One-Off 1985 Lamborghini Countach QV Downdraft Is Headed to Auction

It was the original press car used to launch the iconic supercar.

byChris Chin| PUBLISHED Nov 8, 2019 7:45 AM
One-Off 1985 Lamborghini Countach QV Downdraft Is Headed to Auction

The Lamborghini Countach is one of history's most instantly recognizable supercars. Now, an example of perhaps its most coveted form, a Countach QV Downdraft, will soon be heading to the Russo and Steel Collector Automobile Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona for its 20th anniversary next January.

Over the Countach’s 16-year model run, the Italian exotic underwent a variety of changes and updates, resulting in different variants that range from the original LP400 model to the LP500 S versions later in the cycle.

This rare QV “Downdraft” however is one of the rarest of them all. Also known as the LP5000 Quattrovalvole, this high-performance, top-specification Countach is the fastest and most powerful version of the Countach’s entire production run. Less than one-third of all the 1,983 Countachs made, or roughly 380 in total, were given the Downdraft makeover.

Its Quattrovalvole designation also signified the use of four valves per cylinder over the original two-valve arrangement on the earliest Countach models. This, of course, translated to a considerable hike in power—about 455 horsepower in total with 369 pound-feet of torque.

Amazingly, the Downdraft Countach was a homologation car for the legendary FIA Group B series, specifically the Prototype Class, meaning its direct rivals were among the likes of the Ferrari 288 GTO and the Porsche 959. One of the regulations to compete in the category was that manufacturers had to produce a certain number of street-legal, road-going production versions of its race models before they could officially enter the series.

Lamborghini commenced production of the QV Downdraft in 1985, though because of the cancellation of Group B over safety concerns, the Countach never got the chance to compete. But that didn’t stop Lamborghini from producing them and selling them privately.

All that said, this isn’t any ordinary Countach QV Downdraft.

This specific car was actually one of the factory press models commissioned by Lamborghini for media use. Had The Drive been around in 1985, this is the exact Countach we would've driven to provide our readers with an in-depth review when new. It was also the photo subject for the Countach’s press and advertising materials during the car’s debut at the 1985 Geneva Auto Salon.

Featuring the iconic Bianco Polo Park white exterior with a Rosso red interior, it was also the first Countach QV Downdraft imported to the U.S. by Al Copeland, the owner and founder of the famous fast-food chicken franchise, Popeyes. It has since remained in a private collection at the Copeland Museum for the past 15 years, accumulating just 9,750 miles after undergoing a restoration valued at around $300,000.

There isn’t a listed sale price on the car, but Drew Alcazar, a spokesman for Russo and Steel, told The Drive that it’s estimated to go for as much as $650,000 to $750,000.