Buy the Countach Periscopio owned by Lamborghini's saviour

Walter Wolf's custom Countach helped keep Lamborghini alive, and now his first edition of the car is being auctioned

One of the greatest underdog stories in Formula 1 sourced its funding, and name, from Walter Wolf, the man who ensured future Lamborghini models – following the like of this 1974 Lamborghini LP400 Countach 'Periscopio' – were a possibility.

Renowned by Lamborghini enthusiasts as the saviour of the Italian supercar marque, Wolf amassed an impressive car collection, with perhaps his most admired vehicle is heading for sale at Rétrombile. And you thought the Countach from The Cannonball Run was special...

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Financial issues at Lamborghini resulted in Wolf parting with his own money to keep the company afloat, single-handedly responsible for the production of later Countach vehicles. He undertook such financial efforts as a favour to old friend, and ex-Lamborghini designer, Gian Paolo Dallara.

It was Bertone who handled the original Countach design though, and the early prototype model featured a central periscope mirror to assist with poor visibility. It wasn’t included when the car went to production, but the dropout for it in the roof remained.

Just over 150 were built before the periscope was dropped, but the shape of the Countach remained the real attraction; it’s low, angular and aggressive shape proving just as popular as the smooth surfaces of its Miura predecessor. It retained its rear-engine, rear-wheel drive setup, and added iconic scissor doors.

A 3.9-litre V12, with a 375bhp power output, sat longitudinally in the rear of the car, giving it the LP400 ‘longitudinale posteriore’ moniker. With it punching a small hole in the air, it was capable of a top speed of 167mph. This chassis was the 15th to be built, and retains its original engine and colour scheme.

Germany’s Lamborghini Classic Club has provided a certificate proving Wolf’s ownership, and this is further proven by the rear wing indicators that appeared on cars destined for Wolf’s home country of Canada. The standard Countach was not enough for Wolf, and later on he actually commissioned Dallara to build three ‘Walter Wolf’ 5.0L specials of the car, selling his own original car too. That was eventually acquired by an Austrian collector, who sold it on to its current vendor, a Lamborghini enthusiast who had the car serviced with its original engine four years ago.

Since then, chassis no. 1120030 has driven little on the road, and has an odometer that reads at a lowly 20,104km. The tan leather interior has barely been sat in, and therefore is in lovely condition. For a car of its rarity, design and significance, the estimate price of €900,000 - €1,100,000 (£794,800 - £971,450, $1,022,900 - $1,250,200) is well worth it.

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