Lifestyle

Classic Countach


For a generation of sports car lovers, the Countach is the embodiment of everything Lamborghini stands for

The sensation of the 1971 Geneva Salon, the Countach was styled, like its predecessor, by Bertone's Marcello Gandini. Lamborghini's four-cam V12 was retained, though this time installed longitudinally.

To achieve optimum weight distribution, designer Paolo Stanzani placed the 5-speed gearbox ahead of the engine between the seats. When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved chassis and the standard 4-liter—instead of the prototype's 5-liter—engine. Even with the smaller engine producing "only" 375 hp, the aerodynamically efficient Countach could attain 170 mph and, as one would expect, came with racetrack road holding to match. The car's potentially largest market—the U.S.—remained closed to it until the arrival of the emissions-friendly LP500S in 1982.

The final development saw the engine enlarged to 5,167 cc and new four-valves-per-cylinder heads adopted for the Countach Quattrovalvole in 1985, the latter's 300 km/h (186 mph) top speed making it—at the time—the world's fastest car.

The Countach's ultimate development, considered by many to be the most desirable, arrived in September 1988. Launched at the Italian Grand Prix, Monza, this was the Anniversary, introduced to celebrate Lamborghini's 25th anniversary as a motor manufacturer.

Restyled and updated, the Anniversary incorporated hundreds of subtle changes and improvements over the Quattrovalvole. The body was reworked by Horacio Pagani, designer of the Pagani Zonda, gaining a new nose and front bumper/spoiler incorporating front brake air ducts. U.S.-destined cars retained the ugly 5-mph impact-resistant bumper, while the new rear bumper was common to both U.S. and European models.

The most striking difference in the Anniversary's appearance was in the treatment of the radiator air intakes directly behind the doors, which featured thicker vertical strakes, color-matched

to the body. Beneath the skin the chassis had been extensively updated for improved handling. Split-rim forged alloy OZ wheels were adopted for the Anniversary, shod with Pirelli's new 'P Zero' tires. Available with carburetors in Europe or fuel injection in the U.S., the V12 engine was virtually unchanged from the Quattrovalvole. In total, 657 Countach Anniversary models were made between September 1988 and April 1990.

First owned by well-known Lamborghini aficionado Barry Robinson, during whose ownership it was registered BR 33, right-hand drive S/N 12462 is the actual car featured in the eight-page center section dealing with the Anniversary model in Peter Dron's book, Lamborghini Countach – The Complete Story. It has also featured in numerous other journals and publications. S/N 12462 comes with service book stamped in 1988 (twice), February 1989, and January 2004 (at 10,732 kilometers) when £3,500 ($6,230) was spent at Modena Cars (Lamborghini Wycombe).

While in the current ownership the car has been fitted with a genuine, ex-factory Countach rear wing (an option when new) and an Alpine satellite navigation system. The engine has been serviced by recognized specialists Carrera Tune

(2,000 kilometers ago, immediately prior to a trip to Le Mans in 2005).

The Anniversary is widely regarded as the best road-going Countach in terms of handling and reliability, and we can vouch for the fact that this example is a most impressive performer, while its condition appears to indicate careful use and storage. Currently showing circa 15,800 kilometers on the odometer, S/N 12462 comes with a substantial leather-bound history file, original wallet and service book, spare parts list, and service invoices.


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