Some companies can survive long after their founder has left the building, while others are so centered around the identity of one individual that everything unravels in their absence. And there's arguably no place that can be seen more clearly than in the Italian automobile industry.
While the Bertone Nuccio concept sketches released a couple weeks ago basically showed us nothing, but the latest batch of renderings better communicate what we'll see at next month's Geneva Motor Show. Designed by Stile Bertone's Mike Robinson and named for Giuseppe "Nuccio" Bertone, the concept is based on the 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero concept, a car created under Nuccio's leadership.
Our friends at legendary Italian design house Bertone had a small group of us over to its headquarters in Caprie just to the west of Turin in order to shed greater light on what the company's current situation actually is. In brief, from the mouth of CEO Marco Filippa, contrary to reports that recent Fiat rumblings have put Bertone on the skids, the company is instead thriving in its own humble manner... sort of.
The story of the coachbuilt Lancia Stratos gets more curious by the day. Although it appeared that the homage was a Pininfarina-designed one-off for a wealthy and anonymous European, Car & Driver has done some snooping of its own and reports that it wasn't exactly designed by Pininfarina and it won't exactly be a one-off.
It's no news that business has been tough for Italy's most vaunted design studios and coachbuilders. But that hasn't stopped Bertone from hiring Jason Castriota as its new design director. Castriota has spent the past several years at arch-rival Pininfarina, where he worked on such projects as the Maserati Birdcage concept and GranTurismo, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, custom P4/5 and the Rolls-Royce Hyperion one-off, before leaving with the aim of starting his own studio. But as the Italian-American
The future of Bertone has taken a big step in the right direction on the road to recovery with the company's design division, Stile Bertone, spun off as a separate entity. Ownership of the newly independent design house will be split between the Bertone family (49.5%) and the Italian courts (50.5%), with former Aprilia motorcycle chief Teresio Gaudio coming in as managing director.
Just three weeks ago it was reported that Bertone company head and family heir Lili Bertone had concluded a deal to sell the money-losing company to Domenico Reviglio of Gruppo Prototipo. A court in Turin, Italy, the home of both companies, has canceled the sale saying that Lili attempted to sign over more of Bertone than she had a right to.