19-20 January 2017

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Lot 137

1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S Series I by Bertone

  • Chassis no. 1121094
  • Engine no. 1121094

Sold for $429,000

Please note that this lot is titled by its homologation number.

375 bhp, 3,929 cc DOHC V-12 engine with six Weber horizontal two-barrel carburetors, five-speed manual transmission, unequal length A-arm front suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar, upper lateral-link rear suspension with lower A-arms, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar; and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96.5 in.

  • One of only 50 Series I examples produced
  • Desirable “low-body” design with “Bravo” wheels
  • Retains its original engine

It is easy to forget how shocking the Marcel Gandini-designed Lamborghini Countach prototype was at its Geneva introduction in 1971. Its impossibly low wedge profile, scissor doors, mid-mounted V-12, and angular styling set the language for nearly every supercar since. Lamborghini has remained true to the Countach’s original design for 45 years, with its influences still seen today in the current Aventador.

The Countach had lost none of its power to astonish when the production version, the LP400, debuted in 1974. In the United States particularly, where the streets were still filled with muscle cars and full-sized sedans, it resembled nothing less than a road-going spaceship. In 1978, the updated Countach LP400 S was introduced, featuring an aggressive front splitter, hugely wide Pirelli tires, muscular fender flares, magnesium Campagnolo “Bravo” wheels, and revised suspension geometry. Three series of the LP400 S were produced, the first two series sharing the chassis and low body of the original LP400. Series I cars featured the stylish Bravo wheels, and only 50 of these were produced. The Series I Countach has the aggressive look of the later models but still retains the pure design that made the LP400 an icon.

This first series Countach left the factory in September 1979 and was first sold by the Hubert Hahn dealership in Dusseldorf, Germany. Originally finished in the striking color combination of Blu Acapulco over natural leather with gold Bravo wheels, it was soon repainted black while in Europe in the early 1980s. In 1984, the car was imported to the United States under “exempt” status, meaning that the performance-robbing steel bars in the doors, catalytic converts, gas restrictor caps, smog pump, larger bumpers, and braces in the rear trunk were not added and it remained true to its original factory specifications. The 4.0-liter engine is factory stock with its six 45 DCOE Weber carburetors, 10.5:1 compression ratio, and high lift camshafts with a redline of 8,000 rpm.

In 2002, the drivetrain was removed to perform a comprehensive service and rebuild to ensure its mechanical condition and future reliability. The pistons, crankshaft, liners, and rods were all carefully checked and found to be in excellent condition. The valves were replaced with new items, the valve springs were reconditioned, and new valve guides were installed. The radiators were reconditioned and new radiator fans helped the cooling system. New rings, oil lines, a throw out bearing, a clutch disk, gaskets, thrust bearings, and countless other items in the engine were also replaced at this time.

More recently, the current owner replaced the old heavy exhaust with a period-correct Ansa Sport exhaust system. To prevent corrosion and for more efficient heat insulation, the exhaust system was ceramic coated. The shocks were found to be in good working order when the suspension was re-done three years ago and new brake pads were installed in 2014. In 2015, the drivetrain was removed once more so that the transmission and engine could be properly serviced. At this time, a new clutch disk was fitted, the seals and an aluminum ring in the transmission were replaced, all six carburetors were cleaned, the timing was set, the fuel pumps were repaired, fuel lines were replaced, and the top of the engine was blueprinted.

In 2016, further work was performed, including repairing small cracks from age in the tube frame brackets, cleaning and re-sealing the undercarriage, and replacing all the hoses. The air conditioning system was serviced and blows cold, the clutch (including the master and slave cylinders) was replaced, and small dents in the aluminum fenders were repaired. To return the car to factory specifications, the bulky square reflectors on the rear fenders were removed, correct Sebring mirrors were installed, and the bull that had been added to the rear panel was also removed. The roof, engine lid, and rear portion of the car were repainted. While the original leather interior remains in great condition, the carpeting was replaced 10 years ago.

This is an attractive, well-sorted, low-body Countach that is being offered by its owner of 22 years. Many of these cars have become the victims of modifications and a lack of maintenance, but this example remains entirely stock and has always been regularly driven and carefully serviced. The owner reports that it is incredible to drive on fast mountain roads and that the car is rust and accident free. Included with the sale are extensive records and photos documenting all of the work the owner had done to the car, import records from 1984, the original owner’s manual, original engine manual, and two reprinted technical manuals. This Countach is an exceptional classic supercar that will keep turning heads for decades to come.


Please note that this lot is now offered without reserve.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more