Hagerty recently reported about the rarity of restoration-case Ferraris on the market, but barn-find Lamborghinis seem to be a slightly more common occurrence. Back in 2019, RM Sotheby’s sold a Lamborghini Miura that had been sitting in a shed in the Black Forest since the 1970s for £1.25 million, just months after another had been sold for €560,000 in France. Now, another Lamborghini barn-find has been unearthed: this time a 1982 Countach LP500S (often known as the 5000S) that is being offered for sale at Historics auctioneers on 25 September at Ascot Racecourse.
Hagerty uses the term ‘poster cars’ to describe those models that used to be on every teenager’s wall in the 1980s. The most iconic of the lot was surely the airbrushed picture of a blue/black Countach 500S, and it seems as if it may have had a longer-lasting effect than poster company Athena original envisioned. For as those spotty 1980s youths reached middle age in the noughties and 2010s, some of them had made some money. And what better to spend it on, in their eyes at least, than a Countach, whatever the cost?
Values shot up as a result, and by 2017, they peaked: the most valuable model, the early ‘Periscopio’ LP400 reached an average in the UK Hagerty Price Guide of an astonishing £1.22m. Since then, values have settled down slightly, but our current average value of the same model is still a strong £808,250.
Of all the Countach models, the LP500S isn’t the most collectable as it falls between the prettier early cars and the much more powerful LP5000 QV. The latter packs 455bhp from its 5167cc engine, compared with 375bhp from the 4754cc LP500S; if you’re going to have a shouty, angular Countach, then one that makes a bigger noise and reaches 60mph in under five seconds is the one to aspire to.
That said, the LP500S that Historics is auctioning has a lot going for it. It’s an ultra-rare right-hand drive example, one of just 37 made. If you think that limits its reach, think again; the Countach is probably more popular in the UK than anywhere else: in the last ten years, only three Countach have been shipped from Europe to the US. Going the other way have been 23 cars, the most – 7 – coming here to the UK.
The Historics car also plays to the emotional buyer. This is a car that has been stripped down and prepared for a full restoration, but some of the mechanical work has already been done with engine and suspension already apparently refreshed, although some time ago. Pulled to pieces for a full respray in 2008, the owner never completed the project and it’s now awaiting the next owner’s personal stamp.
Two other factors may also act in the car’s favour. The first is the extraordinary sale of another LP500S by Gooding & Company in Monterey back in August, which achieved $720,000 (£522,500). Although Hagerty class this as an outlier – it was a special one-off factory build for the US importer and was the New York motor show car – a strong, recent auction sale can often push other values up, even of cars that aren’t directly comparable.
The second was the recent unveiling of the new Lamborghini LPI 800-4 Countach, the new 803bhp hybrid limited to just112 examples that has renewed interest in the classic Countach.
So, time to put the money on the table. Does this restoration case Countach stack up? Based on all the data that powers the Hagerty Price Guide, we think that Historics’ estimate of £145,000 to £180,000 is very tempting indeed. Even at the top figure, that’s significantly lower than our bottom ‘fair’ Price Guide value of £218,000 and if a restorer aimed for our ‘excellent’ condition – value £334,000 – that gives them significant leeway while returning the Countach to its former glory. We feel this could be the right car at exactly the right time, and will be there to watch the sale with interest.
From wreck to dream drive: Simon Kidston’s astonishing £400,000 restoration of a one-of-a-kind Lamborghini Countach LP400
The One That Got Away: Mike Brewer’s once-in-a-lifetime Lamborghini Urraco barn find
Where have all the shabby Ferraris gone?