1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400S

1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400S 1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400S Coupe
Chassis #: 1121096
Sold for $725,000 at 2015 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Arizona.
Four years after the production Countach LP 400 was introduced at the Geneva Salon in 1974, the company introduced the second variant, the Lamborghini LP 400S. The 400S received very few changes to the car's aesthetics, retaining the same distinct flair and Bertone styling as its predecessor. Instead, the company addressed the minor quirks and flaws. It was given wider Pirelli tires, which helped deliver the car's 375 horsepower to the ground. The bodywork received subtle flares, and the suspension geometry was completely revised to accommodate the larger tire sizes. The result was a more aggressive appearance and a top speed of nearly 180 mph.

During the production lifespan of the LP 400 S, a total of 237 examples were produced in three distinct series. Fifty cars were built in the first series, making them the rarest of all three series of LP 400S. These Series 1 cars rode on Campagnolo Bravo wheels (nicknamed 'telephone dials'). Later Series I cars were fitted with larger gauges.

This particular example is a LP 400S Series 1 model and is the second to last U.S.-federalized example produced and the third to last Series I example ever produced. The car left the factory finished in Tahiti Blue with a blue interior, and fitted with the larger Weber 45 DCOE carburetors. The original owner was Par Karmangar of San Diego, California who retained the car for over two decades. During his ownership, the seats were reupholstered in the current black, but the dashboard and carpets remain original.

In 2001, the car received minor cosmetic damage to the right front fender. Shortly thereafter, it was sold from Karmangar's ownership to Carlos Costa, of Campbell, California, and repair work soon followed. Prior to the sale to its current caretaker, the car was mechanically serviced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
The Countach was the predecessor to the very successful Miura. The body was designed by Marcello Gandini at Bertone, and given a mid-engine layout in two-door coupe configuration. It featured an attractive and curvaceous body with elegant lines and fitted with modern mechanical components and technology. The engine was mounted longitudinally and replaced the transverse layout of its predecessor. The transmission was now fitted in front of the engine offering excellent weight distribution. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a driveshaft, which ran in its own tunnel in the engine's sump. Top speed was achieved at nearly 200 mph with zero-to-sixty taking under six-seconds.

The Countach was first shown to the public at the 1971 Geneva Motorshow. It was dubbed the Countach LP500, for its five-liter powerplant. It was finished in an eye-catching bright sunflower yellow and had small air intake ducts. The production version, though similar in design, was a vast departure from the prototype version. The car customers received did not have the five-liter engine or the monocoque chassis. Instead, a four-liter derivative engine was mounted inside a tubular frame. Though the engine was smaller in displacement size, it was much more reliable and durable. The 5-liter unit had failed initial testing and was destroyed during a high speed test session. Part of the issue was the cars poor ability to keep the engine cool, which eventually resulted in larger air ducts.

The prototype car was destroyed in a European crash test demonstration. A sad end to a unique vehicle that could only be described as 'priceless' in the modern era.

The Countach had elegant lines that ran from the front to the rear in classic Bertone style. The only things disrupting those lines were the vehicles cooling vents, which were necessary to provide air to the engine. The doors opened in scissor-like fashion and added to the ambiance and exotic nature of the vehicle.

Two years after the Geneva Motorshow debut, the production version was ready for the customers. The cars were called the 'Countach LP400', again, in reference to the vehicles engine displacement size. The car remained in production for two decades; during that time five different versions and iterations of the Countach were offered. By 1982, a suitable five-liter engine had been created and could be found in the vehicles engine bay; three years later the engine evolved again, being given four-valve heads and increasing horsepower to 455 for the European versions.

The first individual to receive a Countach was an Australian who took procession in 1974. D. Milne was a member of the Australian Defense Force Transport Corps.

This car, along with most of the other cars built by Lamborghini had one purpose: To beat Ferrari. Mr. Ferruccio Lamborghini, a tractor manufacturer, had an argument with Enzo Ferrari. He had bought a Ferrari and had a complaint with the car. When he approached Enzo Ferrari with his comments, Enzo replied that the problem was with the driver and not with the car. He also remarked that Ferruccio was just a tractor maker and did not understand real engineering. The result was a super car dynasty.

The first series of Countach's were known as the LP400 followed by the LP400S in 1978. The engine was further increased in 1982 to 4.8 liters and the model designation changed to LP500s. The LP500S was Lamborghini's response to Ferrari's 'Boxer' car, the 365 GT4. It was called 'Boxer' because it used a horizontally opposed engine which resembled a boxer boxing. Ferrari's response to the LP500S was the Testarossa. Once again, Lamborghini answered by creating the Quattrovalvole that produced 455 horsepower.

Electric fans and large ducts located behind the door helped with keeping the mid-engine V-12 cool. By placing the engine in the middle, better handling was achieved through better weight distribution. The body was made entirely of alloy except for the fiberglass doors.

Trunk space was limited. Both the front and the rear had minimal compartments for storage.

A rear spoiler was optional and provided extra down force and stability. It also looked good as well.

In 1991, after twenty years of production, the Countach was laid to rest to make room for the new Diablo. There were 157 examples of the LP400 produced; 237 of the LP400S. 321 of the LP500S were created and 676 examples of the LP500S QV. The 25th Anniversary edition had some of the highest production figures of all the Countach's, second to the LP500S QV, with 650 examples being production.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014

Concepts by Lamborghini

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