• This 1975 Lamborghini Countach is an early LP400 "Periscopio" model.
• Although thoroughly outrageous, the LP400 has a clean design compared to the later bewinged models.
• This one is up for sale on Bring a Trailer, with the auction ending on Friday, June 3.
Lamborghini effectively created the supercar genre with the stunning Miura of the late 1960s. Following up such a landmark design is a prospect that might have paralyzed most designers, but Bertone's Marcello Gandini was up to the task. His Countach was absolutely nothing like the Miura and yet equally monumental.
The Countach made its debut at the 1971 Geneva auto show, but Lamborghini's financial situation being what it was (a hot mess), production didn't start until 1974. The early cars are the purest expression of Gandini's vision with their incredible proportion, outlandish scissor doors, and wild surface treatment. One key element that gives them their "Periscopio" designation: a groove cut into the roof that allows for a (limited) rear view over the mid-mounted V-12.
This 1975 example on Bring a Trailer, which like Car and Driver is part of Hearst Autos, has that feature, but it didn't always. Although the car is today in its as-built configuration and color (Tahiti Blue), at some point in its past, a previous owner performed a tragically ill-advised update, adding fender flares and a rear wing, converting to a flat roof, and repainting it red. An exhaustive restoration in 2017—which is cataloged in the listing in great detail—put the car back to its original spec. This Lambo's class win at the 2019 Las Vegas Concours d'Elegance attests to the quality of the work.
Move beyond the outlandish exterior, and there's more to love. The interior of this early car has some fun details such as the lounge-like seats, the gated shifter, the crank windows, and a vertical odometer. The odo shows 14,000 miles.
Not everyone will appreciate this Countach's denuded form. Those of a maximalist bent might prefer this 1989 25th Anniversary Edition, also up for auction. At this writing, bidding on the "Periscopio" stands at $750,000. This is the earliest Countach ever to be auctioned on BaT, and it will be interesting to see whether it surpasses the previous top sale, a 1987 Countach 5000 QV with fender flares and a rear wing, in red. That one went for $860,000. The current auction ends on Friday, June 3.