1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 'Periscopica'
Chassis no. 1120126
Engine no. 1120126
3,929cc DOHC V12 Engine
Six Weber Carburetors
375bhp at 8,000rpm
5-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
*Exceptionally well presented 'Periscopica' Countach
*Few long-term owners and just over 53,000 kilometers from new
*Matching numbers example
*Presented in the original color combination
*One of just 150 built
The Lamborghini Countach
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. The origin of the car's nickname is both well known and unclear. The person who bursted 'countach!' on first seeing the new Lamborghini is unknown, but in the Piedmontese dialect expression, it roughly means; 'holy smokes!' and pretty much explains the car to most. As Motor magazine observed, "few people gazing at the original Bertone Countach at Geneva in 1971 could have regarded it as anything but a "show" car. There were those fold-up doors for a start and the space-age cockpit with its abysmal rear visibility not to mention the strange engine/transmission configuration." Happily, Lamborghini disregarded criticism, and boldly the Countach entered production with only minor details changed.
The Miura's four-cam V12 was retained for the Countach, though this time installed longitudinally and equipped with side-draught Weber carburetors. 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 gear change and a better-balanced car than the Miura. When production began in 1974, the Countach sported an improved chassis and the standard 4.0-liter instead of the prototype's 5.0-liter engine. Even with the smaller engine producing 'only' 375bhp, the aerodynamically efficient Countach could achieve 170mph and, naturally, roadholding to match. Designated 'LP400' (LP = Longitudinale Posteriore) by the factory, the first Countach is commonly known as the 'Periscopica', after its central periscope, faired into the roof, which provided rearward vision.
Just 150 of these early Periscopica Countachs were built between 1974 and 1977, and they remain the absolute purest iteration of what would became Lamborghini's signature design profile until this day. This landmark designed pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look of the modern-era supercar a very memorable mark in the automotive historical timeline.
The Motorcar Offered
The exceptional example of Lamborghini's original LP400 'Periscopica' Countach offered here, chassis no. 1120126, was produced in the model's second production year, 1975. According to the Certificato d'orgine, Lamborghini S.p.A's official certificate of authenticity issued for 1120126, the car was finished by the factory as seen today, in Rosso Lamborghini, the burnt orange-red over a Nero (black) interior. As all LP400's, 1120126 was fitted with a kilometers per hour speedometer and Celsius temperature gauges.
The car is believed to have crossed the Atlantic for delivery to its first owner, a member of the Bronfman family, who owned The Seagram Company, Ltd, once the world's largest distillers of alcoholic beverages. By 1978 the Countach came into ownership of another Canadian, Arnold 'Arnie' Sylvester, who would keep the car until 1991, when purchased though a California-based broker by Ypsilanti, Michigan resident, David Gamret.
Mr. Gamret purchased a very well cared for car; both Bronfman and Mr. Sylvester appeared to have taken exceptional care of the exclusive supercar over the years, and with just over 40,000 kilometers from new, the car appeared original and preserved in every way. 1120126 remained in Mr. Gamret's ownership until recently, and has benefitted from excellent stewardship while in his care as well. A detailed maintenance log has been kept, supported by an abundance of receipts from both cosmetic and mechanical refurbishments performed during the past two decades. The work has all been done by specialist shops around the country with genuine Lamborghini parts sourced wherever possible. The work includes installation of new exhaust mufflers in 1993, and a full brake system refurbishment in 1998, where all four brake calibers and the clutch slave cylinder were rebuilt by White Post Restorations. In 2001, Jon Hammond and his Haslett, Michigan based restoration shop performed a bare metal re-spray, and finally in 2007, 1120126's original, matching numbers engine was refurbished by Stuart Plant. The original Campagnolo wheels have also been restored, using the exact correct paint, and then fitted on the classic Michelin XWX tires. Shown at the 2008 Meadowbrook Concours d'Elegnace, the 'Periscopica' Countach must have looked the part in the gathering of the Grand Classics.
With just over 53,000 kilometers since new, and few devoted owners' careful attention to detail, 1120126 must be one of the best kept and most original LP400s around today. The interior remains original, as do the glass and trim work. The car presents as a low mileage, correct example, surely the best way to buy one of these delicate thoroughbreds. With its matching numbers engine intact, and still in its original color combination, 1120126 has been spared of later-model spoiler and wing upgrades. A very important car for its era, the car that ushered in the era of the modern supercar, here is an exceptional example of the original Countach.