15-16 January 2015

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Lot 237

1979 Lamborghini Countach LP 400S Series I

  • Chassis no. 1121096

Sold for $725,000

375 bhp, 3,929 cc DOHC V-12 engine with six twin-throat Weber 45 DCOE 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 just 50 Countach LP 400S Series Is produced, and the second to last U.S.-federalized example
  • Fitted with the desirable Weber 45 DCOE carburetors
  • Finished in the desirable Tahiti Blue over black
  • Accompanied by original books and tools

Lamborghini’s LP 400S, the second variant of the iconic Countach, was launched four years after the production Countach LP 400 was introduced at the Geneva Salon in 1974. While the original car created nothing short of a fanfare, it goes without saying that the LP 400S had a big act to follow, and Lamborghini wasn’t going to let it disappoint. The Countach was still very much in style, and Lamborghini knew it was best to change the car’s aesthetics very little to retain the its unique personality. In order to be successful and a good following act for the LP 400, the LP 400S would have to retain the same distinct flair of its predecessor but address the minor quirks that both the company and paying customers had become aware of in the car’s teething years.

The LP 400S retained all the visual panache of its predecessor: scissor doors, eye-catching and aggressive Bertone styling, and enough power and performance to please even the most crazed horsepower junkies. The most notable change to the LP 400S was that the car was fitted with wider Pirelli tires, which helped to put the car’s 375 horsepower to the ground. At the same time, the bodywork received muscular but subtle flares to house them, and the suspension geometry was completely revised to account for the change in the wheel and tire sizes. These changes helped make the Countach appear even more aggressive, and many LP 400 customers even requested that their cars receive the updates fitted to the LP 400S. Of course, performance remained incredible, with its top speed quoted at 179.8 mph.

The 237 production Countach LP 400S examples are divisible into three distinct series, with the most desirable being the first, or Series I, examples. Fifty cars out of the production run fit into the first series, making them the rarest of all three series of the LP 400S. These Series I cars were characterized by their famous Campagnolo Bravo wheels, which were lovingly nicknamed “telephone dials” by enthusiasts for their distinctive styling. Additionally, the later Series I cars received larger gauges.

The 1979 Countach LP 400S Series I offered here, bearing chassis number 1121096, is the second to last U.S.-federalized example produced and the third to last Series I example ever produced. According to factory documentation, the car was originally finished in the rare and desirable Tahiti Blue with a blue interior, and it was fitted with the larger and more desirable Weber 45 DCOE carburetors. The Lamborghini was U.S.-federalized and then delivered new to its first owner, Par Karmangar of San Diego, California. The car would remain in the United States under Karmangar’s ownership for over 20 years. During this time, the Countach’s seats were reupholstered in the current black, but the dashboard and carpets remain original.

Following minor cosmetic damage to the right front fender in 2001, the car was sold from Karmangar’s ownership to Carlos Costa, of Campbell, California, and repair work was undertaken in short order. Just prior to its sale to its current custodian, the Countach was serviced by Grand Prix Motors, also of Campbell, California, to ensure that it is in running order. This work included a brake service and a changing of the oil filter, amongst other minor services. It is also important to note that the car comes equipped with its original set of books and tools.

As the Countach continues to rise in desirability and importance in the collector car world, the early LP 400 and LP 400S models continue to stand out from the rest in terms of rarity and design. With just 50 examples produced, first-series Countach LP 400S examples remain one of the most desirable models that money can buy. Offering slight updates over the Gandini’s original design, the LP 400S provides welcome updates to the LP 400 both inside and out. This particular example is quite compelling, especially when considering that it wears its correct shade of Tahiti Blue, is the third from last Series I example constructed, and is fitted with its signature gold Campagnolo Bravo wheels. It certainly warrants consideration and close inspection.

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

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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

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David Swig

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Don Rose

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Michael Squire

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Mike Fairbairn

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