This Lamborghini Countach stole the show

At the 1982 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini presented the next evolution of the outrageously styled Countach – and comprehensively stole the show. Now, the LP500S is being rediscovered by the collector community...

Star of the 1982 Geneva Salon

In the spring of 1982, the ‘Salon international de l’auto de Genève’ was, for the first time, held not in the elegant old exhibition hall in the centre of Geneva, but in the newly opened Palexpo complex near Cointrin Airport. Mercedes showed its new SEC models, Porsche returned to the world of open-topped sports cars with the 911 SC Cabriolet, and Monteverdi interpreted the S-Class as a limousine of his own design, called the Tiara. The real eye-catcher, however, was on Lamborghini’s stand, where the Italians presented a new and more powerful evolution of their outrageously styled Countach: the LP500S.

Back to full power

As the name of the Lamborghini Countach LP500 – the first 1971 prototype – implied, a 12-cylinder 5.0-litre engine was originally planned for the supercar. But in 1974, when the first production version was delivered, the Countach was propelled by only a four-litre unit. From 1978, the new LP400S had a fully revamped design and a dramatic rear spoiler but the engine’s power was reduced, and it was left for the LP500S to offer a larger, now 4.75-litre engine, plus a more thrilling 375HP and – more importantly still – torque of 418Nm. Those who took the horns of this latest wild bull could expect acceleration from zero to 62mph in 5.4 seconds. 

Prices rise

Until now, the Lamborghini Countach LP500S – or 5000S, as it is sometimes (and confusingly) called – has existed rather in the shadows, between the purist first series and the later, more powerful successors, the LP5000QV and 25th Anniversary. But as prices for early model now crack the million-dollar mark, the ‘gap’ model becomes the focus of collectors’ attention. While in 2013, RM Auctions sold an LP500S with just 11,000 miles on the clock for 198,000 US dollars, a similar example in Gooding’s Scottsdale auction early this year went for 390,500 US dollars. The Lamborghini Countach LP500S shown here, with only 10,500 recorded miles, is valued by Bonhams at 400,000 to 470,000 dollars – and is up for sale on 12 March 2015 at the Amelia Island auction. We are looking forward to seeing what it the bidding will go up to. As it happens, it looks as though we’ll see an official successor to the ‘S’ at the 2015 Geneva Show. More to be revealed soon… 

Photos: Bonhams

For a selection of Lamborghini Countaches for sale, see the Classic Driver Market.

This article is part of the series 'Cars we Love', in which we bring you our favourite classics and modern classics, every Saturday morning.