“I timed it at no less than 188mph on a stretch of German Autobahn where a Testarossa didn’t make it to 180… If you like you can exceed the US National Maximum Speed Limit in 1st gear in less than five seconds from standstill…” – Road & Track, June 1985
The story of Lamborghini is one of many triumphs and travails. The early 1970s saw its founder sell up and leave, and the new owners had many challenges, not the least of which being the oil crisis and mid-engined competition from Ferrari and Maserati: it no longer had a monopoly on both futuristic looks and state-of the-art technology. But when the Countach LP400 Periscopica was finally revealed as production-ready in 1973, it proved once again that no one could out-wow! the combination of Lamborghini engineering and another stunning design from Marcello Gandini.
The new supercar went through many further versions during a troubled period of worldwide economic gloom, each being flawed but generally always “the fastest car in the world.”
With Lamborghini in a relatively settled period of life after Ferruccio, yet before Chrysler, in 1985 at the Geneva Show the Sant’Agata company produced the finest version yet of the outrageous Countach: the 5,167cc, 455bhp LP5000S Quattrovalvole, or ‘QV’.
The Lamborghini Countach LP5000S QV
It was the LP5000 S that had kept Lamborghini ahead of the chasing pack that included Porsche’s 911 Turbo, Ferrari’s 512 BB and an unlikely threat from the UK, Aston Martin’s mighty V8 Vantage. But arch-rival Ferrari was developing the Testarossa, a long and wide (for wide boys) ‘Countach rival’ that was introduced in 1984 with an uprated boxer motor producing 390bhp, up 15bhp on the LP5000 S.
Lamborghini’s answer was to increase the capacity of the proven V12 to 5167cc by lengthening the stroke, and fitting a 48-valve head: four valves per cylinder or Quattrovalvole in Italian. With new downdraft 44 DCNF Weber carburettors it produced a heady 455bhp at 7000rpm – way ahead of a Testarossa, even the final 440bhp F512 M. The body and chassis were almost unchanged from the preceding model, with just slightly wider front tyres (still Pirelli P7s, of course) and a big ‘hump’ over the engine compartment to clear the new carbs the only giveaways.
And That Wing, which had been an option since the LP400 S but was now very much de rigueur on the new car – even with its price tag of around $5000 in the US, and the fact that it was never really needed as the Countach rarely suffered from rear-end lift.
Zero to 62mph came up in barely 5.2 seconds and testers could nudge 190mph. It was both a colossally fast machine and a typically 1980s supercar. Like padded shoulders and extravagant hairstyles, the Countach announced its presence in a very different manner from the understated styles of the fifties and early sixties. The LP5000S QV was a car that was buying!, selling! – and definitely going places at very high speeds.
Delivered new to a Swiss customer via Lausanne-based distributor CODECO S.A. in September 1986, this LP5000S QV was finished in quintessential 1980s style: Bianco paintwork with matching Bianco leather. It came with that other must-have of the period, a multi-buttoned Alpine hi-fi, and rear spoiler.
The car has been meticulously maintained at Lamborghini specialists and its service book is stamped as follows:
5,000km service: at 4,900km, 10/7/1988 by Karl Ruf AG, Schleinikon, Switzerland
10,000km service: at 15,000km, 9/8/1989 by Karl Ruf AG, Schleinikon, Switzerland
15,000km service: at 16,143km, 3/3/1998 by Elite Garage, Zuzwil, Switzerland
25,000km service: at 25,380km, 9/6/2011 by Garage Affolter, Porrentruy, Switzerland
As can be seen from the final service stamp, the recorded figure of 25,380km substantiates the current reading of less than 26,000km.
According to Lamborghini factory records, no more than 300 carburettor (a less powerful fuel-injected version with catalysts was available in the US), first-generation Countach QVs were built. This is one of approximately 30 cars delivered to Switzerland, and is believed to be one of the last. Already Swiss-registered, it represents a unique opportunity for a Swiss collector to own a pre-emissions carburettor Countach that would never be allowed in today’s highly regulated environment.
It comes with the original owner’s manual, stamped service book, tools and all invoices, and will be serviced by Italy’s leading Lamborghini specialists, Top Motors, prior to delivery to its new owner.
“The quattrovalvole Countach is presently the supercar to beat.” That was the verdict from Autocar in May 1985. With Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms riding high at the top of the British album chart that month, what better cassette to play on this icon of the 1980s’ Alpine hi-fi?
Lamborghini Countach production figures 1974 – 1990
LP400 ‘Periscopica’- 150
LP400S - 237
LP5000S - 321
LP5000S QV - 618
25th Anniversary - 670
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