set of keys, an original factory tool kit, a tailored car cover and the official Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Service Manual. Having just has a full revision of all mechanicals, it drives exactly as Lamborghini intended and is ready to enjoy.

    • Year: 1989
    • Mileage: 17702 mi
    For sale
    Cheshire Classic Cars
    01244 529500
  • 1977 Lamborghini Countach LP400

    POA POA

    Only 150 cars produced in total One of believed 22 RHD examples made Engine rebuilt 20 years ago Complete with its tool roll and extensive history file, including owner's manual, original warranty card, and delivery documents The LP400 Periscopio is the most desirable Countach, with only 150 cars produced. This lovely example has travelled only 58,000 kilometres (less than 35,000 miles) from new, and is a factory RHD which was delivered new to Australia. The car has a fascinating history. By arrangement with the Australian importers the first owners collected it directly from the Lamborghini factory, and proceeded to go on a grand tour of Europe. Two weeks later, the car returned to the factory for a routine service with 3,449 kilometres on the odometer! Its first owners continued to enjoy the car in Europe and the UK for several months, and after a service in June 1978 in the UK, with 16,276 kilometres showing on its odometer, the car was shipped to Australia, where it would live for the next 36 years. Shortly after returning to Australia, the car was converted to LP400S specification, but this was immediately reversed by the current owner when he purchased the car in September 20

    • Year: 1977
    • Mileage: 35000 mi
    For sale
  • 1990 (H) LAMBORGHINI Countach 25th Anniversary

    POA POA

    About the 25th Anniversary Countach 5167 cc V12 Horsepower: 449 Torque: 369 ft/lb 0-62 mph: 4.9 seconds Top Speed: 183 mph Named to honor the company's twenty-fifth anniversary, the 25th Anniversary Countach was mechanically very similar to the 5000QV but sported much changed styling courtesy of Horatio Pagani. The rear air boxes were restyled and enlarged, while the vents behind them were changed so that they ran front to back instead of side to side. In addition, a new air dam and side skirting, both with air intakes, were fitted, and the taillights were restyled to be narrower, with body-colored panels replacing the upper and lower parts of the previous large taillights. The styling changes were striking on the 25 year old design, and had the added benefit of improved the engine's cooling, a problem the powerful Countach had always struggled with. The Countach also featured 345/35R15 tires; the widest tires ever available on a production car at the time. The Anniversary was produced from 1988 to 1990 when it was finally replaced by the Lamborghini Diablo. The Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary is powered by the 5167cc V12, which delivers an impressive 0-60 mph acceleration time of 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 183 MPH (295 km/h). The truly remarkable fact is that it is still just as powerful as a wide range of today's modern SuperCars The anniversary, was in fact a 'new' Countach, of which was redesigned as much as possible, this being external and internal. The Anniversary was planned to be sold in limited numbers, yet only did it turn out to be the best selling Countach ever made, as a total number of 667 where produced, until then came along the Diablo The Countach will always be known as the masterpiece which kept Lamborghini alive, with the anniversary edition being a great way to end the production of the Countach. This beautiful outstanding investment opportunity, the Lamborghini Countach '25th Anniversary Edition' is a 1991 H Registered example in the special colour combination of Bentley Green with matching Green Leather Interior & Red Piping, with only 24,505 Miles from new. It will shortly be put through a detailed AMARI Inspection, Mechanically, Cosmetically and Electrically (inside and out), and made subject to Minor Restoration Work, which we estimate to be fully completed in approximately 8 weeks. It comes with an Extensive History File, with all Original Books, and the Service Book. SPECIFICATION Rear Wing Sports Exhaust Air Conditioning Electric Seats Electric Windows Alloy Wheels Leather Interior Leather Steering Wheel HISTORY 18/05/1996 - 5,046 Miles - Lamborghini Specialists 02/05/1997 - 13,508 Miles - Lamborghini Specialists 27/05/2002 - 18,561 Miles - Lamborghini Service Centre 05/01/2007 - 20,207 Miles - Lamborghini Service Centre 21/01/2011 - 22,779 Miles - Lamborghini Specialists There is a huge documentation of Receipts, MoTs, Services carried out. Included in this is: Clutch Disc & Cylinder Replacements New Brake Calipers Front & Rear WHEELS & TYRES The car sits on Alloy Wheels, presented with Pirelli Pzero's all around: Front: 225 x 50 x ZR15 (91w) Rear: 245 x 35 x ZR15 (95y) For more information, please call our sales team on 01772 663 777. Viewing strictly by appointment. Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 24505 mi
    • Engine size: 5.2
    For sale
  • Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopo : 1975

    £1,299,990 £1,299,990

    The Lamborghini Countach was unveiled at the 1971 Geneva Auto Show. It was an exotic vehicle that had dramatic styling with its trademark scissor doors and low, angular, wedge-shaped body. The show car was called the LP500, for Longitudinale Posteriore 5 Litri, or longitudinal-rear five liters, with a mid-mounted engine located in front of the rear axle, the gearbox in front and positioned between the two seats. The final drive passed back through the engine sump, under the crankshaft, to the differential. This clever setup meant the engine was raised, necessitating the installation of side draft Weber carburetors, to maintain a relatively low rear deck. Since there was no rearward visibility, a periscope-type rear-view mirror was added, earning it the name 'Periscopo' to the initial Countach series. The production version of the car was called the LP400 in recognition of its four-liter V12 engine. In this configuration, it was first shown at the 1973 Geneva Motor Show. The LP400 closely resembled the LP500 prototype, though with several differences. The bodywork was constructed of lightweight aluminum. Special glass, along with magnesium which substituted for heavier materials, we

    • Year: 1975
    For sale
  • 1984 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S

    £303,875 £303,875

    1984 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S This 1984 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S is a one owner example with just 4k original miles. Being one of only 321 produced and a carbureted example make this an extremely collectible car that's sure to appreciate in value with every passing day. Black with tan interior. It's original bill of sale and tool kit are also included. It runs and drives excellent as well. Don't miss this rare opportunity to acquire one of the 20th century's definitive super-cars for just $467,5000

    • Year: 1984
    For sale
  • 1995 (g) LAMBORGHINI Countach 25th Anniversary

    POA POA

    Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 6634 mi
    • Engine size: 5.2
    For sale
  • 1981 LAMBORGHINI Countach LP 400S

    POA POA

    1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S The Lamborghini Countach was first displayed to the public for the first time at the 1971 Geneva salon. The definitive version was presented at the 1973 Geneva salon and entered production for Europe in 1974, with examples sent to the first customers the following year. Four years later, Lamborghini launched the Countach LP400 S. Performance remained incredible, and the car boasted a top speed of more than 290 km/h (179.8 mph). Our car, chassis no.1121296, is one of only 237 Lamborghini LP400 S examples produced. The car was delivered new in Switzerland where it resides until we bought it. . With only 3 owners from new, this Countach LP400S is in excellent unrestored and original condition, with only 46,172 Kms from new, its original paint and interior. The LP400S has always been carefully maintaided and runs perfectly. Swiss papers. EU taxes paid. Documented with service invoices

    • Mileage: 46172 mi
    For sale
    GTC Collection Cars
    + 33 (0)4 91 83 01 50
  • 1989 Lamborghini Countach

    £194,675 £194,675

    Chassis # ZA9CA05AXKLA12470 Clean Carfax & history Offered With Original Books, Spare, Jack & Tools Only 5,302KM From New Details Lamborghini and Ferrari both have their faithful followers, but within this epic saga between the two fabled Italian Super Car manufacturers there is a clear divide when Lamborghini introduced the Countach to the world in 1971 at the Geneva Motor Show. The reality however was not apparent until 1974 when the first production car was delivered to its first Australian owner. As the years went on the LP400 evolved into the LP400S (series 1, 2, and 3) and then onto the LP5000 in 1983. It was by this point that Lamborghini had a very well developed example of an original idea. With this also came an equally well developed following of die-hard enthusiast who were now very loyal to the brand. These early Countach owners and fans were to be the basis of the enthusiasm that drove the success of the Countach’s contemporaries: The Murcielago and the Aventador. The LP5000, in 1983, was the ultimate combination of original Countach Styling (LP400) and adapted up-to-the-minute technology for Lamborghini with a larger 4.7L motor, since its introduction in 1974. It is

    • Year: 1989
    For sale
  • Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary

    £349,033 £349,033

    Category Coupe Make Lamborghini Model Countach 25th Anniversary Engine power 335 kW / 455 PS Transmission Manual Kilometres 700 km Date of first registration 01.12.1989 Net / export 491.596,00 € 19% Sales tax 93.404,00 € Total price 585.000,00 € Sales advisor for this vehicle >>

    • Year: 1989
    For sale
  • 1989 Lamborghini Countach

    £204,750 £204,750

    This 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition is a beautiful original example. Red with tan interior and just 30k kilometers. It' been under the same ownership for the last 20 years and runs and drives excellent. Original paint and interior. For only $315,000

    • Year: 1989
    For sale
  • 1980 Lamborghini LP400S

    POA POA

    This early Series II example was delivered new via Emilianauto in Bologna on the 18 January 1980 in its striking color combination red with black leather. The first owner was a wealthy Scandinavian. Once the car was first registered a daily newspaper wrote a large article about the car as „the most expensive car“ to be registered in Scandinavia at that time. Today the car has had two owners from new. It has been recently fully serviced and comes with a very comprehensive and complete documentation since new.

    • Year: 1980
    For sale
    Jan Luehn
    +49 (0) 251 2844691
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