Hollywood is a land of smoke and mirrors. In any given movie, directors will rely on fake cars, fake sets, and fake actors to a scene shot on time and on budget. Martin Scorsese, on the other hand, doesn’t have to compromise, and he was able to wreck a genuine Lamborghini Countach when he shot “The Wolf of Wall Street in 2012.”
That poor, beleaguered car is now up for sale at Bonhams Auctions.
Yes, it’s the hero car from the best stock market film of the last three decades. It was destroyed to film a sequence in which Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) attempted to drive his Lamborghini home under the influence of Lemmons 714, the so-called “holy grail of Quaaludes.”
DiCaprio acted his pants off, portraying a heavily intoxicated Belfort as he crawled to the vehicle and fought his way through the scissor doors. As Belfort weaved his way home, the Lamborghini hit multiple parked cars, a street sign, and a letterbox, ending up in the sorry state it’s in today.
The Countach itself was the real deal, allegedly chosen for the film because a replica didn’t crumple the right way when crashed. By virtue of his legendary status as a director, Scorsese was able to secure a genuine 25th Anniversary Countach in the appropriate shade of cocaine white. Just 658 examples were built, with the so-called “Hero Car” being a 1989 model. After filming the driving sequence, Scorsese deemed that the car still looked too intact, so further damage was inflicted with another car and a flatbed truck, creating the appropriate visual result.
The car has been preserved in its wrecked condition ever since. Now that it’s up for sale, Bonhams expects the Countach to sell for somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million USD. That’s a stiff figure, given that multiple examples of the 25th Anniversary model have sold for well under $1 million this year, according to market tracking site Classic.com. The vehicle’s movie career thus appears to be adding a lot of value in the auctioneer’s eyes, even given the car’s state of disrepair. The listing doesn’t state whether the car is still in running, driving, condition, but one suspects the car hasn’t been turned over in quite some time. The Autopian has reached out to Bonhams regarding this point.
Purists who appreciate the original, more restrained Countach might enjoy seeing one beaten to a pulp, as seen here. Fans of 1980s excess and too many vents, however, will have shed a tear on hearing what happened to this example.
The question that needs to be asked is whether Scorsese did the right thing. On the one hand, there’s something to be said for wrecking a real car to get the best possible shot. Modern films so often palm us off with cheap computer graphics instead of practical effects. In the original “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” H.B. Halicki launched a real Mustang off a real ramp and smashed it to pieces in the process. The modern remake saw a digitally-generated Mustang soar like Superman in a scene with all the authenticity of a cheesesteak in Mozambique. Scorsese didn’t palm us off with cheap tricks. He sacked up the cash for a real Lamborghini, and beat it to hell to make the movie.
On the other hand, the Countach is a rare car, and a highly desirable one at that. The 25th Anniversary model may not be the most beloved, or the most valuable, but it’s still a scarce and precious thing. If the movie had the budget to wreck a real Lambo, surely it could have spent similar money to build a decent replica that looks right when it’s crashed? Those with an eye towards history and conservation would agree that would have been the proper way forward.
In any case, whoever buys the Countach has to decide whether they want to restore it, or keep it as is. Fundamentally, it’s the only Countach to receive Scorsese’s blessing—and the battering of his hired goons. Plus, DiCaprio’s butt has sat in that seat. On balance, that means it’s probably going to be kept this way forever.