This is the Lamborghini Countach LP500 that was shown to the world at the 1982 Geneva Motor Show, from there it was photographed by the world’s media, ending up in newspapers and magazines from England to Ecuador.

This car was the first Lamborghini Countach LP500 S made, of the 321 produced in total, and it ended up in the longterm ownership of Quiet Riot lead guitarist Carlos Cavazo who acquired it in 1985 and then kept it for 35 years. The car is now being offered for sale out of long-term storage requiring a restoration.

Fast Facts – The Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

  • The Lamborghini Countach LP500 S was first shown to the world at the 1982 Geneva Motor Show. It was Lamborghini’s newest version of the Countach, a model that had originally been showcased at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show.
  • The LP500 S Countach, also known as the 5000 S in some markets, featured a larger 4,754cc (4.8 liter) version of the Lamborghini V12 engine, with largely the same bodywork as its predecessor and a newly updated interior. 321 were produced in total before the arrival of the LP5000 Quattrovalvole in 1985.
  • The Lamborghini Countach would remain in production from 1974 until 1990, a remarkable 16 year production run. It was succeeded by the Lamborghini Diablo which although popular, never quite attainted the same cult status as its forebear.
  • The car you see here is the first Lamborghini Countach LP500 S that was made, it’s also the original Geneva Motor Show display car from 1982. It was bought by Quiet Riot lead guitarist Carlos Cavazo in 1985 and he kept the car for 35 years.

The Arrival Of The Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

The Lamborghini Countach LP500 S arrived at a critical juncture for the Italian automaker, they had been through years of financial strain and their halo model – the Countach – was now almost a decade old.

Lamborghini Countach LP500 S Geneva Motor Show 1982

Image DescriptionThis image shows the car on the display stand at the 1982 Geneva Motor Show. Image courtesy of Lamborghini.

Ferrari was hard at work developing their new Countach-competitor, the Ferrari Testarossa, and Lamborghini needed to do something to refresh their longstanding supercar and prepare it for its upcoming sales rival.

Finances weren’t available to develop an entirely new range-capping model and so Lamborghini engineers set about updating the car as best they could.

The earlier LP400 S had been released in 1978 with a radically changed body. The clean Marcello Gandini-styling of the original car was now gone, replaced with eye-catching fiberglass wheel arch extensions, an optional rear V-shaped wing, and a wrap-around front lip spoiler.

The LP500S, also known in some markets as the 5000 S, kept the updated body of its predecessor but added a larger and more powerful engine – now 4,754cc (4.8 liters) up from the earlier 3,929cc (3.9 liters) producing 368 bhp up from 350 bhp.

Lamborghini Countach LP500 S 9

Image DescriptionThe car still has its original white paint over a red leather interior.

The exterior of the car remained largely identical, however the interior was upgraded and it rode on the same wide 345/35R15 Pirelli P7 rear tires as the LP400 S with 205/50VR-15 Pirelli P7s up front.

The sales of the LP500 S were relatively good by the standards of Lamborghini at the time, they sold an average of over 100 per year.

It was clear in 1984 when the Testarossa debuted that they would need to do more to remain competitive and so a year later in 1985 they introduced the LP5000 Quattrovalvole – a version powered by an upgraded 5,167cc (5.2 liter) V12 now with four valves per cylinder rather than the original two – offering 414 bhp.

Lamborghini Countach LP500 S 1

Image DescriptionThe Lamborghini V12 in the Countach LP500 S has a displacement of 4,754cc (4.8 liters) and it produces 368 bhp at 7,500 rpm with 319 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.

Specifications: Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

  • The Lamborghini Countach LP500 S used fundamentally the same tubular steel frame as the earlier members of the model family.
  • The body was made from unstressed aluminum panels bonded to thin steel frames which were welded to the main chassis. Not a dissimilar arrangement to the famous Superleggera system.
  • It was fitted with independent front and rear suspension consisted of double-wishbones with coil springs and tubular shock absorbers.
  • Brakes were 10.5 vented discs front and back which were good enough for a 70–0 mph distance of 200 ft with a skilled driver at the wheel.
  • Power was provided by the larger displacement 4,754cc (4.8 liter) Lamborghini DOHC V12. This was the final version of the engine with two valves per cylinder, with the later version getting a quad valve arrangement.
  • This version of the V12 was good for 368 bhp at 7,500 rpm with 319 lb ft of torque at 3,600 rpm.
  • The transmission was a manual 5-speed with power sent to the rear wheels.
  • The top speed was listed in period reviews as being 160 mph without a rear wing attached, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds.
  • The starting price was $99,500 USD in 1982 dollars, however the vast majority of cars sold for well over $100,000 USD once some options boxes had been ticked. $100,000 in 1982 is the equivalent to $302,300 in 2023 dollars.
Lamborghini Countach LP500 S 21

Image DescriptionThe fiberglass wheel arch extensions on the later Countach variants have had both fans and detractors over the years – it certainly did suit the style of the 1980s though.

The 1982 Lamborghini Countach LP500 S Shown Here

The car you see here is possibly the most collectible version of the LP500 S of the 321 cars that were made. It’s the first production version of the car and the 1982 Geneva Motor Show car, and as it that wasn’t enough it benefits from long-term celebrity ownership.

After the show this car was sold in Italy to its first private owner who moved the car to Germany, and from there to the United States. In 1985 it was bought by Quiet Riot lead guitarist Carlos Cavazo who lavished it with upgrades including a fuel injection system in place of its original Weber carburetors.

Cavazo had it registered in California and kept it for 35 years, it was eventually placed in long-term storage at Franco’s European Sports Cars in Van Nuys, California in 2001.

Lamborghini Countach LP500 S

Image DescriptionOnce it’s had a full restoration, this will likely become one of the most desirable LP500 S ever made, if not the most desirable outright.

Ownership later passed to Franco Barbuscia in a trade and the car was disassembled for a restoration, though sadly Barbuscia passed away in 2021 and the project was halted as a result.

The selling dealer then bought the project from Barbuscia’s family inn 2022, it was then inspected by famed Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni before being reassembled. Importantly, the car retains its original engine and transmission, and its factory color combination of white over red leather.

It’s now being offered for sale out of Houston, Texas in non-running condition, in the hopes that a new owner will complete the restoration and return the car to the road. It’s being sold with an uninstalled rear wing, various spare parts, a tool kit, and a clean Montana title.

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Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Published by Ben Branch -