Arizona

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

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

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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