1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopica

Lamborghini may have made headlines with the highly exclusive, $4.5-million Veneno and the even more expensive Veneno Roadster that followed, but when it comes to classics sold at auction, their prices seldom approach the kind of figures attained by rare classics made by arch-rival Ferrari. Early 350 GTs and rare Miuras (like the SV prototype Gooding sold a few years ago for a record $1.7 million) have been known to breach the seven-figure mark, but now the Countach is making its way into the big leagues as well.

Pictured here is a rather exceptional early example sold by Bonhams in Connecticut last week. This 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 "Periscopica" – so dubbed for the unique rearview mirror fitted to the first 150 examples made – has just over 10,000 miles on the odometer. With flawlessly retouched Blu Tahiti (read: French racing blue) paint and an immaculate deep tan leather interior, the Periscopica was the subject of feverish bidding before selling for $1.2 million to a buyer present at the auction, beating out a dozen or so telephone bidders.

The record price for a Countach trumps the previous record, also set by Bonhams at the Quail Lodge last August, where another '75 Periscopica sold for $836,000. The rising prices surely reflect the coming of age for the Countach, now nearly 40 years since its introduction – particularly for the generation that grew up idolizing it as the prototypical supercar. Scope it out in the artful gallery of 76 high-resolution images above and the details of the auction below.
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Record Day at Bonhams Greenwich Auction

- Largest Ever Offerings Deliver Best Result in Sale History
- 1 Jun 2014, Greenwich Concours d'Elegance Auction

(June 2, 2014) Greenwich, CT – Standing room only crowds packed the Bonhams tent at the 7th annual Greenwich collector motorcar auction with the sale totaling in excess of $8 million dollars-besting last year's record breaking total by over 40%, with over 93% of lots offered finding new homes. The capacity crowd grew nearly silent as the catalog cover lot, a 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP 400 'Periscopica', sold for over $1.2 million dollars to a bidder seated in the front of the room, beating out over a dozen telephone bidders from around the world, doubling its presale high estimate and rocketing past the previous world record price for a Countach that Bonhams set at its Quail Lodge Auction in August of last year. Another front row bidder triumphed over the competition for a stunning external bonnet latch, flat floor 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8-Liter Roadster, among the first one hundred left-drive E-Types constructed, that sold for $335,500 while the one-of-a-kind 1966 Fitch Phoenix, which was Connecticut's own late, great John Fitch's unique road-going prototype, sold to a local buyer for $253,000 with a round of applause from the crowd.

Over one hundred collector vehicles crossed the block in the one day sale, attracting bidders worldwide with nearly a dozen countries represented, competing against the knowledgeable and enthusiastic collectors in attendance. An award-winning 1959 Fiat-Abarth 750 Record Monza Bialbero Coupe sold to a telephone bidder for $203,500 winning against the room, as did a 1959 Jaguar XK150S 3.4-Liter Roadster, also selling for $203,500.

"It was a record turnout at this year's Greenwich auction," Rupert Banner, Vice President and head of the Bonhams motorcar division East Coast said. "We were pleased to bring this year's expansive offering of quality motorcars to this wonderful event, and extend our most sincere thanks to all the attendees, the event organizers, and the loyal clientele who participated."

A 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster, a versatile and elegant tour car with provenance that includes a series of prominent collectors like Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance founding chairman Alton Walker, sold for $250,000, and the ex-Otto Zipper and William Harrah 1927 Amilcar CGSS Two Seater Sports, eligible for the world's top historical events such as the Mille Miglia, sold after an intense volley among bidders present and absentee, for $191,400-a new world record for the model. The 1910 Stoddard Dayton Model 10K Baby Tonneau, an excellent performing brass era car, sold for $170,500. An unrestored survivor, the 1963 Maserati 3500 GTi Superleggera Coupe was snapped up for $176,000 and a beautifully preserved 1973 Volvo 1800ES Sport Wagon with only 13,000 original miles sold for $92,000-a new world record for a Volvo motorcar.

Over 250 lots of automobilia began the day's auction action, with rare, circa 1920's historic photographs and vintage racing memorabilia from Ben Duncan, the ex-Peter De Palo Chief pit attendant selling for $26,250, well above the presale estimate of $3,000 – $5,000, to a collector keen on preserving this important piece of motorsports history. Porsche memorabilia and spares also excelled with an original Porsche Type 356 Speedster driver's manual selling for $4,000 against an estimate of $200-400. The crowd enthusiastically snapped up the offerings, with over 98% of the automobilia lots sold.

Full results are available on-line at: www.bonhams.com/greenwich. For more information about the Bonhams motorcar auctions, including the upcoming Quail Lodge sale in Carmel, California August 15th, please visit www.bonhams.com/motoring or contact the international motorcar department at (212) 461-6515 on the East Coast, and on the West Coast, (415) 391-4000.