FEA­TURE CAR

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car -

The owner of our fea­tured Countach LP5000S, like most of us, grew up with a bright-red poster on his bed­room wall por­tray­ing this spec­tac­u­lar­look­ing car. And, as the decades ticked by from the time that poster was pinned to his wall, the Countach earned its place at the pin­na­cle of the supercar pan­theon as one of the most strik­ing ve­hi­cles ever built — whether in its purest form, as penned by Mar­cello Gan­dini, or, as in the later ver­sions, cov­ered with a myr­iad of air in­takes, scoops, and wings.

Gaz­ing long­ingly at the bright-red rag­ing bull on that poster sparked a life­long pas­sion for Ital­ian cars in the young teenager’s heart, and, though a Countach didn’t fea­ture on his early shop­ping list, a suc­ces­sion of Alfa Romeos kept his love of sport­ing Ital­ian ma­chin­ery to the fore. His first Alfa — a Spi­der — was ac­quired when he was just 18 years old, and his undy­ing pas­sion for Ital­ian cars — es­pe­cially those wear­ing the charg­ing-bull badge, a logo rep­re­sent­ing Taurus, the zodiac sign of the com­pany’s founder Fer­ruc­cio Lam­borgh­ini — was fur­ther en­hanced when, in 1989, he vis­ited the Lam­borgh­ini fac­tory in Sant’agata Bolog­nese, Italy. There, with eyes wide open, he wit­nessed the last of the Coun­tachs rolling off the as­sem­bly line.

Pur­suit of a dream

Fast for­ward to 2009, and, with his suc­cess­ful busi­ness tick­ing away quite nicely, it was time to pur­sue that child­hood dream of own­ing a Countach be­fore he was too old to en­joy it — and so the quest be­gan.

The search was very spe­cific, and the ideal choice quickly fo­cused on one of the twovalves-per-cylin­der Coun­tachs, de­spite the fact that the four-valve (Qu­at­trovalv­ole, or QV) mod­els are con­sid­ered more de­sir­able be­cause they are more pow­er­ful. The rea­son for this de­ci­sion was based purely on the fact that the ear­lier V12 was rarer due to its much lower pro­duc­tion num­bers.

The pri­mary search be­gan on the in­ter­net, and a se­lec­tion of cars from around the world was con­sid­ered for suit­abil­ity, with a fi­nal short­list of five be­ing iden­ti­fied. Four of th­ese were lo­cated in the US — one each in San Diego, Con­necti­cut, Florida, and Seat­tle — while the fifth car was res­i­dent in Spain (not all of which ac­tu­ally fit­ted his cri­te­ria). Sen­si­bly, a de­ci­sion was made to travel to the US and in­spect the four cars lo­cated there, leav­ing the Span­ish car out of the equa­tion — un­less, of course, he felt the need to look at it should all else fail.

While in­spect­ing the West Coast–based cars, he test drove a pris­tine low-mileage ex­am­ple in San Diego. Af­ter set­ting out on a lengthy test drive along a per­fect wind­ing canyon road — four lanes wide with ab­so­lutely no traf­fic — he was able to stretch the long legs of the Countach’s 4.75-litre lon­gi­tu­di­nal-mounted V12, dis­cov­er­ing how sta­ble, smooth, and com­pli­ant the Lam­borgh­ini felt at rel­a­tively high speeds. It was his first drive in a car he’d been dream­ing about since his teenage years, and, al­though some­times re­al­ity just can’t mea­sure up to our dreams, in this case, it was love at first drive. With­out fur­ther ado, a deal was done.

This car had the added ad­van­tage of be­ing the eas­i­est, lo­gis­ti­cally, to ship back to New Zealand, and, just to make ev­ery­thing a lit­tle bit more spe­cial, the LP5000S that was soon be­ing pre­pared for the trip was the very last two-valve-per-cylin­der Lam­borgh­ini Countach to have rolled off the pro­duc­tion line, so it def­i­nitely ticked all the boxes.

The Countach ar­rived in the coun­try in late 2009 and breezed through the com­pli­ance process with­out any is­sues.

Since ac­quir­ing the car, the cur­rent owner has en­coun­tered no is­sues to speak of, ex­cept for — as with most low-mileage cars — a propen­sity for pesky oil leaks. How­ever, due to a strin­gent main­te­nance regime, per­formed by the owner him­self, the Countach is kept in per­fect run­ning con­di­tion at all times.

The owner — who prefers not to be named — would like to thank the Lam­borgh­ini Reg­is­ter in New Zealand (nz/ lambo.reg­is­ter@gmail.com) for its as­sis­tance and the en­joy­ment pro­vided by the oc­ca­sional club-or­ga­nized out­ing with like-minded Lam­borgh­ini en­thu­si­asts. A whole posse of Lam­borgh­i­nis — what a sight that must be!

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