The wide, well-sighted road opens before you. An opportunity. As you squeeze the firm throttle pedal with a slow but decisive shove, so the bellowing twelve-cylinder concerto begins to ring out behind you. The audible volume and urgency rises with the thick red needle on the right-hand tachometer.
The deliciously long ratios are interrupted only by changes – an action which itself requires a positive throw across the open gate to your right, positioned at what feels like chest height thanks to the ground-hugging reclined seats (themselves objects of sheer Postmodern beauty).
There’s really no other word to describe the experience of driving a Lamborghini Countach than theatrical. But for all the gasps, growls, pops, bangs and hisses, this land-based spaceship is not the intimidating, machismo, anxiety-inducing supercar you’d be led to believe.
“But for all the gasps, growls, pops, bangs and hisses, this land-based spaceship is not the intimidating, machismo, anxiety-inducing supercar you’d be led to believe.”
Yes, you need to sit on the sill to reverse park and it’s not a car you can hesitate with – in a Countach you need to be positive. But from the driver’s seat, forward visibility is fantastic thanks to the short nose which tapers downward. The torque-laden engine makes low-speed driving a doddle. And the cabin is spacious and comfortable.
Countach production was long at 16 years (1974 to 1990) and there were a number of different variants. In our opinion, the LP5000S is the sweet spot, with the dramatic flared styling and full-fat 4.75-litre 375bhp V12, fed by six insatiably thirsty double-barrel Weber carburetors.
When it was introduced in 1982, the LP5000S (or LP500S dependent on which market) was the third iteration of the Countach, following the LP400 Periscopio and the LP400 S, the latter of which received the comically flared wheel arches. But the addition of the larger 4.75-litre twelve-cylinder, still with 24 valves, finally gave the model the beating heart it deserved. At the time, it was the fastest accelerating, most powerful and most torquey Lamborghini of them all.
Over four decades on, the LP5000S represents a desirable proposition for today’s collectors – with only 321 produced, this iteration of the Countach is twice as rare as the LP5000 QV and 25th Anniversary models which followed, yet considerably less valuable than the original LP400 Periscopio.
It’s the model which truly turned the Countach into a poster pinup for an entire generation.
Chassis number 12740
An LP5000S model which left the Lamborghini factory in Sant’Agata on 7 July 1984, this Countach – chassis number 12740 – was delivered new to Monaco, finished in Bianco over an oh-so-1980s Bianco interior. Crucially, the original owner went against the grain and opted not to fit the rear wing, which preserved the 182mph top speed. In 1996, the car was imported to California on the West Coast of America and, amusingly, registered with the number ‘BIG LAMB’ – fitting, right?
Chassis 12740 remained in California for 20 years, changing hands once and, as the wealth of invoices accompanying the car demonstrate, always diligently maintained. A full engine rebuild was carried out in 2013, costing in excess of 30,000 US dollars. In 2016, this Countach joined the collection of a prominent Lamborghini collector in Germany, which comprised everything from a tractor to LM002 and a Diablo VT 6.0.
Said collector promptly sent the car to Top Motors Salvioli, the longstanding Lamborghini specialist in Modena, for a mechanical inspection and service. At this time the gearbox was rebuilt with new seals and synchros, the front and rear suspension was refreshed and the carburetors were cleaned. A second Top Motors invoice details further work carried out the following year totaling 2,000 euros.
Chassis number 12740 changed hands again in 2021, remaining in Germany. Lamborghini Singen carried out a service in November of the same year, which included replacement of the door seals, coolant pipes, two tyres, and an overhaul of the entire braking system.
Today, this matching-numbers Lamborghini Countach LP5000S is accompanied by a generous history file comprising myriad invoices and a Certificate of Authenticity from the factory in Sant’Agata, confirming its provenance. An example which has benefitted from diligent care and maintenance throughout its life, chassis number 12740 is finished in the most desirable colour combination and drives every bit as good as it is to look at.