12k Genuine Miles: 1988 Lamborghini Countach

One of the most popular automotive posters to grace the bedroom walls of teenage boys during the 1980s featured a red Lamborghini Countach. For those boys the world over, the Countach was the stuff of dreams, of automotive fantasy. The fact that the Marcello Gandini designed Lamborghini remained in production for 16-years was something of a miracle. You see, many of the people who owned the earlier versions were more than happy to tell anyone who would listen that they were not a car that was easy to live with. By the time our feature car was produced, many of the vehicle’s inherent shortcomings had been addressed. They could still be difficult to live with, but the company was at least making progress. This stunning Countach is located in Miami, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay. If you have always fancied yourself behind the wheel of an Italian thoroughbred, then the BIN price on this one has been set at $340,000, but the option is there to make an offer.

The first thing that I will note about this stunning Nero (Black) Countach, is its originality. The car wears the US-spec bumpers that were a compulsory inclusion on the car from 1985. These are quite cumbersome when compared to those fitted to the Countach in other markets, and it wasn’t unusual to find that these had been swapped on American cars after delivery. The second thing that stands out is the enormous rear wing. This was more about style than substance, and it also tended to obscure what little rearward visibility was available in a Countach as standard. The distinctive scissor doors are ground-breaking in design, and for most motoring enthusiasts, they are instantly recognizable as a Countach feature. They actually serve a couple of practical (albeit accidental) purposes. The first is that the Countach is not a small vehicle, and when parked in a relatively confined (by Countach standards) space, regular doors would severely limit the ability of occupants to get in and out of their vehicles. By opening upwards, this helps to alleviate this issue. The second practical purpose is that by opening upwards, they afford the driver an additional visibility option when reversing a Countach. While it might seem like the sort of stunt that you would see on a TV show, more than one Countach owner has propped themselves on the door sill while reversing their car, because this greatly improves rearward visibility. Those doors allow this as an option. The final thing that stands out on a Countach of this era is the rear tires. They are enormous! In fact, when Lamborghini began fitting the Countach with the 345/35 VR 15 rear tires in 1978, they were the widest tires that had ever been fitted to a production car anywhere in the world and were made exclusively for Lamborghini by Pirelli. In fact, the Countach maintained this record until the Bugatti Veyron was released in 2005, and finally moved the benchmark upwards.

The Panna (Cream) interior trim of the Countach looks really inviting. The hand-stitched leather upholstery appears to be close to perfect, which is no surprise in a car that has only managed to accumulate a genuine 12,400 miles during its 31-year lifetime. The seats look great, but this is not an interior that is easy to get into, or more importantly, out of. This is especially true if you are a bit older, or not as flexible as you once were. Having said that, the Countach is actually a better proposition than many of its contemporaries, as those wide sills can allow for a better hand-hold, or halfway point, when trying to get out of the car. With some of the low-slung sports cars of this era, the easiest way to get out of them is to simply roll out onto the ground, which isn’t particularly elegant. When I mentioned rearward visibility earlier, you can get some idea of how bad it can be in a Countach when you look at the tiny rear window. It is less of a window than it is a mail slot.

Sadly, the owner doesn’t provide any photos of the engine, which is a 5,167cc V12. This is fitted with Bosch fuel-injection and produces 420hp. Those horses are sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transaxle. The introduction of fuel-injection was a quantum leap forward with the Countach, as previously, the engine had been fed by a bank of six dual-throat Weber carburetors. These were incredibly difficult to keep correctly tuned, and it was said to be quite common to be surrounded by the distinct odor of unburnt fuel when driving an early Countach. The fuel-injection addressed this, but the enormously wide tires and heavy steering made the car less than pleasant at anything much below highway speeds. Still, speed was what a Countach was all about. A 1988 Countach could accelerate from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, dispatch the ¼ mile in 12.8 seconds, and haul on up to an eventual top speed of 183mph. None of these figures look particularly shabby, even when compared to the crop of supercars that have emerged from various manufacturers in the past 20-years or so. Included with the Lamborghini is all of the original factory manuals, tools, and keys.

At the end of the day, nobody is going to seriously buy a Lamborghini Countach as a daily driver. These are a car that has a touch of theatre about them, and where every journey is more of an event than a commute. Like so many Italian sports car that originally emerged in the early 1970s, they are a car that is more about style than substance. If you want a car that possesses “pose” value, then a Countach has this in spades. They might not be the most practical or rewarding cars to drive, but I would be willing to guarantee that you would never forget the experience of driving one.

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Comments

  1. theshiftpattern

    I was a kid in the ‘80s and I had a poster of a black one just like this on my wall!

    4
    • Sandy Claws

      If I had been a kid then I think my poster would have been Farrah Fawcett in that red swimsuit. (if you are going to dream, dream big! Given my choice of the two, she wins hands down. Fancy car or Farrah in my bedroom, hmmmm? Yep, no contest there, sorry boys. ) Nothing against the car, though they never interested me.

      2
  2. Sheffieldcortinacentre

    Me to had a very large poster of a black one plus another which had 3 on it black,red,white with ” decisions” beneath it.
    I’ve never been a supercar fan but the use of one in the opening scenes of the cannonball run seemed to perfectly fit the up yours attitude to the double nickel speedlimit

    6
  3. Too late

    Me” Too”

    1
    • Dusty Stalz

      Great, now we have the grammar police here.

      7
  4. Dave

    How’d you folks get my phone to play Jan Hammer when I clicked on this?

    4
  5. Coventrycat

    Mine was the Alpine radio poster with a red one. The cars that I have seen at shows are driven by seniors, and watching them trying to get out – even with help – will make you cringe.

    6
    • Danh

      Ditto with Alpine!

    • t-bone Bob

      Yep, Alpine poster with a red one. Still have it.

  6. CanuckCarGuy

    Thought these were awesome cars back in the day…but like the fluorescent suspenders and t-shirts, they just don’t carry the same appeal now.

    2
  7. ccrvtt

    To me the whole point of the Countach was to be outrageous. It was both an impossible dream and a monumental put-on. Adrienne Barbeau’s traffic ticket scene in the Cannonball Run summed it up perfectly.

    It’s the extremes in culture that help to advance our thinking. A Countach is a creature of whimsy and playfulness that reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.

    We should be grateful to people like Feruccio Lamborghini and Marcello Gandini for giving us these touchstones of sheer imagination.

    BTW – I have a poster of a C6R hanging in my garage. And I have a VERY pretty wife…

    8
  8. Rex Kahrs Member

    I have my own testosterone, and don’t need this goofy looking transformer to prove anything to anybody. Sorry about your pen!s if you do!

    • Dave

      Glad to see the “Transformers” reference. The rest of it I’m missing somehow.
      Maybe it’s because I’ve reached the age where excess testosterone drastically increases my prostate cancer risk, but why bother perusing the site?

      I used to love walking around junkyards when I was a kid. 60 years have passed…the junkyards are all gone and walking isn’t a given anymore. This lets me remember those days which, by the way, is good mental exercise for those of us with early onset Alzheimers.

      4
  9. Jeremy

    Oh yeah, the girls ripping around in the Countach on Cannonball run. Music to the ears as it rows through the gears, bumping redline! Mmmm…

    3
  10. JoeNYWF64

    Those rear tires are $891 at tire rack – each.

    7
  11. JohnU

    Alot of jealousy in this weeks posts….

    3
  12. Bakyrdhero Member

    I didn’t realize the odometer is in kilometers in these cars. It’s a nice looking machine and I had a poster of a white one on my wall as a kid in when they were new. Owning a single Countach was a good representation of 80’s excess. The fact the people have collections of these now is a good representation of modern day excess. As an adult who appreciates the utilitarian nature of the Toyota’s I buy, this car has lost a lot of its luster for me. I’ll admit to watching a you tube video now and then just to listen to one of these go down the road!

    2
  13. Mark Holmstrand

    That front bumper, though. Yuk.

    1
    • Sirpike

      As the writer says most owners swapped them for the European spec ones , so much more pleasant on the eye .

      1
      • Ken Wittick

        Hey look, another ” barn find “.

        1
  14. Sirpike

    A friend used to lend me one of these and the first time I borrowed it I did the decent thing and pulled into a petrol station to fill the tank before returning the car , it was my lucky day because by chance I found the petrol cap without looking for it .
    Imagine shutting the door and walking around the car looking for it , and that was in the days before mobile phones . How embarrassing would that be , lol .

    1
  15. John

    Whenever I see a Countach article, without exception, I know how it’s going to start – –

  16. Steve H.

    I remember reading the write-up on the Countach many years ago in Car & Drivel. When buying one new, the wing was a $5k option and actually made the car slower. So C&D’s advice was that not ordering the rear wing was one of the cheapest speed secrets they’d ever seen.

    3
  17. Louis Q Chen

    I was lucky enough to have owned one, an ’88 white courtesy of my late wife…”She was very rich!” Yes the leather seats are comfy if you drive for short distance! The cabin was tight and it was blast to drive. I had the opportunity to drive this best on a stretch of Cali desert freeway between Barstow and Needles on the way to Laughlin Nev. This stretch was pretty cool because C.H.P. more or less allowed you to go as fast as your car can and they’re partolled by helicopters and the old Mustang GTs. I was also lucky in that I was trained on the German Autobahns where you can cruise 225 kph. The scary thing was the faster you go, it seemed like you’re at 55mph! The other negative on this “dream amchine” is try not to try to back into a parking space. You basically have half of your body sticking out at the mercy of the massive door. We still have this car but my younger son can fit in it. Due the law of gravity and expanding mid section and various aches and pains, I simply can not contort my body into it! So sorry Gina, I can’t take you out on date anymore! :( :( :(

  18. bog

    Never had any of the posters you folks are talking about. Agree with the few ( one ?) that lived in Europe and drove the Autobahns as I did. Also had a nice vacation in Italy and through the Alps. Lambos, and Ferraris (or other cars of that ilk) are mostly built for folks that have access to high speed highways or can afford any speeding ticket elsewhere. Or cruise slowly in Monaco. Downside for me, I was and still am too tall to fit/drive comfortably..and now old. I believe my Lotus Europa had an even tinier back window, and big flying buttresses, so backing that was not easy either, and no scissor doors…

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