Bertone was one of the industry’s most renowned names in car design and coachbuilding during the automobile’s first century, so its descent is quite tragic.
Road & Track has published an extensive and fantastic piece called, “The Fall of the House of Bertone,” where the company’s rise from a carriage maker that Nuccio Bertone’s father had started, to a coachbuilder and style house that took mundane underpinnings and turned them into Italian works of arts of sorts.
Nuccio Bertone’s company spent the latter half of the 20th Century building beautiful cars such as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, Fiat 850 Spider, and designing numerous Ferraris and even some of Volvo’s coupes. Bertone was where automakers went to ensure their models would ooze style and panache.
And then it all went to pieces after Bertone’s death in 1997, when the company fell to his widow, Lilli – who’d never been allowed on the factory floor in the first place – and . Like a classic soap opera, family members couldn’t get along and the books that had been effectively held together with a wish and a prayer fell to pieces.
After various reorganizations and lawsuits, Bertone is bust.
Wish is saddening considering its style house gave birth to the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, Alfa after Alfa after Alfa, the Citroen XM and even the Lancia Stratos – so many memorable designs that remain classic shapes today.
So take a click over to R&T and read “The Fall of the House of Bertone.”
By Zac Estrada