When it comes to launching an all new model of an automobile, especially high performance supercars, introductions of these new models are said to be either evolutionary or revolutionary. In its early days, being renowned for its front-engined, V-12 grand tourers, Ferrari often took the evolutionary route. Knowing what its clients liked and what Ferrari were best at, it is natural to see the evolution from 166, to 212, to 250, to 275, and then to 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’.
Just 35 kilometers down the road from Maranello in the little town of Sant’Agata Bolognese, Automobili Lamborghini chose to go the revolutionary route with the introduction of the Miura in 1966. The Miura changed the performance car industry forever, with its stunning Bertone-penned bodywork and transversely-mounted V-12 engine sitting just behind the cabin, it was nothing like the 275 GTB being built by Ferrari at the time.
Lamborghini could have simply rested on its laurels for the Miura’s replacement but once again decided to go the route of revolution over evolution, and the introduction of the Countach cemented Lamborghini’s place in the hearts and minds of enthusiasts worldwide. Again designed by Bertone, the Countach looked like nothing else on the road and was a huge departure from the Miura. Still retaining a V-12 engine, but now mounted longitudinally instead of trasnvesrsely, this format has remained with all of the ‘big’ Lamborghinis ever since. The evolution of cars to come: Diablo, Murciélago, Aventador, and now Revuelto, can all trace their lineage to the Countach.
This Countach was built to left-hand-drive specifications and was first registered in Italy on export plates in March of 1983, having been purchased new by Prince Khaled Al Faisal of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Retained for his use in Europe, the Countach’s 1,000-kilometre service—which remains in the car’s history file—shows that he was living at the Intercontinental Hotel in Geneva as of April 1983. The invoice further states that the car would be transported back to the Intercontinental Hotel once the work had been completed!
At some point, Al Faisal exported the car to the UK registering it under his personal numberplate “1 KF” and keeping the car at his address in St. Johns Wood in London. The Countach remained in Al Faisal’s ownership until December 1989, when it was purchased directly from him by the current owner. The handwritten bill of sale, which remains in the file, states that: “the car has a genuine mileage of approx. 3,800 kilometres, and to the best of my knowledge is free of all mechanical faults”.
Throughout the 1990s, the current owner (a serial Countach enthusiast who has owned no fewer than 14 examples) proceeded to use and enjoy the Countach as its manufacturers intended—at speed on the road! The benefits of a 5000 S over earlier Countaches would not have been lost on him: these cars saw power grow to 375 brake-horsepower, courtesy of a new 4.8-litre V-12 engine fed by six Weber carburettors. Though only 321 LP5000 Ss were manufactured—including the example offered here— the model cumulatively outsold the two previous generations of the Countach in just the second year of its three-year production run.
The vast majority of the car’s current mileage, showing just under 23,500 kilometres from new, was accumulated during the current owner’s first decade of ownership, and it has been driven just over 1,000 kilometres in the past 17 years. The Countach’s lovely history file includes documents from throughout its life, including the aforementioned Italian export registration documents and bill of sale, as well as numerous MoT certificates, service invoices, and its original manuals, including its original service book. It presents in well-preserved condition throughout, clearly having been well looked after from day one.
In 2023, Lamborghini is a global icon at the height of its powers. With production growing year on year, Countach variants are becoming an ever smaller subsect of Lamborghini’s total production, yet arguably represent the marque’s most recognisable automobile due to its revolutionary nature and succession of models that followed in its footsteps. Almost every owner of a modern Lamborghini has lusted after a Countach at some point in their life and owes it to themselves to experience the icon. An eye-catching example like this that wants for nothing and would make a perfect stablemate to a Urus, Huracan, or a V-12 model that can trace its roots to Lamborghini’s revolutionary Countach.