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Top Gear's Classified ad of the week
Planet Earth in the eighties - what a wonderful world it was. There were men called Vince, unisex trousers, and everything on wheels was white. Brilliant, toilet white.
Then there were the Lamborghinis. Back then they were built for top speed, acceleration and handling… in that order. Which meant, unlike their millennial offspring - messrs Aventador and Gallardo, which are as pliant as a big Audi - they wanted to kill you. Right in the face.
We’ll forgive the life-fond among you for thinking that this is a giant leap forward for the Italian manufacturer. But there’s a part of us that misses the old cars’ willingness to kill you, which moved us to rummage through the classified ads to find the most murderous of the lot. If you didn’t have one on your drive, you had one on your wall. The V12 battleship to end V12 battleships - the Countach 500S (5000S in the US).
Styled by Bertone - them that unveiled the Nuccio concept at this week’s Geneva motor show, drew the 1961 Aston DB4 Jet, Lambo Miura (watch Richard Hammond drive one here) and, err, Citroen Xantia - it was made almost entirely of flat, trapezoidal panels. It also got something of a Lambo trademark: front-hinged scissor doors. But it wasn’t just an exercise in design onanism; the car’s tubular spaceframe chassis made the sills high and wide, and because of its girth a normal door needed too much space to open.
And you could barely see a thing out of it, which is probably for the best - the fleeting seconds before you met your maker are filled with soft leather and brushed aluminium, not the large tree you’re about to be smeared up.
The main cause for its life-ending proclivities is under the skin. There’s a 4754cc engine snorting through six double carburetors and kicking 375bhp and 302 lb ft directly into your back. It’ll do 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds and keep going till 164mph. Which is pretty good by today’s standards - 28 years ago it was Miami-Vice mental.
There’s no known figure for the survival rate of the 321 Countach 500S’s built, but this triple-white wedge has made it to 2012 unscathed. It’s only done 12700 miles from new - that’s 453 miles a year - and just two Vinces have owned it.
Now the good bit; the reckoning. It’ll set you back £129,000.
This or an Aventador, TopGear.commers?