The legendary Miura was always going to be a hard act to follow, so the extent to which its successor eclipsed the greatest of 1960s 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. The production version would not be seen for another two years, with deliveries commencing in 1974.
As used in the Miura, Lamborghini's four-cam V12 engine was retained for the Countach, though this time installed longitudinally. 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 gearchange and a better-balanced car than 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' 375bhp, the aerodynamically efficient Countach could attain 170mph and, as one would expect, came with racetrack roadholding to match.
The first upgrade appeared in 1978 as the 'LP400S', the major changes being confined to the chassis and suspension. A rear aerofoil became available, making the Countach look even more outrageous and, not surprisingly, was the choice of most customers. 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.
A rare, right-hand drive UK-delivered LP500S, only 25 of which were made, chassis number '12550' was tested by Car magazine while it was owned by racing driver, demolition contractor and Lamborghini aficionado, Barry Robinson, and carried the registration 'BR 33'. A copy of the article, which appeared in Car's April 1984 edition, is on file. The Lamborghini's first owner, Robinson had had the engine blueprinted, its output being estimated by the factory at around 425bhp, some 50 horsepower more than standard. Car revealed that Robinson had recently set a series of British speed and endurance records with his Countach, lapping Vauxhall's Millbrook test track at 180mph for extended periods. The car was subsequently reregistered 'LAM 80P' and was acquired by the present registered keeper in March 2007.
Kept in storage for the last ten-plus years, the Countach is described by the vendor as generally sound and in good condition, though it would benefit from light cosmetic refurbishment. Freshly MoT'd and offered with V5 registration document, it represents an exciting opportunity to acquire one of these iconic Italian supercars.