The children who had a Lamborghini Countach poster on their bedroom walls are now old enough to drive them, and this particular example should immediately spark joy. Firstly, for its exceptional ownership’s history, and secondly, because it’s a 25th Anniversary Edition, the most accomplished of them all.
Gautier Rossignol, head of the automotive department at Aguttes Auction House, which will offer this 25th Anniversary Countach for sale on June 26th in Paris, fully agrees: "This car was bought new by Gerhard Berger, one of the best F1 drivers, teammate of Senna, Mansell, and Alesi, and third in the World Championship in 1988 and 1994. He kept it for more than ten years before selling it to its current owner, who has meticulously maintained it for 21 years. It is truly a unique opportunity to acquire one of the most mythical supercars of the late 1980s, the last and most accomplished hand-built Lamborghini with a low mileage, a great lineage of only two owners, and meticulous maintenance.”
The Countach is indeed the archetypal 1980s supercar, despite being born in the 1970s. A worthy heir to the Miura, it’s the perfect embodiment of what you would expect from a Lamborghini: exuberance, breathtaking performance, and a striking design. Add flamboyant and famous owners and you get the whole picture. In this respect, the Countach is still for many enthusiasts the iconic Lamborghini par excellence.
The Countach’s story started as early as 1971 during the Geneva Motor Show, when Lamborghini unveiled the LP 500 concept car, powered by the Miura’s 5-litre V12 engine installed longitudinally. The concept car truly left the whole world in awe with its super low belt-line and sharp lines. With such a warm reception, Lamborghini felt they had no choice but to build the car, even though producing a worthy successor to the legendary Miura would be a difficult task.
Designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone, the LP 400 appeared in Lamborghini’s catalogue in 1974 with a 375 bhp 4-litre V12 engine and a cutting-edge look, characterised by its scissor doors. Paolo Stanzani, the company's brilliant engineer, placed the five-speed gearbox in front of the engine, between the seats, and the differential at the rear. With its tubular chassis, the Countach offered both an optimised gearbox and better balance than the Miura.
The name Countach, derived from the Piedmontese slang word for 'fabulous', is said to have been uttered by Nuccio Bertone when he first saw the car on the road. The Countach underwent numerous evolutions, from the purest, the LP 400, followed by the LP 400 S in 1978, offering more aggressive lines, an optional spoiler, and a detuned engine with 355 bhp. Lamborghini then launched the LP 500 S in 1982. With modernised lines and a 375 bhp 4.7-litre V12, it was a model that opened the doors to the key American market. Then came the LP 5000 QV in 1985, with its Quattro Valvole engine, i.e. 48 valves, with 5.2 litres of displacement and 455 bhp.
Last but not least, Lamborghini decided to celebrate its 25th anniversary by unveiling the “Countach 25 Anniversario” at the 1988 Monza Formula One Grand Prix. Based on the 5000 QV, but heavily restyled and modified, only 650 units were produced up to 1990. This is the car we are talking about today.
As Gautier Rossignol points out, the 25th Anniversario's edgy styling actually hides a brand new car: "Horacio Pagani, the then in-house stylist, rounded off the car's angles by fluidising the lines with a new nose, new air intakes to improve the cooling of the carbon disc brakes, and prominent side skirts to optimise the flow of air to the engine radiators. The 25th Anniversary Countach is by far the most accomplished of all Countachs, incorporating hundreds of changes, including a modernised chassis with input from Sandro Munari, a completely revised cooling system, OZ wheels fitted with new Pirelli P Zero tyres, and upgraded features such as electric windows and better air conditioning.”
With its breathtaking performance, 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 300 km/h, the 25th Anniversary Countach attracted stars and F1 drivers alike. Famous owners included Mario Andretti and Gerhard Berger, the latter being the first owner of chassis no. ZA9C005A0KLA12818, which is to be offered for sale by Aguttes.
As Gautier Rossignol confirms: “By 1989, Gerhard Berger had just finished third in the 1988 F1 World Championship in a Ferrari. But after a spectacular accident Imola and his victory in Portugal, he announced his move to McLaren. It was at this stage, with only three Grand Prix left to run with Ferrari, that he placed an order for this 25th anniversary Countach, which was in fact his second Lamborghini Countach. He had already owned a 5000 QV before joining the Scuderia in 1987.”
It was sold in 2002 to its current owner with 11,000 km on the clock. The current owner has taken care of the car the best possible way: through a regular and meticulous maintenance, documented by numerous invoices, notably from the Lyon specialist Calderoni. In 2016, no less than €40,000 was spent on replacing the rims and doing cosmetic work.
With just under 40.000 km on the clock, the chance to become just the third owner of this spectacular Lamborghini Countach is a rare privilege. Needless to say, any kid who used to have a Countach’s poster on his bedroom walls would happily fill an empty garage space with this very same car later this month…
Photos: Baudouin Jager for Aguttes