1977 Lamborghini CountachLP400 Periscopio
Year of manufacture1977
Chassis n° 1120262
Engine n° 1120262
- Bought new by Rod Stewart
- Fascinating known history
- Recent work carried out by the best specialists
- Superb condition, matching numbers
This car has a fantastic history. It is also the highly desirable " periscopio " model, named after the channel cut into the roof for a 'periscopic' rear-view mirror. This particular car was delivered new to Rod Stewart, the rock star who rose to fame during the 70s and 80s and became as popular as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. His hits "Da Ya think I'm Sexy" and "Sailing" were played around the world, bringing success and a lavish lifestyle that included owning some of the most powerful sportscars of the day. It was a time of fun, parties and huge global success. Rod Stewart has always been keen on Lamborghin and over the years has owned two Miuras and a Diablo, and more recently a Murcielago and a Gallardo spider. In 2016, Stewart was knighted by Prince William.
The Countach on offer has been delivered by the factory directly to Rod Stewart in Australia on 14 June 1977, painted red with tobacco leather interior and in right-hand drive. He was based in Australia at the time, and the car was exported to Sydney. This was where he recorded Blondes have more fun, released the following year. He explains in his autobiography that he actually kept this car inside the recording studio for two weeks ! There is a photo in the book showing the car surrounded by a group of people partying.
When Rod Stewart moved to the US at the end of the 1970s, he took some of his supercars with him, including the Countach. In order to enjoy driving the car in Hollywood, he had it converted to left-hand drive. This was how he became acquainted with Albert Mardikian, the importer of high-end European cars based on the west coast. Mardikian had a reputation for importing Lamborghini without taking too much notice of the regulations. He would have inspired the part played by Tom Cruise in Rain Man, a film he starred in with Dustin Hoffman, which starts with a scene where he is importing Lamborghini.
Al Mardikian was also renowned for preparing and customising cars. He transformed certain Ferrari models into spiders, and was given the job of transforming a few cars for the series Miami Vice. He also employed his skill on Rod Stewart's Countach, taking off the roof, strengthening the body and modifying the doors and side windows. At the same time, the wheel arches were widened in the style of the LP 400 S but in a more integrated, flowing style, so that they looked less 'added on' than the factory version. The suspension was adapted to allow wider wheels and tyres. This work was carried out in collaboration with Giacobone of Executive Coachcraft. Albert Mardikian would have built three such spiders, called the " Countach SS ". They were all red, one was for his personal use and the third would be Rod Stewart's
The car then went to England, where it remained until 2002, registered RMK 651R (R for cars delivered between August 1976 and July 1977). In 2002, it was bought by the second owner, who had the engine restored but otherwise kept the car as it was, as it had been driven very little. The odometer then stood at 11 800 miles, in all probability the original mileage.
A few years later, this extraordinary Countach passed into the hands of a Parisian dealer, who sold it to the current owner during the Retromobile Salon in 2013. Conscious of its special provenance, he decided to restore the Countach to its original coupé configuration, while keeping it as a left-hand drive car. He entrusted the work to the best Italian marque specialists : the Battaglia e Bolognesi workshop in Ferrara for the coachwork, Bruno Paratelli for the upholstery and Top Motors in Nonantola for the mechanical work. The red paintwork conforms to the original and it has its original engine. The car is presented with its " periscopio " roof styling. It will be delivered with a second, smaller steering wheel that allows a more comfortable driving position, and has covered just 161 km since the restoration.
When talking about the Lamborghini Countach, it's hard to avoid superlatives, as this is a truly amazing car. Ferruccio Lamborghini designed it to be faster, more radical and more advanced. The mid-engine is mounted longitudinally (hence the initials LP for Longitudinale Posteriore), with a gearbox positioned in front of the V12 engine, cleverly designed by Paolo Stanzani. Working for Bertone, Marcello Gandini, already responsible for the stunning Stratos Zero, drew a continuous arc from the front tip to the rear tail, giving the car its overall shape. The doors were in elytron, a method that hadn't been used before. Light and powerful (with a 4-litre 375 bhp engine), and capable of 315 km/h, it wowed visitors at the Geneva Motor Show in 1971 when it appeared as a prototype. The definitive version appeared in 1973 and the car went into production the year after that.
With such prestigious provenance and special history, the example on offer is one of the most desirable Countach LP 400s on the market.
Participating in the auction on this lot is subject to a special registration process. If you would like to bid on this lot, please get in touch with the bidding office or the motorcars department at least 48 hours before the sale.
For more information and photos: https://www.artcurial.com/fr/lot-1977-lamborghini-countach-lp400-periscopio-3980-134
Photos © Peter Singhof