A mirror trick earned early Countach the name Periscopio. One of these rare early models sat in a garage on a French island for years. The garage find fetched almost a million euros at an auction during the Rétromobile.
When Lamborghini showed a preview of the Miura successor with the LP 500 prototype 50 years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, the jaws of the entire car world dropped: Edges as if shaped with an axe, doors like guillotines, a longitudinally installed V12 between the rear axle and the driver. It was stuck at the very front between the front axle, windscreen and engine.
Periscopio: Kink in the roof
With corresponding consequences for the overview. The view goes ahead through the flat windscreen. And the look back? So Lamborghini came up with a trick for the Countach series model: the roof was given a kind of rear viewing channel in the middle, which is supposed to give an overview of the interior mirror and a small window. Of course, this is not a periscope, i.e. a viewing tube like that of a submarine. These early models were given the name "Periscopio" anyway. Lamborghini built the first 157 Countach with the vision channel, after which the roof became more conventional.
The ninth Countach built
The French auction house Artcurial auctioned the ninth Lamborghini Countach ever built on February 3, 2023 during the classic car fair Rétromobile in Paris. The car, chassis number 1120018, is the first Countach sold in France by importer Thépenier. The car was delivered in "Marrone" with an interior in "Senape". While the interior with the orange leather seats has been preserved, around 1980 the body was given a new metallic silver paint finish and a narrow red trim line.
Selling price: 953,600 euros
Shortly thereafter, on April 30, 1982, the sports car was registered to its second owner in Département 47, Lot-et-Garonne. The following year, the third – and so far last – owner came into play. He registered the car on May 2, 1983 in Département 17, Charente-Maritime. The doctor initially used the car daily for trips to his practice in a small town. However, because the car became too conspicuous for him over time, he left it in the garage for longer and longer and finally hardly moved it at all. ,
The last tax sticker is from 1996. In the early 2000s he finally put it in a garage on his property, which is on a small island off La Rochelle. According to the description, the condition of the Countach is quite decent, despite the long service life of around 20 years: there is little rust and the original interior only has a light patina, according to the auction text. Artcurial estimated the value of the early Countach at 800,000 to 1.2 million euros.The upper estimate was not reached: including the premium, the Countach cost 953,600 euros. So this Countach in unrestored condition brought in practically the same as another Periscopio that RM Sotheby's sold at the end of November 2021.
Sale price: 950,250 euros
November 23, 2021 - The 55th Countach ever built - and thus an early Periscopio - was auctioned off by RM Sotheby's on Friday, November 19, 2021. The sports car fetched a high price at the auction at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. The car was part of a collection of top-class automobiles put together by shipping company heir and classic car dealer Jean Guikas. The Countach was valued at between 750,000 and 900,000 euros and was offered with no reserve price. It was worth 905,000 euros to the highest bidder – including a premium for the auction house of 950,250 euros.
It got around: Italy, USA, France
The history of the Guikas Countach is as clear as the car: the Countach, which was still painted red at the time, was delivered to its first owner in Milan and went to its next owner in Bologna in 1977. The next year it was exported to the USA for the third owner in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Countach stayed there for 12 years. The super sports car then went to California to owners number four, five and six. During the 2003 California Concours, the car's designer Marcello Gandini signed the instrument panel. In 2006-2007 the Countach received an engine overhaul, and the body and interior were restored. The bill came to $60,000 (around €43,800 at the time). After the work was completed, the Lamborghini was sold back to Europe. When the Countach was painted black is unknown.
Early Countach, called Periscopio because of the viewing channel in the roof that allows you to look backwards via a mirror, fetch about twice the value of later models at auction: A car like this can cost around one million euros. This is also the middle estimate at which Artcurial rates the ninth Countach ever built. The model also has a clear history with only three previous owners and a long period in a garage. We will know what the rare Lamborghini really brings in early February 2023 when the sports car is auctioned off during the Rétromobile in Paris.