The Good, The Bad and the Bertone

Cars People

These are some of our favourite works from the noble House of Bertone, the designs are as prolific and eclectic as the talents of their creator.

Abarth 131 Rally.

Of the four marques that dominated Rally in the mid 1970s Bertone had already designed one of them; the Lancia Stratos.

So Fiat chose him and that other trusted sub contractor –Abarth- as the torchbearers for its Rally dreams. Their collaboration, and a substantial investment from Fiat, created this boxy little world-beater.


Abarth 1500.

This concept has been aptly described as the ‘prisoner of a dream’ as its technical innovations– like the stunning wraparound glass windshield- made it too cost prohibitive to ever manufacture.

Only one was ever made, which was bought by the president of Packard as a design inspiration for his staff.


NSU Trapeze

This radical 1973 concept car derives its name from the trapezoid seat formation it employed to make room for its radical lengthways-mounted engine.

The wraparound glass and bumper make it look pure Sci-Fi. You fully expect to see Jean Luc Picard behind the wheel on one of his rare bouts of shore leave.


Jaguar Ascot

Based on the body of the 12 cylinder XJS this super angular reworking carried off the coachbuilder award when it appeared at the 1977 Geneva motor show.

It was shorter, wider and lower than the base model and boasted the innovative additions of a removable radio and a mobile phone.


Citroen Camargue

Named after that salt dried, wind-battered section of French coast that Van Gough loved to render this 1972 concept was as Avant-garde as anything Vincent was laying down in his time.

It signals the first stirrings of the digital age, and with its orange headlights and gleaming metal is reminiscent of the early cutting edge digital watches like the Hamilton pulsar P1 brought out in the same year. Google it and you’ll see what we mean.


BMW Spicup

This Pea Green 1969 concept sits on the chassis of a BMW 2000CS. The strange moniker is derived from its dual status as a Spider/ Coupe and one of its most prominent features is the retractable stainless steel roof .

It was a one-off (still around though) but its influence can be clearly seen in the later Bertone penned production classic the X19.


Alfa Carabo

This 1968 prototype, mounted on an Alfa Tipo racecar, took the wedge craze of the late 60s to the very edge. Its mid-engine mounting allowing Bertone’s wonder kid Marcello Gandini to turn the bonnet into a rocket-like nosecone.

It never made production but its influence can be seen in the Lamborghini Countach which hit the streets three years later.


Ferrari 250 GT

This is a Giugiaro classic, he was Bertone’s top man for many years and it’s easy to see why Pininfarina – Ferrari’s preferred designer- wanted him so bad.

They eventually got him but Nuccio kept the car and it became his personal wheels.


Innocenti Mini

Innocenti were once the makers of Lambretta scooters which Bertone had redesigned in 1967.

Now owned by British Leyland Bertone’s brief had been to create a new version of the mini in a 3-door hatchback and he leant his trademark angular lines to the mini’s famous bumps and bulges.



2 Responses to “The Good, The Bad and the Bertone”

  1. JC Bond

    Just discovered your excellent site.
    I noticed how similar the Citroen Camargue is to the styling of the production Maserati Khamsin, both Marcello Gandini creations. The man was the master at Bertone.

  2. John Lizard

    Did BMW really lost the chance of releasing its only beautiful car on it’s long history of ugly and so-so boring designed vehicles??? Ok, I am a BMW fan, and I like some of them like the M1 or the i8, but that’s it… This Spicup is by far the most gorgeous BMW…