Sensational Shop Find: 1982 Lamborghini LP500S Geneva Show Car

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Marcello Gandini must have been thrilled when Lamborghini came knocking (again) to ask him to design a spectacular car – and the sharp-edged, scooped, flared result actually made it to production. Finally, excess leads to success! The first Countach stormed onto the stands at Geneva in 1971 but cars didn’t roll off the line until 1974, coinciding with Ferruccio Lamborghini’s retirement. The wickedly fast supercar sold 150 units at premium prices, and when the first update came, sales rose to 235 copies. In 1982, the third update arrived. The new 5.0 liter V12 engine supplied more horsepower and much more torque though the performance was about equivalent to the earliest Countach – and sales rose again. Here at DriverSource in Texas is the first Countach made in 1982 to introduce the LP (longitudinal posterior) 500S, the exact car shown in Geneva, with an asking price of $695,000 firm. Thanks to Mitchell G. for this fabulous tip!

The car’s history includes ownership from 1985 by Carlos Cavazo, guitarist for Quiet Riot. He purchased the car after the first owner imported it to the US. Apparently, Mr. Cavazo drove the car regularly, as the odometer reads 66,198 km. One of those drives turned sour, and the car was delivered by tow truck to Franco’s European Sports Cars in 2001. “Service” turned into the notion of restoration, and the car sat, awaiting the attention of both owner and shop for two decades. Tragically, Franco Barbuscia passed away in 2021, perhaps forcing a decision around the car’s prospects. The car has been verified by experts as the show car; details such as the “5S” badging, LP 400S fenders, and stampings on the boot lid and valve covers corresponding to the body number confirm the car’s identity.

From the factory, the 375 bhp, 5.0 liter V12 breathed through six Weber carburetors, but in order to federalize this car so it could pass emissions, the Webers were ditched for a BMW-type fuel injection system. Unfortunately, the Webers have gone missing. The listing does not indicate whether the car runs or not, but in its original trim, the car scooted from zero to sixty in about 5 seconds and could reach 186 mph.

You wear the interior rather than sitting in it. The mouse fur dash fabric is nearly perfect, but the console does show some wear. The car comes with documentation, its tool kit, and an unused rear wing. Close examination shows the paint is more than dirty, it’s also worn; the new owner will need to decide how far to go with a restoration because as we all know, they’re only original once. Turning to value, we note that this car was for sale with Gooding in March, at a price of $785,000. The current price is a premium over the going price for an “ordinary” LP 500S: two examples recently failed to find buyers with low estimates in the $500k to $625k range. What do you think, is this the right price for this car?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Howie

    Why not clean it up before the sale? And also why in a dark warehouse?

    Like 5
    • SubGothius

      Presentation to support the backstory, and to set realistic expectations that the car needs work, not a turn-key buy and drive proposition.

      Like 4
  2. scott m

    You know how to pick them Michelle! I’m about 90% right guessing you, and it’s sometimes a horse (power?) race with Russ and Adam! Barnfinds has gotten a little wider and wiser with age, I just hope we never lose the true rat nest barn finds and humor that keeps this site what it started with ;^}

    Like 2
    • Michelle RandAuthor

      I hear you. Barn cars, field cars, abandoned shop cars – they’re the best. I liked the ratty-ness of this one – as exotic as it is – with twenty years sitting in a shop. We probably all know of cars that have sat on shop floors for years, waiting for… what? One of my favorite mechanics, now long passed, took cars in lieu of money when customers couldn’t pay their bills. He had an AC Greyhound on his floor for at least fifteen years. One day he said to me, hey, you want to restore this car with me? I passed, because it seemed …. expensive! complicated! and not very pretty. However, I did get my ’68 Midget that way, sort of. A dealer I knew loaned a kid money in return for his awful Midget. The car had the wrong everything, all the panels and the windshield were from some year other than its title stated – ’68 – none of them the same year, it was dirty white, had no brakes, had a wrecked front valence. BUT. It ran better than any British car I ever owned. I waited until the kid reneged on the loan payment, and bought the car from Tom. We pushed it down the street to my mechanic, who fixed the brakes. That was …. 25 years ago? about that. I still have that car and it still runs just as well, maybe better. Love that car.

      Like 15
      • EuromotoMember

        Michelle, will you marry me?

        Like 0
  3. Steveo

    I’m sitting here trying to count up the number of times I forgot that I had left an exotic car for service. I really should work out a better system than just scratching out notes to myself on scraps of paper and stuffing them into my pockets.

    Like 12
  4. Nick P

    Ahhh, the Countach. Every kid in the 80’s had one hanging on their bedroom wall. I’ve always been a musclecar guy, but had this and the required Testarossa posters to match. These were the ultimate. When I was 10, a local Ford dealer who was friends with my grandfather pulled up at his yearly VIP party on Lake George and I got the opportunity to sit in it. I was on the moon. Still have the framed photo that hung on my wall until I went away to college. Lol

    Like 9
  5. gippy

    Ahh- the Countach- the dream of all the young hopefuls in the 80’s. There were kits multiplying like rabbits from simple VW floor pan based units to full on space frames with a variety of high powered motors. Like all kit/replicas most of them languished unfinished for years, and then along came the Diablo and the Countach suddenly looked outdated and many of those kit builders just gave up.

    Like 1
  6. Big C

    This was Carlos Cavazo’s Lambo? Check under seats and in the glove box. I heard it was always snowing in LA in the 80’s.

    Like 4
  7. Jerry Becker

    Can’t see or hear the name LAMBO without getting bumbed out over losing my new 88 Jalpa. White, decked out with all of the ground effects. 156 mph twice each time I drove it. Southbound on the New York State Taconic Parkway and then Northbound on the same. So beautiful it made Ferrari owners slouch down when I drove by. Engine couldn’t take it. Sorry I didn’t know it needed to be babied and not driven. Don’t hate me. I have to live with the memories daily😑

    Like 5
  8. Maggy

    The shop it was in is a good example of …tomorrows another day we’ll get to it then. Franco should have taken a big deposit from the owner to make sure he’s serious and got it done timely in a contract. I’ve seen and heard of this happening many times not only with cars but other valuables too.

    Like 2
  9. SubGothius

    The scoops and flares and (thankfully absent here) rear wing were not part of Gandini’s original design, which was far sleeker for it. The side NACA ducts and bumped-out air scoops above them had to be added for adequate cooling by the time the series production began. Wheelarch flares were added later to make room for wider tires to handle increasing engine output.

    Like 0
  10. newport pagnell

    Cum On Feel The Noize!

    Like 1
  11. John B. Traylor

    I understand they are a real beast to back up.

    Like 0

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