Recent models like the Lamborghini Huracán are obviously better cars, and incredibly easy to drive, largely thanks to Audi’s more sensible German influence, but there something about the Countach that is so special.
The car was produced from 1974 until 1990 and for men of a certain age, who did most of their growing up in the 1980s, this car was the epitome of automotive glamour.
The sharp angles, the low ride (it was only a meter high), those scissor doors and the spoiler that looked like it had come of the back of a Transformer.
In that decade the poster makers Athena has two classics. If you were a girl you had the topless guy holding baby and if you were a boy you probably had the poster of the red Countach on the black background.
It represented success, money, glamour and featured in popular culture as the signifier of all those things. It was a regular in Miami Vice, such has here being chased by Don Johnson while a Van Halen track played. And there it was in the opening scene of Rain Man with all the Lamborghini Countach cars being loaded for shipment by Tom Cruise. And in the opening scene of The Cannonball Run with the black Countach (driven by Farah Fawcett in a day-glo jumpsuit) being chased by the police. This was a car that said fun and abandon. And that sound the engine makes at 2:37 on the linked clip is pure music.
The problems was, however, it was unreliable and uncomfortable to drive – you were practically lying down. So when the Countach 25th Anniversary edition was unveiled at the 1988 Grand Prix at Monza it was a final hurrah for the model before the long-awaited Diablo replaced it.
This new Countach retained the same visual flamboyance and performance of the existing 5000QV specification, but featured nearly 500 subtle updates (including electric windows and air-con that actually worked) intended to improve both aesthetics and passenger comfort.
The 25th Anniversary Edition was the most polished of all the models. It was also the fastest and will pull 0–97 km/h in 4.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 295 km/h (183 mph). Not crazy by modern standards, but still enough to raise a smile on the autostrada.
This one for sale by Sotheby’s has under 3,500km on the clock and while it’s not a hugely rare car – it turned out to be the best-selling Countach ever made shifting 667 units – it is hard to find one in this condition with such low millage.
It is expected to go for around €300,000 at the auction in Paris.