Like countless other automotive enthusiasts in the 1980s, Anthony Battista was infatuated with exotic cars, but the Lamborghini Countach more so than the decade’s other motoring luminaries. “The first time I saw one in a magazine” he remembers, “I said to myself, I’m buying that car.” Despite his relative youth, the 28-year-old from Connecticut was in the enviable position to make that dream a reality, having saved enough to purchase one under the right circumstances.
Unfortunately, a new example was out of the question, given that none were available from local dealers without having to endure an interminable wait. Instead, Battista embarked on a search for a preowned specimen that lasted almost two years, testing his patience and leading him to wonder if the right car would ever come along. Each month he thumbed through the pages of Hemmings Motor News, but every time a listing caught his interest, he found that it had already sold. As the calendar turned to 1988, however, an issue of the duPont REGISTRY provided him with a lead that proved more promising.
Jeff Walther Dodge, located in Centerville, Ohio, was offering a 1985 Countach 5000S QV at an attractive price. After several long-distance telephone calls negotiating the terms, a deposit was paid, leading Battista and his father to purchase one-way airline tickets to retrieve the car from the dealer. “I was naïve,” Battista recalled. “It was advertised as a four-valve car, but when we arrived, I was told it was a two-valve model and didn’t know enough to care either way.”
The road trip back to New England was memorable, a fifteen-hour drive that neither father nor son would soon forget. Filling the Lamborghini’s twin fuel tanks required some skill to accomplish, but each stop for gas provided them with an opportunity to meet new friends. Complete strangers would approach them and ask to sit in the car, most of them females, which pleased the new owner to no end.
Driving the car home exceeded all expectations, although Battista said it was a lot different experience than it would have been in a Lincoln Town Car. “Everything was stiff,” Battista said, while “changing gears was tougher than expected.” Still, it was an incredible experience, driving a dream with his father along for the ride.
Unfortunately, the throw-out bearing on the clutch failed two weeks later, which required Battista to learn that exotic car maintenance is not for the faint-hearted. The engine-out procedure caused him to question the wisdom of the purchase, although that feeling faded once the car returned to the road. Over the next fourteen years, he covered more than 6,000 miles, driving the Countach throughout the northeast, including several trips to the beach.
During the ensuing two decades, the Countach languished in storage. In recent years, Battista had considered restoring the vehicle, but a conversation three years ago with Dana Acabbo, a trusted confidante and his long-time insurance broker led him to We Are Curated in Miami, Florida. The firm’s owner, John Temerian, well-respected in the exotic car restoration community and a key figure in the Lamborghini Registry, reviewed all the options with Battista, who remained uncertain of which path to follow. After additional time had passed and further conversations with Acabbo, not to mention fastidious research into the recent rise in Countach values, Battista decided to sell the car. Providing Acabbo with a desired figure, the intrepid insurance executive restarted the conversation with Temerian, who agreed to purchase the vehicle.
“I had buyer’s remorse when I bought the Countach,” Battista said. “I also experienced some remorse when it went away, but not enough to regret selling it. I had my fun with it and now it’s time for someone else to experience it for themselves.”
This article appeared in our April 2022 issue.
Images by Dana Accabo and Carl Battista