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Wolf of Wall Street Lamborghini Countach heads to auction

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photos: Jeremy CLIFF/RM Sotheby’s

It appeared on screen for only a sliver of time in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street, but it made an indelible impression on the audience – and, thanks to clever movie editing, on several parts of the set.

The Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary that painlessly took Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, home from his country club is coming up for sale. This car, chassis KLA12722, is one of two used in the film, and depicted the movie’s ‘safe but slow’ emergency return trip, in order to stop his associate from alerting the authorities to his involvement with a Swiss financier. 

Contrary to various online reports, another car entirely was used for the ‘real’ trip home, in which a Quaalude-impaired Belfort bounces off several obstacles – a fact he only becomes aware of when he’s arrested the next morning. Several reports suggest the damaged parts of that car were auctioned off after shooting had finished; other report that it has been completely destroyed. However, according to RM Sotheby’s, this car still exists and still carries the war wounds inflicted during filming. Scorsese refused to use a replica model, as apparently “it wouldn’t crumple up properly”.

KLA12722, however, survived filming unscathed. It is one of just 12 US-specification 25th Anniversary examples produced in Bianco Polo over Bianco Countach. The 25th Anniversary was created to celebrate Lamborghini’s 25 years in business, and was mechanically similar to the 5000QV. This meant 414bhp with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, or 449bhp in European, six-Weber carburettor form. As a US car, it would have had fuel injection, and larger energy-absorbing bumpers to meet the American 5mph regulations – however, it’s believed many owners immediately removed the bumpers, or simply had the car delivered in visual European specification. All out you’d be cracking on for 185mph, having blasted past 62mph in 4.5 seconds.

The 25th Anniversary version was the last gasp for the Countach. The original plan was for a more radical re-engineering of the model, undertaken by Giulio Alfieri. Called the L150, it would involve many changes to the exterior panels with the aim of improving cooling, along with a more user-friendly interior. However, this was deemed to cost too much, especially as the Diablo was not far away. Instead, a more modest refresh of the QV was chosen, using elements developed for the L150. The big difference for the 25th Anniversary came from the Horacio Pagani-designed exterior. The front bumper was reprofiled with extra cooling vents for the forward brakes, while the sills featured Testarossa-style cooling ducts for the rear stoppers; this was a development of the treatment for late QV models. 

At the rear, the wing ducts were expanded and relocated. The main airboxes were extended and gradually smoothed to aid aerodynamics, while the secondary pair of ducts that were originally behind the main airboxes were moved further forwards and located on top of the rear wings. These changes, plus altering the fins from a longitudinal to transverse set-up, improved airflow from the radiators out through the secondary fins. The engine bay cover was also redesigned, with a centre-raised section with dual ducting.

These external changes drew heavily from the Countach Evoluzione mule car, and thus used Kevlar and carbonfibre-reinforced plastics. The suspension was also revised thanks to the fitment of Pirelli P Zero tyres on redesigned OZ alloy wheels. Former Lancia World Rally Champion Sandro Munari was drafted in to manage the project, with the aim of making the 25th Anniversary a much more predictable car to drive – although even a man of Munari’s talents can’t legislate for a drug-fuelled stockbroker binge.

The interior was also revised, with wider seats boasting electrically adjustable squabs and backs. The door panels were altered to accommodate electric windows. Those seeking even more space could specify thinner sports seats, although the interior was still hardly spacious. 

KLA12722 is due to be put up for sale at RM Sotheby’s New York auction on December 8, 2023, with an estimate of between $1.5m and $2m. The Countach is the first of several cars to be announced for the sale, which is part of Sotheby’s Luxury Week. It’s a multi-category event that will see several collector cars up for grabs alongside designer handbags, books and manuscripts, natural history, trainers, wine and whiskey, real estate and more besides. 

Commenting on the car’s sale, which will take place at Sotheby’s New York at 1334 York Avenue, Gord Duff, RM Sotheby’s global head of auctions, said: “The ‘Wolf’ Countach, along with the other cars that will be on offer, perfectly embodies what we set out to accomplish when we decided to host a sale during Sotheby’s Luxury Week. Scorsese, DiCaprio, Lamborghini and New York — all make for an incredible pedigree. The sale will feature other similar cars — unique, highly collectable, with a degree of provenance, low mileage or one-off specifications. Our team has a great track record of curating boutique sales such as this, and we look forward to showcasing this during Luxury Week.”

More details are available here.

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