1977 LP400 Lamborghini Countach.
Smoked Silver with Burnished Connelly Red leather
It is fitting that the home of Lamborghini cars should be the town of St Agata Bolognese in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy – the place is named for a virgin martyr of Christian antiquity, killed for her steadfast profession of faith. That endless belief can also be found in Lamborghini, a marque which has survived through faith. Many have dreamed of building high-end sports cars to rival Ferrari’s best. Most fail utterly and are forgotten in a short time. Most also take the expedient route of creating their dream car by using “telephone book development”- call another manufacturer with a powerful engine, engage a well-known stylist to draw a flashy body and seek an abandoned factory in which to assemble the parts. Not so for Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian industrialist who had built his first fortune with tractors in post-WWII Italy. Instead, he built his company by engaging some of the leading engineers of the time to fashion a car which advanced the road-going GT car by a considerable measure. The story goes that he was unimpressed with the mechanical specification of the Ferraris he owned, feeling that they were a bit too agricultural even for a tractor maker. The vehicle bearing his name would not have someone else’s engine, but rather a bespoke four-cam V-12, eventually paired with a 5-speed transmission built in his factory and four-wheel independent suspension. And the factory itself was built from the ground up expressly to produce his cars. Gian Paolo Dallara, Giotto Bizzarrini and Franco Scaglione were responsible for the chassis, engine and design of the 350GTV which debuted in 1963. With the production version, the 350GT, Lamborghini had achieved his goal to “make a GT car without faults. Not a technical bomb. Very normal, but a perfect car.” Rapturously received by the press, the 350GT was quickly followed up by the 400GT, which was succeeded by a 400GT “2+2”. Lamborghini then set the world on its ear again with the ground-breaking mid-engined Miura in 1966. With a line-up in 1968 of the Islero, a conservative “businessman’s express” version of the 400GT, the world’s first 4-seat gran turismo, the Espada and the Miura, there was no doubt that the seven year old company had arrived and was making a statement. When the prototype LP500 Countach was unveiled at the 1971 Geneva motor show, it was clear that Ferruccio’s little start-up had hit the big time. Created by Paolo Stanzani and stylist Marcello Gandini, some thought the exotic Countach was merely a styling exercise. Surely no one could actually build that shape and sell it as a vehicle for the road, could they? But Lamborghini did just that.
Few could have imagined, given the company’s fecundity in product development in the first decade that the Countach would go on to have a sixteen-year production life, finally ending in 1990 with the Anniversario edition, in which the original 4-liter, 375hp V-12 had grown to a 5.1 liter, 475hp road-going spaceship. The Diablo replaced the Countach in 1990.
In developing the LP400 from the prototype LP500, a new round-tubed space frame was created to ensure the required torsional strength for the performance capability of the Countach. The smaller 4-liter, 4-cam V12 engine delivered more reliable power in a more tractable manner than the 5-liter of the LP500 and produced 375hp at 8,000rpm with six side-draft Weber 45DCOE carburetors.
It is widely agreed that the pure shape of the early LP400 Countach, without added aerodynamic or decorative pieces, is a masterwork of industrial design. The alternation of flat planes and angles, with functional cutouts for air vents, intakes, windows and wheels results in a form both sculptural and dynamic simultaneously; completely different from later iterations.
One of 40 built in 1977 out of a total production of 157 over a four-year span beginning in 1974, this car was first brought into the country by Aaron Morse of Kiehl's Cosmetics in January 1979, at the Port of Baltimore. It received its EPA release in October of the year. It then passed to Mark Steve of La Jolla, CA and into the current ownership in 1999. At this time it had covered approximately 16,715 miles. The Countach was driven until 2005 at which time a complete and comprehensive restoration was undertaken. The brief was to return the car to top cosmetic as well as mechanical condition – this was to be no trailer queen, but a car able to be driven as it was designed to be. On completion of the work, the car was track tested to ensure it delivered the performance it should.
During the course of this work, the original colors of orange with white leather were changed to the current Smoke Silver and Dark Red. The owner consulted with Marcello Gandini himself on the color scheme and received his approval in a letter which accompanies the car. As you will see, the elegant colors suit the clean, dramatic shape very well and lend the LP400 the air of a lethal fighter plane at rest.
Cosmetically, the car is in stunning condition. The restoration was thorough but also sympathetic. The paintwork is in extremely nice condition, and close inspection reveals evidence of the Lamborghini’s craftsmen at work. Ordinarily, these traces of fabrication are removed during restorations, but thankfully they have been preserved in this example. The trim, lights and glass are generally excellent, aside from a few small cracks in the front turn indicators. The wheels have been restored as well, and the car sits on Michelin XWX tires.
The interior is absolutely spectacular, particularly in its lovely nearly oxblood-colored leather with contrasting grey carpeting combination. The quality of the materials and workmanship is first rate, and there are few if any appreciable signs of wear and use. The instruments are in fine shape, and the seats and other upholstery are outstanding. The carpets fit exceptionally well, and the dashboard is very well done in the correct “mouse hair” material.
The front compartment, trunk, and engine have also been restored and are spotless. They are also very correct, including the front compartment, which employs the correct components and finishes, right down to the original metallic red finish to the horns. The original toolset is still in place as well. The trunk carpet was renewed to match the interior, and the engine compartment is very correct, detailed, and spotless. Accompanying the car is the both the complete toolset and owners manual.
The car drives very well. The low mileage of this example permitted a sympathetic restoration, and the chassis was disassembled only as much as was necessary. Consequently, the car has a coherent feel that is often missing from restored cars. The engine is well-tuned and sounds great, and the gearbox works very nicely. The brakes are effective and pull the car up evenly.
At last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the marque was celebrated with a display of special-bodied cars and prototypes. The only production example chosen for this prestigious array is the car here for sale, LP400 Countach #1120178. Following its showing at Pebble Beach, it went on to take a Best in Class award at the noted Fairfield County Concours d’Elegance in Westport, CT, last September. We confident you will not find a better example available today.
A restoration and service summary for s/n 1120178:
Bobileff Motorcar Company:
Major service, engine Out (1700 mi. since major service)
Radiator Removal, rod out, install
Radiator fans mounted on radiator back sides
Water pump re-seal
Remove starter, overhaul, install
Head gasket replacement (left & right)
Jim Holcumb, Complete Restoration from 2/10/05-08/08:
Installed new two-piece rotors
Fitted and installed new rubber seals on doors & deck lids
Installed new steering rack boots and mounted rack in chassis
New exhaust headers from Factory Sport Exhaust
Rebuilt 6 shocks and springs
Re-trimmed complete interior
Italian grey broadcloth
Original Italian anthracite wool carpet
Mouse hair dash fabric
Misc. strapping, fasteners, foam, etc.
New tires, Michelin XWX
Sebring flat black mirrors
Polished alloy "Magnum" Reverie fire extinguisher
2 piece brake rotor
Fuzzy strips for door glass, large style
Window channel gasket, 12m
Front windshield (Sicurvetro)
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.