The legendary Miura was always going to be a hard act to follow, so the extent to which its successor eclipsed the greatest of 1960s supercars came as something of a shock to all. The sensation of the 1971 Geneva Salon, the Countach was styled, like its predecessor, by Bertone's Marcello Gandini. Lamborghini's four-cam V12 was retained, though this time installed longitudinally. To achieve optimum weight distribution, designer Paolo Stanzani placed the five-speed gearbox ahead of the engine between the seats, and the differential - driven by a shaft passing through the sump - at the rear. The result was a delightful gearchange and a better-balanced car than the Miura. When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved chassis and the standard 4-litre - instead of the prototype's 5-litre - engine. Even with the smaller engine producing 'only' 375bhp, the aerodynamically efficient Countach could attain 170mph and, as one would expect, came with racetrack roadholding to match. The car's potentially largest market - the USA - remained closed to it until the arrival of the 'emissions friendly' LP500S in 1982. Although no more powerful than before, the newcomer's 4,754cc engine brought with it a useful increase in torque. The final development saw the engine enlarged to 5,167cc and new four-valves-per-cylinder 'heads adopted for the Countach Quattrovalvole in 1985, the latter's 300km/h (186mph) top speed making it at the time - the world's fastest car.
The Countach's ultimate development, considered by many to be the most desirable, arrived in September 1988. Launched at the Italian Grand Prix, Monza, this was the Anniversario, introduced to celebrate Lamborghini's 25th anniversary as a motor manufacturer. Restyled and updated, the Anniversario incorporated hundreds of subtle changes and improvements over the Quattrovalvole. The body was reworked by designer Horacio Pagani, creator of the Pagani Zonda, gaining a new nose and front bumper/spoiler incorporating front brake air ducts. US-destined cars retained the ugly '5mph' impact-resistant bumper, while the new rear bumper was common to both US and European models. The most striking difference in the Anniversario's appearance was in the treatment of the radiator air intakes directly behind the doors, which featured thicker vertical strakes, colour-matched to the body. Beneath the skin the chassis had been extensively updated for improved handling, its development assisted by none other than three-time World Rally Champion, Sandro Munari. Split-rim forged alloy OZ wheels were adopted for the Anniversario, shod with Pirelli's new 'P Zero' dual-compound asymmetrical-tread tyres. Available with carburettors in Europe or fuel injection in the USA, the V12 engine was virtually unchanged from the Quattrovalvole. In total, 657 Countach Anniversario models were made between September 1988 and April 1990, one of the many high-profile owners being ex-Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti.
Right-hand drive chassis number '12870' was acquired by the current vendor in April 2002 having previously belonged to one James Stewart Baillie of Stoke-on-Trent. Kept in heated storage and well maintained, the Countach has covered 31,856 kilometres (approximately 19,800 miles) from new and fewer than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) in the last nine years. There are various bills on file for general servicing issued by Gerald Dale Motorsport Ltd of East Sussex, and the car is described as in generally very good condition, running well.
Representing a rare opportunity to acquire what is widely regarded as the best road-going Countach in terms of handling and reliability, this well-maintained Anniversario comes complete with owner's handbook, tool kit and fitted cover, and is offered with MoT to October 2013 and Swansea V5C registration document.