16-17 August 2013

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Lot 120

1982 Lamborghini Countach 5000S

  • Chassis no. ZA9C00500CLA12507

Sold for $198,000

375 hp, 4,754 cc DOHC V-12 engine with six Weber 45 DCOE two-barrel carburetors, five-speed manual transaxle, independent front and rear suspension by coil springs and unequal length wishbones, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 96.5 in.

  • The 1982 Geneva Motor Show LP 500S
  • Desirable, carbureted Euro-specification example
  • Impressive condition, with approximately 11,000 miles from new
  • Marcello Gandini’s most striking Lamborghini design

After the groundbreaking Lamborghini Miura stunned crowds at the 1965 Geneva Motor Show with its mid-mounted transverse V-12, it was hard to imagine how designer Marcello Gandini might surpass it. But, in 1971, he did it again with the outrageous LP 400 Countach. It predicated the angular style typical of the 1980s, ten years in advance. The four-liter V-12 generated 375 horsepower, enough to push the car to 180 mph. Upwards-hinging “scissor doors” proved a magnetic attraction.

The Coutach was the stuff of schoolboy dreams, and it evolved constantly: adding vents to aid engine cooling, fender flares for wider tires, and safety bumpers for the American market. A total of 110 early “periscopo” models were built between 1974 and 1977, with a novel prismatic mirror arrangement to overcome the paucity of rear vision. (Seventy-seven additional examples of the LP 400 were then produced with more conventional mirrors.) The 400S was introduced in 1978, with fender flares and an optional rear wing.

The LP 500S, also known as the 5000S, of 1982 bumped the engine size to almost five liters, but stiffer U.S. emission regulations meant that carbureted grey market imports could no longer pass EPA standards. The example offered today, the 1982 Geneva Motor Show car, was brought to the U.S. and served as the development car for the U.S. version, utilizing a Bosch fuel injection unit to control emissions. When complete, the car passed the EPA tests with flying colors, and it was later sent back to Italy to serve as the U.S. production prototype.

This Countach remains in remarkable condition, finished in its salon-car livery of silver with a dazzling blue leather interior—a spectacular combination believed unique until 1989. Presented with fresh paint, the interior shows some very light wear, as it has never been restored, but it is even more special for its originality. The DOT bumpers that were fitted by the factory in 1984 have since been removed, and though it was once equipped with fuel injection, it has more recently been retrofitted with the original-specification Weber carburetors for improved performance and reliability.

During this process, the engine was completely rebuilt, along with the transaxle. It is reported to run strong, and it has been a favorite on the road for its current owner. This recent mechanical restoration is documented by video footage and includes all invoices.

Numerous period photographs and correspondence also accompany the sale. These confirm this car as a significant landmark in the progress of the Countach model. With its interesting provenance, striking appearance, fresh mechanical overhaul, and impressively low original mileage of fewer than 18,000 kilometers (approximately 11,000 miles), this Lamborghini embodies the best of 1980s performance and glamor wrapped into a single, exciting package.


Please note that due to California emissions, this car should be offered to a dealer or out-of-state resident.

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

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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